July 20, 2017
 
Gala for Partners for Youth with Disabilities Raises $106K

June 9, 2017 — Partners for Youth with Disabilities, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides mentoring, youth development, and job readiness programs to youth with disabilities, announced that it raised $106,000 at its recent annual gala, beating its goal.

The funds will support mentoring, career-readiness, health and wellness, and arts programming.

The event, held May 18 at the Boston of EY, which raised more than last year, sought to attract 150 attendees and raise $105,000, and succeeded in drawing 177 people and secured a 5% matching gift.

Regina Snowden, executive director of Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD), attributed the fundraising success, in part, to "100% of members of our board of directors who supported this signature benefit event mightily."

Funds were raised through sponsorships, and auction, donations, ticket sales, and a fund-the-mission component of the evening. Individual tickets were $150, and $50 for PYD participants, families, mentors.

The Party for PYD, as the gala was called, is a centerpiece event for PYD that seeks to raise awareness of mentoring in addition to funds, and this year raised an amount equal to 10% of PYD's annual budget.

Key sponsors included Liberty Mutual Insurance, Schwabel Group, LLC, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Stephen and Donna Mastrocola, and EY. Karen Holmes Ward of WCVB Channel 5, served as emcee.

The PYD Legends Awards were presented to Muhammad Ali, Lonnie Ali, and the Muhammad Ali Center; Bill Schawbel; and Melissa M. MacDonnell and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Snowden said of the awardees, "All are incredible pillars of leadership in advancing diversity, mentoring, inclusion and strategic advocacy for a better world."

Snowden founded PYD with Disabilities in 1985 to bring critical mentoring programs to an under-served population and to encourage inclusivity in other youth programs. In that time, it has grown from one program serving nine youth to five programs directly serving hundreds of youth with disabilities.

The cornerstone of PYD is its Mentor Match program, which pairs youth and young adults with disabilities with compassionate adult mentors who best fit their personality, interests, and skills. These relationships, according to PYD, "have proven to be invaluable in improving the social and intellectual development of these youth."

The PYD National Center program, established in 2005, extends PYD's influence by providing inclusion training to youth groups at a national level. The National Center seeks to improve the ability of youth-serving organizations to offer meaningful program participation for youth with disabilities.

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