Get Ready— The Cummings Foundation Closes on $1 Billion Endowment Goal

It took 16 years for Joyce and Bill Cummings' Foundation to become a fully operational. During that time, the Cummings Foundation has been making modest grants to health care causes and in 2010, its grant making totaled a little over $35,000. Currently, Cummings Foundation grants are by invitation only and it does not accept unsolicited proposals—not yet anyway. Big changes are afoot the Cummings Foundation approaches its $1 billion endowment goal and this once quiet foundation is about to make a lot of ruckus.

First, it should be noted that the $35,000 in grants made in 2010 were actual checks written, not pledges or promises. On that end, the Foundation has already pledged $50 million to the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine, now renamed the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The pledge and the renaming came before Omidyar's $100 million pledge in 2005.

When Joyce and Bill Cummings decided to endow a charitable foundation, they did it in a big way—endowing the foundation with nearly $1 billion of their own money. But in 2007, the endowments investments took a sizable hit. It took two years for the endowment to crawl back up to $700 million and by 2010 it had inched its total assets had reach over $834 million. The Foundation's goal is to have a fully operational grant-making arm based in Massachusetts by 2013. So, exactly what type of health care organizations does the Cummings Foundation plan to fund?

The Foundation's health care causes are varied, focusing predominately in the United States with supporting efforts in Rwanda. The projects it has championed in the United States in the past range from support for arthritis research and domestic violence initiatives to cancer research and women's hospitals. Anyone looking for health care funding in the near future should keep their ears on and their eyes open for big news from the Cummings Foundation.