Eleven Woburn organizations receive $100,000 from Cummings Foundation
Eleven Woburn not-for-profits have received grants of $100,000 each from Cummings Foundation, Inc. Through its recently created grant-making affiliate, OneWorld Boston, Inc., the Foundation has announced a substantial increase in local charitable support.
During its first grant cycle, the Woburn-based Foundation received 203 proposals between January 2 and April 15, 2012. It will award approximately 70 new grants totaling at least $7 million in 2012, almost all within Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties. Most of these awards will be paid over two to five years.
Representatives from each organization receiving a grant award recently met at the atrium of TradeCenter 128 for a check presentation with Cummings Properties’ president and CEO, Dennis Clarke. Two Cummings Foundation trustees and former state representatives, Carol Donovan and Paul Casey, also attended.
Cummings Foundation announced $100,000 awards for five local social service entities: Boys & Girls Club of Woburn, North Suburban YMCA, Social Capital Inc., Woburn Council of Social Concern, and Youth Villages of Woburn. The same amount went to health-related organizations National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts, Supportive Living, Inc., and VNA Hospice Care.
Other grantees include Woburn Historical Society and Emmanuel College, which has a campus in Woburn. Middlesex Canal Commission will also receive $100,000 to reconstruct the Middlesex Canal towpath and connect it to pedestrian outlets at Alfred Street and School Street, providing a recreational path for Woburn area residents.
Cummings Foundation is the principal beneficiary of the earnings of Woburn-based commercial real estate firm Cummings Properties. The 43-year-old company manages more than 10 million square feet of prime office, lab, and medical space, including Cummings Park and the landmark TradeCenter 128 in Woburn. Beacon Grille, the upscale eatery at TradeCenter 128, is also part of the Cummings organization.
Cummings Properties president and CEO Dennis Clarke said, “We are very committed to the communities in which we operate, particularly Woburn, which is where both Cummings Properties and Cummings Foundation were founded and are still based today. We are delighted to support the worthwhile efforts of these local not-for-profits.”
While the vast majority of the Foundation’s awards will assist organizations in Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties, its healthcare grants are quite diverse. It has pledged $250,000 to establish a national cancer infusion center in the city of Butaro, in northern Rwanda. An additional $100,000 has been committed to Rwinkwavu Hospital, also in Rwanda, for an agricultural training program to combat chronic malnutrition, one of the country’s most vexing development challenges.
The operations of these two rural hospitals, both part of Boston-based Partners In Health, are overseen by Dr. Peter Drobac, who has appointments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In an email of appreciation for the grants, Drobac wrote, “Cancer care and integrated food security are two of Partners In Health’s most important new initiatives, and we expect both to have significant impact throughout this remarkable country.”
Joyce and Bill Cummings personally visited Rwinkwavu Hospital in January. They also toured the site selected for the new National Cancer Center, about 50 miles north of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. The Winchester, Mass. couple established Cummings Foundation in 1986, donating to it more than 90 percent of the wealth they made through Cummings Properties, their commercial real estate firm, founded in 1969.
Cummings Foundation’s international gifts come from a separate division of the Foundation, Institute for World Justice, LLC. Other Rwandan grants include $100,000 each to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, in support of its professional training programs for youths orphaned during the country’s 1994 genocide, and the National Genocide Memorial Museum in Kigali. This division of the Foundation also reportedly awarded more than $100,000 this year to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Locally, the Foundation has long supported the Woburn community, founding the New Horizons at Choate retirement community in 1990. Located near Horn Pond, the not-for-profit residence offers affordable independent and assisted living facilities for 125 senior citizens, about 75 percent of whom are either Woburn residents or the parents of Woburn residents.
Through the McKeown Scholars Program, Cummings Foundation has awarded $455,000 in scholarships to graduates of Woburn Memorial High School over the past 15 years. In 2004, it made its largest philanthropic commitment to date: $50 million to Tufts University, Bill Cummings’ alma mater, for what is known now as the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
Erica Marrama Wright, a lifelong resident of Woburn and 1994 graduate of Woburn Memorial High School, is leasing manager for the 350-employee Cummings Properties. Wright said that the reason for Cummings Foundation’s local emphasis is that this area is really the source of the Foundation’s assets and serves as home to many of the company’s employees.
OneWorld Boston’s next grant cycle is expected to open in fall 2012, with updated information to be posted at www.CummingsFoundation.org this summer. Letters of inquiry will be accepted, and select organizations will then be invited to submit in-depth proposals for approximately $15 million in awards, strictly within the tri-county area of northeast Massachusetts.