Local business leader and philanthropist becomes author

Starting Small and Making It Big” to be released March 1.

Local real estate magnate and philanthropist Bill Cummings has written an autobiography, due for release on March 1. “Starting Small and Making It Big: An Entrepreneur’s Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist” chronicles his life from his humble beginnings in Medford to his membership in the Giving Pledge, an organization for the world’s wealthiest people.

Cummings, age 80, is known locally for founding commercial real estate firm Cummings Properties and growing it from one small building to an 11 million-square-foot portfolio, mostly north of Boston. In recent years, the Cummings name has also been associated with more than $200 million in grant funding awarded to Greater Boston nonprofits through the eponymous foundation Bill established with his wife, Joyce, in 1986.

Local Author Bill Cummings

Although he founded three local newspapers, including Woburn Advocate and Stoneham Sun, in the early 1990s, “Starting Small” is Cummings’ first book.

“A number of people over the years have encouraged me to write down stories about everything from my childhood entrepreneurial ventures to my business philosophies to my thinking about philanthropy,” said Cummings. “With a strong, capable management team now running Cummings Properties, I finally had the time to put pen to paper.”

The book already features several cover blurbs offering praise from Melinda Gates, Ralph Nader, and Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners In Health, among others.

After quickly selling out a limited run of the paperback “preview edition,” Amazon is accepting pre-orders for the official first edition, which has an anticipated shipping date of March 1. The e-book version, however, is available now, for $9.99. One hundred percent of all profits from the book’s sale will go to charitable purposes, according to Cummings.

More information about the book, including a synopsis and sample chapters, is available at cummingsproperties.com/billcummingsbook/.

Joyce and Bill Cummings were the first Massachusetts couple to join the Giving Pledge. They have received several honorary doctoral degrees and have three times served as college commencement speakers. Among many recognitions, they received a Friend of Israel award, and Boston Business Journal named Bill the Real Estate Visionary of the Year in 2014. In 2017, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce named them both to its Academy of Distinguished Bostonians. Joyce and Bill have lived in Winchester, Mass. for 50 years.