Joyce Vyriotes Leads Cummings Foundation is Inside Charity’s take on the Woburn-based Cummings Foundation who recently appointed Joyce Vyriotes as its new executive director, effective October 1. One of the several largest private foundations in New England, its holdings total approximately $3 billion.
Vyriotes, who is currently deputy director, will be the third executive director in the 35-year-old foundation’s history. She will also be the first female to hold this post.
“I am delighted to pass the baton to such a worthy successor,” said Joel Swets, who retires after a 15-year tenure as Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “Joyce’s exceptional diligence, sterling leadership, and varied experience in the nonprofit sector will serve the Foundation well in this next chapter.”
According to Cummings Foundation co-founder Bill Cummings, Vyriotes has taken on an increasingly large portion of the Foundation’s management over the years.
“Joyce has been one of the chief architects of our major annual grant-making initiative, which has grown to award $25 million each year and involve about 150 community volunteers,” said Cummings.
Cummings Foundation will have zero employees on its payroll following this change. Vyriotes is—and will continue to be—employed by the Foundation’s for-profit affiliate, Cummings Properties. In addition to her responsibilities within the Foundation, she serves as director of communications and marketing, as well as a member of the Executive Committee, for the suburban commercial real estate firm.
Most of the buildings managed by Cummings Properties are actually owned by, and operated for the sole benefit of, Cummings Foundation, with 100 percent of all rental profits going to charitable causes. The Cummings organization was just named the Commonwealth’s “Top Charitable Contributor” for the fifth time by Boston Business Journal.
“It has been incredibly rewarding, enlightening, and just plain fun to be part of an organization that infuses philanthropy with an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Vyriotes. “I’m excited to continue working with greater Boston nonprofits, the Foundation’s generous volunteers, and my Cummings colleagues to benefit local communities.”
A key reason why the Foundation is able to award more than $25 million annually with no paid staff is its volunteer model, according to Vyriotes. More than 150 community leaders select the majority of grant winners each year and then maintain relationships with those organizations on behalf of the Foundation.
Prior to joining Cummings in 2010, Vyriotes spent a decade in the nonprofit sector in her former home of Tucson, AZ. She raised funds for American Cancer Society and Arizona Cancer Center, and then served in a patient services role with Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Vyriotes lives in Reading with her husband, Paul, and dog, Yogi. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University. An avid triathlete, she is a member of the Mystic Running Club and TriFury Triathlon Team.
Woburn-based Cummings Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including its two New Horizons senior living communities, in Marlborough and Woburn. Established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings, the Foundation has now awarded more than $300 million to local nonprofits. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.
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