Apply for a Grant

The 2018 Summer Fund application has closed. Applications for the Summer of 2019 will become available in early December.


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 camps should meet American Camp Association (ACA) guidelines and 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 ACA guidelines and the appropriate requirements in their state. Day Camps should be licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health or the Department of Early Education and Care. Camps are required to submit a copy of their most recent camp permit along with the proposal application. If in the process of applying for a permit, grants will be made on a conditional basis pending verification of a valid permit.

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

Use of Funds: Funds received from the Summer Fund are intended for camp operational expenses, not capital improvements. Agencies participating in the Summer Fund should not submit separate proposals for their summer camp to donors already participating in the Summer Fund.

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.

Years of Operation: Applicant Camps must have two full years of operations to be considered.

Staff Training: Camps must offer at least two days of training in advance of camp start date.

Fee Structure:: Camps must offer a sliding scale fee or provide scholarships to campers

Grant Size: The maximum grant to first year recipients is generally $5,000 per site. Current Summer Fund grantees may request up to $40,000 per site, but not more than 25% of the camp/program operating budget (30% for multi-site programs). Factors that will determine funding levels will be the amount requested, presentation of need, the number of campers served, special needs of the population served, and/or proposals submitted by a collaboration of organizations. Camps must seek summer funding from a variety of sources to diversify income revenue and reduce the dependency on the Summer Fund.

Priority is given to programs that:

  • Serve a minimum of 20 youth per session
  • Have a balanced budget and a diversified revenue stream
  • Offer an open registration process (i.e. registration is not restricted to children participating in school-year program)
  • Determine programming schedules in advance with adequate, alternative rainy day activities
  • Offer suitable hours for working parents
  • Offer programming that emphasizes social & emotional wellness
  • Provide breakfast/lunch, or lunch/snack for eligible children
  • Make strong efforts to recruit a diverse group of both campers and staff
  • Encourage children with physical and/or emotional disabilities to engage in program activities along with other children (i.e. inclusive)
  • Offer experiential education activities

Summer school programs are NOT eligible for funding. The Summer Fund does not provide funds to individuals

Our Impact

Partnering with the Summer Fund allowed the Boston Harbor Island Alliance to expand its reach and support community visits that might not have been possible without the partnership. In addition to bringing children and youth to visit the islands, we were also able to raise awareness about the islands among the more than 390 camp counselors, campers, and parents who may not have known about us otherwise.

— Boston Harbor Island Alliance

Random Quote

In partnership with Bank of America, Boston Private Industry Council and Hale Reservation, the Summer Fund’s 2017 Teen Leadership Institute provided 150 Boston Public High School teens job training, workplace skills, leadership development and CPR training to better prepare them for success in a summer employment opportunity.