Mass. Couple Takes The 'Giving Pledge'

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Bill and Joyce Cummings made their fortune in commercial real estate and now the Winchester couple has agreed to give a big chunk of it away.

The Cummings have just become the first Massachusetts residents to take the Giving Pledge. The initiative, started by investor Warren Buffet and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, calls on the wealthiest people in the country to pledge to donate half their wealth to charity during their lifetime or after their death.

The Cummings created the Cummings Foundation in 1986 and have since established nonprofit retirement communities, educational scholarships and recently pledged $1 million to the Cummings/Hillel Program for Holocaust and genocide education at Tufts University.

"We feel extraordinarily blessed, very, very lucky," said Joyce Cummings. "There's been a lot of hard work to go into it, but I feel extremely lucky to be in the position that I am and just simply want to share it. We don't need it, our children don't need it, they're cared for and we just really want to share what we have in ways that we can to benefit other people."

According to the organization's website, the Pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not support a particular set of causes or organizations.

- You can read the Cummings' pledge of support (on Scribd):

This program aired on May 10, 2011.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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