The Nathan Cummings Foundation is rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community. We seek to build a socially and economically just society that values nature and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities.
Nathan Cummings was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1896. He moved from impoverished beginnings to great success by hard work, entrepreneurial genius, and a willingness to take risks.
n 1939, he purchased the C.D. Kenny Company of Baltimore, a small wholesale distributor of canned foods, coffee, tea, and spices. That was the beginning of the international company known today as the Sara Lee Corporation. For three decades he personally guided the growth of the company. He retired from active management in 1968 to pursue philanthropic interests. In his later years, he was a perceptive art collector and a generous philanthropist, with a strong interest in medicine and science. He inherited a spirit of sharing and community from his immigrant parents, and transmitted that spirit to his children and grandchildren, who contribute their time and energy to the Foundation. He died in 1985, leaving the majority of his estate to this Foundation.more » « less