Cummings Properties Foundation (CPFI) was founded by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, Masschusetts in 1986 as a Massachusetts trust. It was originally organized expressly to "give back" to the communities in which Cummings Properties does business, and from which most of its employees came. It continues to provide ongoing support to hundreds of local causes.
Indeed, in CPFI's very first venture, it invested $8 million to purchase and totally rebuild Woburn's bankrupt Choate Memorial Hospital in January 1990, as a large independent and assisted living community known as New Horizons at Choate. This strictly not-for-profit facility is considered by many to be one of the finest communities of its type in New England, and once served as a state model for assisted living legislation in Massachusetts.
By 2002, CPFI had become an operating foundation, and effective April 1, 2002, it changed its name to Cummings Foundation, Inc. (CFI).
The vast majority of all CFI funding has been internal, including the considerable growth of CFI's investments. Its only substantial outside funding was an early $100,000 contribution from Prudential Insurance Company of America. It is the Foundation's expectation to continue its mission in perpetuity through investment growth as well as anticipated future bequests.
On March 31, 2002, the formerly for-profit New Horizons at Madonna Hall continuing care retirement community in Marlborough, Massachusetts became CFI's second operating entity. The entire debt-free community was donated to the Foundation by Bill and Joyce Cummings. This sister facility to New Horizions at Choate currently serves more than 400 seniors in one of New England's largest and finest comprehensive retirement communities. Located just off U.S. Route 20 in Marlborough, Massachusetts, NHM offers a wide array of independent and assisted living and dementia services.
Since 1996, the Foundation has provided more than $2 million in scholarship aid to hundreds of local students, mostly in honor of the Foundation's founding trustee, and late president of Cummings Properties, James L. McKeown. Most of these scholarships were awarded following rigorous competitions conducted by individual high school authorities. Other aid has been given through various community scholarship associations, as well as direct scholarship aid through several Massachusetts colleges.
Over many years now, the Foundation has had especially substantial interest in numerous local organizations, including Winchester Community Music School, Supportive Living, Inc., North Suburban YMCA, Winchester Hospital, Beverly Hospital, VNA Hospice Care of Woburn, and The Giving Camp. In 2004, it contributed $1 million to the Beverly YMCA for the construction of its new Teen Center. This brand new building was dedicated in October of that year in memory of the late executive vice president of Cummings Properties, Douglas Stephens. In 2014, the Boys and Girls Club where Jamie McKeown spent many of his formative years, was renamed the James L. McKeown Boys and Girls Club of Woburn, in his honor.
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
After earlier endowing the Cummings Family Chair in Business Entrepreneurship at Tufts University, CFI entered a very unique relationship with the University in 2002 through CFI's newest operating subsidiary, Veterinary School at Tufts, LLC (VST). Through VST, the Foundation has committed a minimum of $50 million in financial assistance to what is now the very prestigious Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The first veterinarians to enter the School after its renaming, graduated in 2009.
Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco and Cummings School's dean, Dr. Deborah Kochevar, serve on the Foundation board, while half of the overseers of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine are officially designated by Cummings Foundation. Other "outside" members of the Foundation's Board include Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice Margot Botsford; Richard Ockerbloom, retired president of the Boston Globe; former state representatives Carol Donovan and Paul Casey; Michael Pascavage, former chairman of Cummings Properties; Dr. Joseph Abate; and Professor Jason Z. Morris of Fordham University.
Although it is currently not active, the Foundation's fourth operating entity, Commonwealth Realty Foundation, LLC (CRF), is specifically organized to accept gifts of residential or commercial real estate. In this regard, CRF primarily accepts donations of developed or undeveloped land either in cooperation with area hospitals and colleges, or other not-for-profit entities. It has also received real estate, the proceeds of which have been intended to benefit solely Cummings Foundation.
Directly or otherwise, William S. and Joyce M. Cummings of Winchester, provided the Foundation's financial base. Joyce is a former hospital dietitian who graduated from the University of Alabama and completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Among other activities, she has been a director of VNA Hospice Care, Inc. and Winchester Community Music School, and president of ENKA Society of Winchester, as well as co-chair of Winchester Friends of VNA Hospice Care, Inc. She is also a former trustee of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and chaired the women's golf program at Winchester Country Club.
Bill founded Cummings Properties, LLC (CPL) and several dozen other Massachusetts commercial real estate firms, and is involved in numerous community activities. He is a 1958 graduate and a trustee emeritus of Tufts University, and was also an overseer of Tufts Medical School.
He has also served as an elected member and as chairman of the Winchester Planning Board, and as a director of Winchester Country Club, Winchester Hospital, and Tanners National Bank. He is president of not-for-profit New Horizons at Choate and the much larger New Horizons at Marlborough retirement communities, and was founding publisher of three community newspapers. Bill is also president of Cummings Foundation, Inc., and in 2006 received an honorary Doctorate from Tufts University.
In 2011, Bill and Joyce joined the Giving Pledge founded by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates. In 2013, they served together as Joint Commencement Speakers, and received Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Salem State University.
From its beginnings in Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1969, CPL has evolved into one of Boston's most prominent, full-service commercial real estate development firms. CPL and Cummings Realty, LLC currently operate 10 million square feet of Massachusetts commercial space in 10 metropolitan Boston communities. It is one of the most financially solid real estate firms in the country, employing more than 350 regular full-time staff. A great deal of information on Cummings Properties' history is available on its website.