May 25, 2019
United South End Settlements Gala Raises a Record $425K

May 25, 2018 — United South End Settlements, a community advocacy and services organization that serves Boston’s South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods, announced that it raised $425,000 at its recent gala, setting a fundraising record for the annual event.

The funds will support a broad range of programs that aim to help low-income families achieve economic mobility, including early childhood education, after school programming, summer camp, and job training and placement.

The Neighborhood Gala on May 17 was a sell-out event, attracting 450 people. It sought to raise $430,000 and draw 400 attendees.

Last year's gala set what was then a record, raising $400,000 and attracting 300 people.

“This year’s gala exceeded our expectations," said Nikki Stewart, vice president of development at United South End Settlements (USES). "The support we received at the gala and throughout the year speaks to USES’s longtime commitment to building and engaging diverse networks in our programs and in our vision to break the cycle of poverty for children and families. This year, we also increased efforts to connect community members to our new, holistic approach to serving families.”

Helping to make the event a success was an anonymous donor who agree to match each donation during the gala, up to $100,000. Other funds were raised via ticket sales, direct donations during the gala, sponsorships, and online donations the day after the gala.

This year's event was held for the first time at the SoWa Power Station space in Boston's South End, with food and drinks provided by 18 South End restaurants and purveyors.

The gala raised 33% of the philanthropic funds USES plans to generate this year.

Originally founded as the Andover House in 1892, USES was the first settlement house in Boston and the fourth in the United States. The founding principle of these organizations was to provide college-aged, upper-class men and women with opportunities to live in impoverished neighborhoods and partner with residents in order to lift their neighbors out of poverty by strengthening families and building community. In 1959, five settlement houses were consolidated into one, leading to the organization's current name.

Historically one of the poorest neighborhoods in Boston, the South End deteriorated rapidly after World War II due to “redlining” and urban renewal. 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 today.

USES today serves families from all backgrounds and income-levels, providing early childhood education, after school enrichment, youth arts programming, summer overnight camp, and adult education and workforce readiness.

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