WOBURN, February 21, 2013 – Woburn-based Cummings Foundation has announced the first 10 of 100 planned grants of $100,000 each to be awarded in calendar year 2013. These “early decision” grant recipients were determined by the staff of the Foundation’s for-profit affiliate, commercial real estate firm Cummings Properties.
The diverse group of recipient organizations includes: Alternative House, Asperger’s Association of New England, Birthday Wishes, Beverly Bootstraps, Boston Medical Center Cancer Care Center, Christopher's Haven, Heartbeat Ministries, Merrimack Valley Hospice House, NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, and Wediko Children’s Services.
Joel Swets, executive director of Cummings Foundation, said, “The Foundation recognizes that its philanthropy is made possible, in large part, through the hard work of Cummings Properties’ staff. We are delighted to support local nonprofits that are meaningful to these dedicated colleagues.”
All staff members were invited to nominate a locally based charity and then take part in an online vote to determine the grant recipients. The nomination process resulted in 35 eligible organizations.
Carpenter John Essigmann, a lifetime Woburn resident, nominated Asperger’s Association of New England. Having been involved with the Watertown-based organization for about five years, Essigmann jumped at the opportunity to submit a nomination on its behalf.
Woburn native Erica Marrama Wright, leasing manager at Cummings Properties, wanted to support an organization that helps children who have cancer. Online research led her to Dan Olsen and his organization, Christopher’s Haven, which provides housing for children and families who travel to Boston for cancer treatments.
Wright said, “It took just one phone call with Dan to see what an incredibly positive and unselfish thing he is doing. He used his own experiences as a three-time cancer survivor to make the cancer treatment process more bearable for kids and families.”
Dennis Clarke, president and CEO of Cummings Properties, noted that there was significant good-natured “lobbying” by colleagues seeking votes for their chosen charities. Several employees arrived at the firm’s recent Annual Party prepared with pins, brochures, and even tote bags promoting their nominated nonprofit.
Clarke said, “Philanthropy has long been part of the Cummings organization’s culture, but this is the first time the entire staff has been invited to participate in distributing such a significant amount of funding. We were so pleased to see the dedication and enthusiasm our colleagues have for some very worthwhile local nonprofits.”
Through its OneWorld Boston grants program, the Foundation will award 90 additional grants of $100,000 each this year. These awards will be decided by the Foundation’s grant evaluators and announced in June.
Cummings Properties manages 10 million square feet of commercial space in suburban Boston, including Cummings Park on Washington Street and the landmark TradeCenter 128 campus on I-95.