Globe North | People

Winchester couple shares wealth through Giving Pledge

Wellspring House executive director Kay O’Rourke (left) and board chairwoman Caroline Hovey (right) with honorees Betsy Brown and Julie LaFontaine, 
Wellspring House executive director Kay O’Rourke (left) and board chairwoman Caroline Hovey (right) with honorees Betsy Brown and Julie LaFontaine, 

PLEDGING TO GIVE: Philanthropists Bill and Joyce Cummings of Winchester, signers of the Giving Pledge, spoke at the spring meeting of Women in Development of Greater Boston.

The Giving Pledge, started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, encourages the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit publicly to giving more than half their wealth to philanthropy during their lifetimes or posthumously.

The aim is to spark conversations, action, and sharing of knowledge to encourage more people in donating money to address some of society’s most pressing problems.


The Cummings signed the Giving Pledge in May 2011. They are the first family in Massachusetts to make the pledge, joining 81 others nationwide.

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The Cummings have given more than 90 percent of their assets to the Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, which the couple founded in 1986. The foundation has established nonprofit retirement communities, educational scholarships, and a Holocaust and genocide education program.

Additionally, they have pledged $50 million to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, named in their honor.

The couple gained wealth primarily through Cummings Properties, an Eastern Massachusetts commercial real estate firm.

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COME TOGETHER: Youth at Risk: A Regional Conference for Youth Service Providers, is scheduled for June 6 at Endicott College in Beverly.

Now in its 12th year, the conference was created by the Essex County Community Foundation to bring together the hundreds of regional professionals who work with at-risk children and teens.

The day provides education, training, and networking opportunities for social workers, psychologists, counselors, teachers, probation officers, judges, physicians, and state and nonprofit agency staff.

A preconference breakfast for donors and community leaders will include a welcome address by Marcia Fowler, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health.

The morning keynote speaker is Andre Dubus III, author of the novels “House of Sand and Fog” and “Garden of Last Days” and the memoir, “Townie,” which chronicles his tough youth in Haverhill.


The day includes 23 workshops on issues ranging from youth obesity to bullying in schools to legal strategies for helping immigrant children.

Carrie Stack, founder of the Salem-based Say Yes Institute and a life coach, author, and motivational speaker, will address the conference at lunch.

The Diruhi Mattian Memorial Award will be presented at the conference to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to caring for and supporting at-risk youth. Mattian, a social worker, was fatally stabbed by a patient in North Andover in 2008. She was a resident of Wilmington.

The conference runs 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Visit

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Julia Silverio, founder of Silverio Insurance in Lawrence, has received an award for outstanding business growth from the Immigrant Learning Center in Malden. She was one of three Massachusetts business owners honored. A native of the Dominican Republic, Silverio founded her business out of her home in 1984 to provide translation, tax, insurance, and travel services to the Latino commmunity. Her agency’s revenue reached $2.5 million in 2011. . . . John Pingree of Hamilton recently received the Marjorie V. Kittredge Award from Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation in North Andover and Boxford. The award is named for the late founder of Windrush, Marjorie Kittredge, and recognizes a person whose unwavering support of the farm embodies her spirit and legacy.

Windrush is a nonprofit farm specializing in teaching physically, emotionally, and learning disabled children and adults to ride and work with horses. ...

Wendy Killeen can be reached at