THE REAL REPORTER - August 24, 2012

WOBURN — Cummings Foundation, principal beneficiary of the earnings of Cummings Properties, recently distributed 60 grants for $100,000 each to a diverse group of Greater Boston non-profits. The $6 million was awarded during the first funding cycle of OneWorld Boston, the foundation´s new grant-making affiliate.

Cummings Properties´ President and CEO Dennis Clarke explains the grants program supports charities based primarily in eastern Middlesex County, with other funding steered to southern Essex and Suffolk counties. “The funding comes from the real estate side of the organization, and so we feel strongly about supporting the communities and people who have supported Cummings Properties over the years,” says Clarke. Founded by Bill Cummings in 1969, the firm manages more than 10 million sf of laboratory, office and medical space in 10 suburban communities.

Despite no formal announcement about the new grant-maker, 203 proposals were submitted between January and April, a response so overwhelming that OneWorld Boston provided $1 million more than initially planned. The grants will mostly be paid over one to three years.

A variety of causes were represented among the recipients. The American Islamic Congress, Angel Flight New England and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders are among those being assisted, as are the Inner City Scholarship Fund, Winchester Multicultural Network and the Woburn Historical Society.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Our Place Daycare for the Homeless and Pine Street Inn are other worthy causes being supported, as are the Cure Alzheimer´s Fund in Wellesley, the Woburn Boys & Girls Club and Youth Village. Healthcare entities securing grants include Marlborough Hospital, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Spaulding Hospital in Salem. Cultural groups winning grants include the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Montserrat College of Art in Beverly and two Boston institutions, the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Science.

OneWorld´s next grant cycle will open this autumn. Letters of inquiry will be accepted, and select organizations will then be invited to submit applications. In 2013, $10 million is slated to be awarded via 100 grants of $100,000 each, foundation officials relay. Established in 1986 by Bill Cummings and his wife, Joyce Cummings, the foundation has grown to be one of the largest charitable organizations in New England, with current assets now exceeding $1 billion. In May 2011, the couple became the first family in Massachusetts to sign the Giving Pledge, joining the likes of Warren Buffet and Melinda Gates in publicly declaring to give away more than half their wealth to philanthropic causes.