New England Medical Association (NEMA) Receives 3 Years Of Funding From Cummings Foundation

BOSTON, MA, MAY 30, 2024 – The New England Medical Association (NEMA) today announces that it is the recipient of a grant of $75,000 over three years from the Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. NEMA was selected out of 715 applicants during a competitive review process, and awarded among 150 other local nonprofits that will share the $30 million funding from the foundation. 

NEMA is a membership organization representing Black physicians and physicians-in-training. The group advocates for just and equitable healthcare systems. It helps promote a just and equitable healthcare system that focuses on eliminating disparities by building a Black physician community and promoting the interest of NEMA members and Black communities in Boston. Programs, events, and activities created and led by Black physicians are centered around physical and mental health and wellness, policy and advocacy, and medical career development.

“This funding from the Cummings Foundation will not only sustain but also expand NEMA’s impactful initiatives,” says Dr. Lucy Lomas, NEMA Executive Director. “It will be directed toward building a more robust administrative support team to enhance organizational efficiency, and contribute to the expansion of key programs, including the “White Coat Trauma and Racism” support group and the career development series.” 

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties, plus six communities in Norfolk County: Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley. Through this place-based initiative, the Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the areas where it owns commercial property. Its buildings are all managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. This Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 11 million square feet of debt-free space, most of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“Greater Boston is fortunate to have a robust, dedicated, and competent nonprofit sector that supports and enhances the community in myriad ways,” says Cummings Foundation executive director and trustee Joyce Vyriotes. “The entire Cummings organization is thankful for their daily work to help all our neighbors thrive.”

Nearly 100 community volunteers made the majority of the grant decisions. They worked across various committees to review and discuss the proposals and then, together, determine which requests would be funded. Among these community volunteers were business and nonprofit leaders, mayors, college presidents, and experts in finance and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

“We believe strongly that grant decisions will be more equitable when made by a diverse group of community members,” said Vyriotes. “We’re incredibly grateful to the dozens of individuals who participated in our democratized philanthropic process.”

The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $300,000 each. The winners included first-time recipients and nonprofits that had previously received Cummings grants. Twenty-five of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected by a panel of community volunteers to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $300,000 to $1 million each. This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including housing and food insecurity, workforce development, immigrant services, social justice, education, and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 49 different cities and towns.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded $500 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 2,000 previous recipients, is available at

“The investment for NEMA will ensure the continued success of its mission, allowing for broader reach and increased effectiveness in addressing the unique challenges Black physicians face in the greater Boston area,” says Dr. Lomas.  “We will use this funding to boost NEMA’s administrative support, produce more physician networking and educational programs, and increase our support of community healthcare information events.”

Despite tireless pipeline and recruitment initiatives in the medical field, the journey to grow a diverse physician population remains arduous, marked by deeply rooted systemic barriers, educational disparities, and bias in admissions processes. The weight of systemic biases and discriminatory practices contributes to a pervasive sense of isolation, leading to chronic stress and exhaustion for physicians from underrepresented backgrounds navigating an inequitable healthcare system. 

That is why NEMA is proving to be a critical link in remedying this unacceptable situation. It serves as a unique resource to career-level Black physicians in greater Boston, offering them a variety of professional, mental health, and social support that will enable them to thrive professionally and want to remain in the Boston area. NEMA’s mission and operations focus on work under three pillars that it feels are crucial to help increase the population of Black physicians in greater Boston and reduce health disparities in communities of color: 1) Supporting the mental health and wellness of Black doctors; 2) Career development and mentorship; and 3) Policy and advocacy.

These initiatives enable the effective mobilization of Black doctors to actively engage in community work, address disinformation surrounding healthcare, and participate in meaningful health-related volunteer opportunities. The organization serves as a bridge, connecting healthcare professionals with institutions, amplifying their impact, and contributing to the broader mission of creating a more diverse and equitable healthcare landscape. Through these collaborative efforts, NEMA has become a dynamic force for positive change within the medical community and the communities it serves.

PHOTO/L-RTanesha Beckford, MD; Lucy Lomas, MD; Vonzella Bryant, MD; Ellana Stinson, MD, MPH, MBA; Karen Abdool, MD, PhD.


About New England Medical Association, Inc.

The New England Medical Association (NEMA) is a not-for-profit membership organization designed to build a community of Black physicians and physicians in training, who practice in the New England area. NEMA is dedicated to creating just and equitable healthcare systems and communities that advocate for the elimination of health disparities, provide Black physicians with career development opportunities, and implement mentoring programs and community-based collaborative health information service projects.

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA, and has grown to be one of the largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities, in Marlborough and Woburn, and Cummings Health Sciences, LLC. Additional information is available at