Cummings Properties employees choose local charities for $357,000 in donations

According to a popular carol, December is “the most wonderful time of the year.” And at Cummings Properties, most would agree. The Woburn-based commercial real estate company just donated $357,000 to hundreds of local nonprofit organizations via its Employee Directed Giving program. Through this annual philanthropic initiative, employees are invited to select a local nonprofit to receive a $1,000 donation in their honor.

In 2017, Employee Directed Giving benefitted 242 nonprofits in 77 local cities and towns. Now in its fifth year, the program is designed to give back in the areas where Cummings Properties employees live and work.

Jo-Anne Varoutsos, a client services associate in Cummings’ Woburn office, directed her $1,000 donation to the Best Buddies program at Joyce Middle School in Woburn, which pairs students with disabilities with an in-school “buddy.” As a former substitute teacher, Varoutsos knows first-hand the positive impact that the program has in the school.

Employee Directed Giving

PHOTO: Client Services Associate JoAnne Varoutsos (second from left) directed her gift to Joyce Middle School’s Best Buddies Program. With her are teacher Drew Varoutsos, Best Buddies Director Joanne Young, and Principal Tom Qualey.

“What Best Buddies does is so important,” said Varoutsos. “It teaches students to have compassion and respect for kids who might seem different at first, but who are really just like them; they want to learn, fit in, and have fun.”

Each eligible organization can receive up to $5,000 per program cycle, allowing multiple staff members choose the same nonprofit. This year, 12 organizations received $5,000: Beverly Bootstraps, Billerica Fast Pitch Softball, Billerica Public Library Foundation, Boston Children’s Hospital, Day By Day Adult Care, Mission of Deeds, MSPCA Nevins Farm, Northeast Animal Shelter, Saugus Pop Warner, the Philoptochos Caring & Sharing program at St. George Church, The Open Door, and Woburn Council of Social Concern.

“There’s a definite buzz in the air during Employee Directed Giving,” said Dennis Clarke, Cummings Properties’ president and CEO. “Staff members often take the time to deliver their donations personally to their chosen organization. We receive a lot of photos with some very happy – and surprised – people in them. It’s wonderful.”

Employee Directed Giving is open to all regular full-time employees of Cummings Properties, as well as its affiliated retirement communities, New Horizons at Choate in Woburn and New Horizons at Marlborough. Selected nonprofits must meet a few eligibility requirements and be based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, or Suffolk County, or the city or town where the employee lives.

More information, including the complete 2017 Employee Directed Giving recipient list, is available at

Cummings Properties operates 11 million square feet of real estate across 11 Greater Boston communities. Its portfolio accommodates offices, healthcare facilities, labs, restaurants, retail storefronts, warehouses, co-working spaces, executive suites, and more.