Summer Fund Eligibility Criteria

Thank you for your interest in applying for Summer Fund funding. Proposals are submitted on an annual basis and reviewed by members of the Summer Fund Advisory Committee and Summer Fund staff. Grant awards are disbursed at one instance per year, typically in June, contingent on funding goals being met.

The maximum General Operating Grant to first-year recipients is $7,500 per site. First-year recipients may also request Mental Health Grant Program funding and/or Homeless Campership Fund slots, and those proposals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Current Summer Fund grantees may request up to $40,000 per site in General Operating funds, but not more than 25% of the camp/program operating budget (30% for multi-site programs).

Click here to learn more about our current grantmaking initiatives.

Factors that determine award levels include:

Not sure if you qualify? Email us!

To be eligible for funding from the Summer Fund, programs must meet the following eligibility requirements. Applications from organizations that do not meet these requirements will not be considered for funding:

IRS 501 (c)(3)

The private nonprofit agency serving as the fiscal sponsor for the camp must have been determined to be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service.

Camp Minimum Standards

All programs should meet the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In the event the camp primarily serves youth from Boston, Cambridge, Somerville or Chelsea, and is located in a different state, the camp should meet the appropriate requirements in its state.


The Summer Fund primarily serves underserved youth (6-18 years old) from Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea.

Use of funds

Awarded funds are intended for camp operational expenses, not capital improvements. Neither summer school programs nor individuals are eligible for funding.

Non-sectarian programming

Camps sponsored by religious organizations are eligible, provided the enrollment is open to all youth, and that activities are free of mandatory religious instruction, worship, or other sectarian activities

Staff training

At least two days of training in advance of camp start date, including junior staff/CITs.

Financial support for participants

Must offer camper scholarships, a sliding fee scale, or be free of charge for all participants.

Competitive applications will meet the following selection criteria:

  1. Response to Community Need: The Summer Fund will give priority to organizations that have a demonstrated presence in underserved and/or under resourced communities. The Summer Fund will review enrollment data in order to determine the cities and neighborhoods that your organization primarily serves. We want to ensure that grant resources are being distributed in a way that is commensurate with observed levels of youth poverty and need within the Fund’s catchment area of Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Somerville.
  2. Program Design: Priority is given to camps or summer programs that offer experiential learning opportunities that are appropriately designed for the communities that they serve. Programs that are designed to meet the unique education, nutrition, health, childcare, workforce, and disability needs of their respective communities will be considered most competitive on this criterion. Through the application process, the Summer Fund will work with prospective grantees to identify the needs of the communities served by your organization’s summer program and evaluate program design in accordance with these needs.
  3. Organizational Sustainability: Applicants that have financial, leadership, and governance structures in place to foster the long-term sustainability of their summer enrichment programs will be given priority in funding decisions. In applying to the Summer Fund, you will be asked to provide an overview of the leadership structure in place for both your organization and your summer program. Additionally, you will be asked to submit an organizational audit, if available, which will be used to evaluate financial stability.
  4. Representative Leadership: Priority will be given to organizations that have leadership that is reflective of the communities served by its summer program. The Summer Fund prioritizes organizations that actively recruit and hire leaders and program staff that share lived experience with the youth served by the summer program. In evaluating this criterion, the Summer Fund considers the following elements of lived experience: Race and ethnicity, socioeconomics, geography, race, and disability.
  5. Network Engagement: The Summer Fund relies on strong engagement from its partners to ensure that the network of summer enrichment opportunities in Greater Boston remains strong, diverse, and accessible and inclusive. The Summer Fund therefore gives priority to applicants that have demonstrated a commitment to engaging with Summer Fund trainings, knowledge sharing opportunities, and strategic grantmaking initiatives.

Interested in applying?

If you believe your program to be a strong fit for the Summer Fund’s portfolio, click on the “Apply now” button below. If you have more questions before filling out an application, do not hesitate to contact us.