Apply for a Grant

Be on the lookout for the Summer Fund 2018 application, which will be launching by December 1st.


IRS 501(c)(3): The private nonprofit agency serving as the fiscal agent for the camp must have been determined to be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) and not a private foundation under Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Service.

Accreditation: Residential camps should meet American Camping Association (ACA) guidelines. Day Camps should be licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health or the Department of Early Education and Care. Camps will be required to submit a copy of their most recent camp permit or license along with the proposal application.

Geography: The Summer Fund is intended for summer camps serving inner-city, school-age youth from Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, and/or Somerville. The Summer Fund will give priority to: organizations with at least 75% of a camp population from Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Somerville; or organizations that can demonstrate that Summer Fund support will only be used for camperships for children from Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Somerville.

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.

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.

Grant Size: The maximum grant to first year recipients is generally $5,000. Current Summer Fund grantees may request up to $40,000 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.


  • Be in at least second year of operation
  • Be fiscally sound with a balanced budget
  • Have one of the following:
    1. American Camping Association Accreditation
    2. Current Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH)Recreational Camp Permit
    3. Current Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care License

Note: If a permit application is in process, grants will be made on a conditional basis pending verification of a valid permit.  For more information on the permit process, see

  • Run for at least four weeks during the summer
  • Run for at least four days each week
  • Serve a minimum of 20 children per session
  • Offer an open registration process  (i.e. registration is not restricted to children participating in program’s school-year program)
  • Offer camper scholarships or a sliding scale fee
  • Have an adult staff to child ratio that is no more than 10:1
  • Provide summer staff, including junior staff/CITs with at least two days of comprehensive training before camp begins
  • Determine programming schedules in advance with adequate, alternative rainy day activities
  • Offer suitable hours for working parents
  • Focus on “whole child” development
  • Provide children with breakfast and lunch, or lunch and a snack
  • 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., mainstreaming)

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

Our Impact

Camp Starfish has changed my son in ways I didn’t think were possible. Before this summer, he always seemed uncomfortable in his own skin and didn’t feel confident enough to make friends. But now the fragile and self-secluded boy I raised is gone. The unique program you offer for kids with challenges is amazing.

— Parent of camper, Camp Starfish

Random Quote

Cultural Day enables us to reach many camp groups who would have difficulty participating in our arts programming without the Summer Fund’s financial assistance. It also allows us to offer additional weekday show programming over the summer, keeping our staffing and artist roster consistent, active, and productive in the summer months. With the Summer Fund’s help, our outreach is more extensive, and our organization is able to operate at full capacity through summer, when otherwise it would not.

— Puppet Showplace Theatre