Press Release: AANE Awarded 10-Year Cummings Grant


Watertown-based nonprofit shares in $20 million in funding

Watertown, MA – October 21, 2020 – The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) is one of 30 local
nonprofits to share $10 million in expanded funding from the Cummings Foundation. The
Watertown-based organization will receive $33,333 per year over 10 years to fund initiatives that
provide support, education, and community to families of children and adults with Asperger/autism
profiles. This long-term funding is part of the Cummings $20 Million Grant Program, which supports
Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.

“The grant will allow us to expand affordable family support services including information and referral,
coaching, support groups, education, and social/community building activities,” said Dania Jekel,
Executive Director. “We are thankful for partners like the Cumming Foundation who enable us to provide
resources to parents who in turn can better support their children.”

“Greater Boston is so fortunate to have nonprofits like AANE that are listening to the community and
working to meet its needs,” said Cummings Foundation grants manager Christina Berthelsen. “By
providing a full decade of support, we hope to alleviate some of the constant fundraising burden, enabling
nonprofit staff to spend more time actually providing services.”

Through the $20 Million Grant Program, Cummings Foundation gives back in the area where Cummings
Properties owns commercial buildings. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the Woburn-based
commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of
which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

Cummings Foundation has awarded more than $280 million to greater Boston nonprofits alone since its
founding in 1986. In 2020 the Cummings Foundation increased its annual grant program by adding $10
million to this program. It will now award $20 million to 130 local-area nonprofits. The process is already

The complete list of Cummings Foundation grant winners is publicly available at

About AANE: The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) helps people with Asperger’s and similar autism
spectrum and neurodiverse profiles build meaningful, connected lives. AANE provides individuals,
families, and professionals with information, education, community, support, and advocacy in an
inclusive atmosphere of validation and respect. To learn more, please visit

About Cummings Foundation: Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by
Joyce and Bill Cummings. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including
New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn, and Veterinary School at Tufts,
LLC in North Grafton. Additional information is available at

Contact: Cathy Aikman, Asperger/Autism Network, Inc, 617-393-3824 ext.230,
Contact: Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation, 781-932-7093,

Photo caption:  “After our daughter was diagnosed at age 16, we felt very isolated and unsure on how
best to help her–and how to cope ourselves. AANE’s Online Support Group for Parents of Teen Girls has
brought us together with parents from around the country to share strategies, ideas, and just everyday
highs and lows. We found an invaluable resource, as well as a community.”
-Noelle H. and Christopher H.
AANE Parents