SWL: Southborough native seeking help to win matching grant and deliver on “Universal Promise”

Above: A native of Southborough is calling on her old community to support her charitable efforts in South Africa (image and logo from Universal Promise website)

Southborough Wicked Local reported that Universal Promise is in the running for a big match on donations to the cause. The charity was founded by Southborough native Martha Cummings, who hopes her old hometown will support the effort.

Cummings founded Universal Promise to provide “individuals and institutions in impoverished regions with the academic resources needed to ensure educational and career opportunities that will promote just, civil, and hopeful societies.”

Southborough Wicked Local posted about a competition that UP has entered:

Southborough native Martha Cummings is in competition to win up to $100,000 for her African education charity, Universal Promise.

Founded in 2011, UP provides educational and medical resources, as well employment opportunities, to the Eastern Cape town of Nomathamsanqa, South Africa, and its mission is to empower others through the vehicle of education to change the course of their own lives.

UP is one of nearly 200 organizations seeking matching funds through Macy’s annual Shop for a Cause Charity Challenge. Using the fundraising site crowdrise, charities post information about their organization and seek funds from family, friends and supporters.

The top five fundraisers during the challenge period, which last until 2 p.m. on August 9, will receive matching funds from Macy’s: First Place: $100,000; Second Place: $50,000; Third Place: $25,000; Fourth Place: $15,000; and Fifth Place: $10,000.

Universal Promise currently sits in sixth place, less than $600 behind the fifth place Rescued Pets Movement, based in Houston.

For the full story, click here.

To help the cause, visit the crowdrise fundraising page. Through the page, Cummings shared the following news and request:

Each day new donors give – from $5 to $2,000 thus far – and the result is that we are in the sixth spot out of hundreds of nonprofits. Thank you for donating and for caring as much about educating children as we do. The gratitude, both here and in South Africa, is profound.

Here is another shot of honesty. While being in sixth place is amazing, sixth place comes with a cash prize of $0. Sixth place will not complete the Vusumzi Primary School Academic Centre.

We have a lot of work to do to have a chance of winning the $100,000 first prize, and, quite frankly, we will not be able to do it without your continued help.

Will you please stay with us and do one or two or all of the following?

Post something about this challenge on social media, but please add something personal about this challenge, this organization, this mission of education for all. Your family and friends care about you and what you have to say. They will listen.

If you post, include this link to make it easy for people to give:


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6 years ago


Looks meaningful, be cautious, No males on staff or the board, just saying.

Anne Jones
6 years ago
Reply to  mike

No males?? I’m shocked to the core of my being.
Seriously, how is gender relevant to the qualifications of the board members and staff of this organization?

Karen Muggeridge
6 years ago

I was a high school classmate of Martha’s at Algonquin and am proud to be a long time sponsor and supporter of Universal Promise. It has been a joy to see the growth of UP and the impact it has had on the lives of so many.
Please take the time and go through the UP web site to see all the amazing work that they have done, then consider making a donation, large or small. UP has an extremely low overhead rate. http://www.universalpromise.org/our-story/
It would be nice to have support from the Southborough community which the Cumming’s family and Martha called home for so many years.
Congratulations Martha on turning your 50th birthday trip into a program that facilitates life changing impacts for so many.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

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