IN PROMISING TO DONATE most of their considerable fortune to charity, Bill and Joyce Cummings say they are trying to set an example for the country’s wealthiest 1 percent. The Winchester couple, having made hundreds of millions in commercial real estate in Eastern Massachusetts, signed on in May to the Giving Pledge campaign, started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates. By taking the pledge, America’s richest families publicly declare that they will give away more than half of their money during their lifetimes or after death; the Cummingses say they privately decided some time ago to give 90 percent to philanthropic causes. The couple are the first in the state to make the pledge, joining 68 other signatories nationwide.
Bill Cummings says that he and his wife were both brought up to always be “doing more than we have to do.” They’ve recently also joined Buffett in calling on the super-rich to pay more taxes.