September 20, 2017
 
United South End Settlements Gala Raises $400K, a Record

June 8, 2017 — United South End Settlements, a community advocacy and services organization that serves Boston’s South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods, announced that its recent annual gala raised $400,000, about 37% more than last year, setting a record.

The funds will support education and enrichment programming for children who would otherwise not have access, as well as critical job training for parents and adults.

United South End Settlements (USES) said it sought to raise $350,000 from 350 attendees at its annual Neighborhood Gala, held May 25 at its Columbus Avenue site. The addition of a tent this year enabled USES to attract about 400 attendees, an increase of 100 over last year.

This is the third year of the Neighborhood Gala, which replaced and rebranded a longtime spring fundraising event.

"We were able to meet our goals and set a fundraising record due to a dedicated host committee and event co-chairs, who set ambitious goals and worked hard to introduce new networks to USES, " said Nikki Stewart, USES vice president of development. "By retaining host committee members year to year and also bringing on new volunteers, we are able to maintain our base while continually growing our pipeline of supporters."

Referring to the organization's just completed five-year strategic plan, she said, "We also leveraged this event to announce an exciting goal, disrupting the cycle of poverty for 1,000 children and their families over the next five years."

The year's gala featured a $50,000 challenge for on-site fundraising, which ended up raising $113,000, based on raising $63,000 and a $50,000 match. Most of the rest of the funds were generated via sponsorships. Individual tickets were $125.

Co-chairing the event were Jacqueline and Graig Fantuzzi, Julia and Peter Johannsen, and Patrick Planeta and Santiago Varela. Nineteen local restaurants provided food and José Massó host of WBUR 90.9 FM's ¡Con Salsa!, served as master of ceremonies.

The new strategic plan, called Vision125, builds on USES's 125-year history to launch a new mission and theory of change that seeks to harness the power of the local diverse community to disrupt the cycle of poverty for children and their families.

According to USES, the South End neighborhood has the greatest wealth disparity in the city of Boston, with 36% of children living below the poverty line. Over the next five years USES will launch a multimillion dollar campaign "to build out a holistic model to serve children and parents together, empowering them with the resources, resilience, and relationships needed to achieve economic stability."

Originally founded as the Andover House in 1891, USES was the first settlement house in Boston and the fourth in the United States. Each year the organization serves more than 3,000 individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and income-levels, providing early childhood education, after school enrichment, youth arts programming, summer overnight camp, adult education and workforce readiness, and health, wellness, and home repair services for seniors.

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