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Cummings Foundation Donates $10M To Boston Area Nonprofits

BOSTON (CBS) - It's a $10-million week for about 30 nonprofits in the Boston area, crucial money that will advance the good work being done to help our neighbors.

The grants are from the Cummings Foundation in Woburn, created by Bill and Joyce Cummings, two of the wealthiest and most generous people in Massachusetts.  A billionaire, Bill Cummings is giving it all away.

Cummings Foundation volunteer Jackie Dinneen, who is also a senior director at The Partnership, showed up for her appointment at Boston CASA today, a nonprofit that provides special advocates for foster children. The organization's leaders think it's a visit to discuss their grant application. But then Jackie makes the big reveal.  "I am just so thrilled and happy to say that you've earned and won a sustaining grant on behalf of the Cummings Foundation," she tells them.

It's the best kind of surprise announcing a $250,000 grant. "It's a 10-year grant which will help us continue to scale the organization up and serve more children," says Charles Lerner the head of Boston CASA.

This is just one of 32 grants totaling $10-million being give out by the Cummings Foundation.

"There are a lot of happy faces around, I guess you've seen a little bit of that this morning," says Bill Cummings who started the charitable foundation in 1986. He became a billionaire through real estate development. Now he and his wife Joyce are also among the state's biggest philanthropists.

How much of their fortune are they giving away? "All of it, eventually," Bill says. He makes it sound so simple, and it is for the Cummings. Their family has all they need. "We try to do what we can to do some good in the world," Bill explains.

His new book "Starting Small and Making It Big," is about entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Cummings makes it clear you don't have to be wealthy to make a difference. "We can all do something. We can give of ourselves, of our time. We can give our physical labor. If we have financial ability we can give that. And working together, it changes society," he says.

The Cummings Foundation is changing society one grant at a time. Every year the Foundation gives away $20-million to local charities, and has donated more than $200-million over the years.

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