Bellesini awarded $300,000 Cummings Foundation Sustaining Grant!

Bellesini Academy awarded $300,000

Cummings Foundation Trustees, Bellesini students and alumni, and Julie DiFilippo.

Lawrence nonprofit receives Cummings Foundation grant

LAWRENCE, MA (5/10/2019) – Blessed Stephen Bellesini, O.S.A. Academy is one of the local nonprofits sharing in Cummings Foundation’s $25 million grant program in 2019. The Lawrence-based organization has been awarded a $300,000 Sustaining Grant, to be disbursed over 10 years. Julie DiFilippo, Bellesini’s Head of School, represented the nonprofit at a May 2 awards night at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn.

Founded in 2002, Bellesini Academy is an independent, Catholic middle school dedicated to providing quality scholarship education to young men and women from limited financial means living in Lawrence. The mission of the school is to provide an academically challenging and highly structured environment that develops the potential for each student to succeed in competitive secondary schools and colleges.

The Academy is named in honor of Stephen Bellesini, a 19th century Augustinian friar who dedicated many years to the education of young boys from disadvantaged families in Italy.  His school was known as la scola por gnent, or “The School for Nothing,” because it was tuition free.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Cummings Foundation for its ten-year sustaining grant to support Bellesini’s Alumni Support Program,” said Julie DiFilippo.  “Since 2007, our Alumni Support Program has provided a wide range of support services to our alumni as they progress through high school and on to college. The program is a critical component of our students’ long-term success.  100% of our alumni have graduated from high school, and 97% have gone on to college, trade school, or to serve in the military. With the opening of our Girls’ School in 2015, doubling our student body, we have expanded the program and our staff to serve the needs of all of our alumni,” said DiFilippo.  “This sustaining grant will provide critical support the program as we serve a growing number of alumni in the coming years.”

The Sustaining Grants initiative builds on Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 program. First offered in 2012, $100K for 100 annually awards $10 million through multi-year grants of $100,000 each to 100 nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties. Grant recipients that received their final grant disbursements in 2018 were automatically considered for $15 million in Sustaining Grants.

“We introduced Sustaining Grants to help alleviate the constant burden of fundraising so nonprofit professionals can spend more of their limited time and resources on actually providing services,” said Christina Berthelsen, grants manager at Cummings Foundation.

Cummings Foundation has awarded nearly $250 million to date in Greater Boston alone. Funds are generated through commercial properties that are owned by, and operated for the sole benefit of, Cummings Foundation. All of its buildings are managed pro bono by Woburn commercial real estate firm Cummings Properties.

Sustaining Grants winners were selected primarily by a 33-member volunteer committee, which included former state legislators, CEOs of local companies, and a retired justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, among many others. Committee members met with each nonprofit twice to learn how the $100K for 100 funds helped to advance its mission, and how it might put a 10-year grant to use.

View the complete list of the 50 Sustaining Grants winners at An additional 100 winners will be announced in June through the $100K for 100 program.

Bellesini Academy serves 60 boys in grades 5 through 8 and 45 girls in grades 6 through 8. In addition, the Academy provides graduate support services to 150+ alumni who attend area private high schools and colleges.  Bellesini admits students of all faiths who reside in Lawrence and qualify for the Federal Free & Reduced Lunch Program. 

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings and has grown to be one of the three largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest single commitment to date has been to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additional information is available at

Please join us on May 11th at 6:30 p.m. for our Spring Event & Auction!

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Can’t attend but would like to support Bellesini Academy.

The Building Brighter Futures Construction Project is Underway!

20161212 Lawrence project opt1

Bellesini opened its Girls’ School in September 2015.  By September 2018 our enrollment will double, requiring expansion of our current facility.  The Building Brighter Futures Construction Project will:

  • Remove the unused Rectory adjacent to the school building in order to maximize the instructional space available on the school’s property;
  • Create a dedicated “Girls’ School space,” including:
    • Four new classrooms that will be wired for future access to the Internet and library resources;
    • Girls’ community hallway connecting girls classrooms; and
    • Girls’ Cubbies Area for storing textbooks, supplies, and personal items.
  • STEAM Center (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) that will include:
    • New Science Lab
    • Technology Center that incorporates not just computers but also space for robotics and engineering
    • Art Studio that will be used during school day and also to enhance after-school programs
    • Movement Studio that will provide space for yoga, dance, and other after-school activities
  • Alumni lounge to be used as a welcoming home base for returning Bellesini alumni;
  • Two additional office spaces for development and alumni support staff;
  • New, large signage located at the high point of the building, viewable from across the city; and
  • New fencing around the playground area and parking lot.

Join us for our 15th Anniversary Celebration Event on May 5th!

2017 Event Website Slider finalPlease join us for our 15th Anniversary celebration event and auction!

If you have an item you would like to donate for our auction, please email

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2017 Spring Event Sponsorship and Advertisement Information

Join us on March 1st at the Peabody Essex Museum for a Private Viewing & Reception

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PEM Shoe Event Invitation

For more information about the exhibit visit

Bellesini trustee Lillian Montalto has lent a portion of her shoe collection to this exhibit.  You can read more about it here.


Now accepting applications for fall 2020!

Bellesini Academy seeks to admit boys and girls who aspire to go on to a competitive private high school and then to college.  For this reason, potential students should enjoy school and learning, and should have motivation to succeed in a rigorous academic environment.  In addition, qualified applicants must possess honesty, integrity, and self-control. The admissions process is designed to identify students and families who will benefit from our specialized instruction and programs.  Applicants must be eligible for Free & Reduced Lunch and be residents of Lawrence.

Online admissions applications are available for the 2020-21 school year starting on February 1st for:

  • Boys and Girls entering grade 5 in fall 2020
  • Applications for grades 6 & 7 will be considered as space becomes available

Deadline for admissions is April 17, 2020.

To begin the application process in English, please click here.

Para comenzar el proceso de solicitud en español, haga clic aquí.

Hard copy of the application is available at our office at 94 Bradford Street in Lawrence between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm.

Questions regarding admissions may be directed to or to our office at (978) 989-0004.

Click here to schedule a time for your child to take our admissions test.  

Blessed Stephen Bellesini, O.S.A. Academy, Inc. admits students of any race, color, gender, and national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded and made available to students at the school. Bellesini Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, and national and ethnic origin in administration of the educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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Counting Our Blessings!


Thank you to our 2016 Feaster Five Sponsors!

Thank you to our 2016 Feaster Five Sponsors!

The Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race in Andover, MA has been a Merrimack Valley tradition since 1987. At 10,000 participants, it is one of the largest races in Massachusetts and one of the largest Thanksgiving day races in New England.

Join us Dec. 2 for a Holiday Breakfast of Hope!

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2016 Holiday Breakfast Invitation