After two years of being remote, it was a treat to gather in person for our 27th Annual Meeting to recap our 2021 accomplishments and provide an opportunity for community partners and friends to get to know our new President and CEO, Leonard M. Lee. The theme of the evening was ‘Keeping Our Finger On The Pulse’ because, as your trusted philanthropic partner, we stay connected to our hard-working nonprofits, so we understand the needs of our residents. And remain the trusted steward of the funds we manage, connecting donors and resources with community needs for the benefit of our region.
The meeting was Board Chair Linda Bodenmann’s last official duty before turning over the reigns to Gail Fortes (ED of YWCA). Other Board roles that were ratified included Jayne Rebello Korn as Treasurer, Maria Rosario as Assistant Clerk, and Jeff Pagliuca as a new Director member. It was also an opportunity to thank the years of dedication from Colleen Carney Courtney, Seth Garfield, and Jason Rua as they stepped off the Board. And recognize former President and CEO John Vasconcellos, who retired at the end of last year. Last year’s meeting notes were approved, as were the financials.
The emergent needs due to the pandemic and our institutional commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice served as our guide over 2021 as we focused on our strategic priorities. With that as our framework, we granted $778,302 for Arts and Culture, $1.3 million for Education, and $1.6 million for Economic Opportunities. For COVID relief, we awarded more than $2.8 million from our Emergency Response Fund. Also of note was the establishment of the Mayflower Fund, which will provide $27 million over ten years to build inclusive, equitable, and diverse employment, training, and supply chain opportunities for the local workforce.
Last year we also initiated significant steps in our journey to become an anti-racist organization and embrace the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to change how we do business. This work continued throughout 2021 and into 2022, and we still have much to do. We are committed to this effort and look forward to updating you on our progress in the future.
The Annual Meeting concluded with an update from President and CEO Leonard M. Lee. Many may not know that when he isn’t running the Foundation, he often tends to his beehives. We enjoyed introducing this little-known fact to the audience with a fun video we put together. Leonard used the opportunity to impart his philosophy about community, which should function very much like a hive made up of thousands of worker bees who are entirely focused on building and protecting the hive. His approach is to support and work with people to create a touch, move, and inspire moment, so folks understand the importance of the Community Foundation to bring about real change in the community.
Lee stressed the focus of the organization would remain on Arts and Culture, Education, and Economic Opportunity but deepen further with a racial equity and social justice lens. For the short term, he will continue to meet with organizations and community leaders within our region to have conversations, build relationships, and listen to the needs of the community and donors.