April 25, 2019
Raw Art Works Gets $5M Gift to Assure Long-Term Stability

October 12, 2018 — Raw Art Works, a Lynn arts nonprofit that focuses on helping youth build meaningful relationships with their peers and organizational staff, which generates annual revenues of about $2.2 million, today announced it has received a $5 million donation to build its endowment and ensure long-term stability.

The gift, from Bruce Herring, board chair of Raw Art Works (RAW), and his wife, Patricia, will "provide a base level of funding that will be there year in and year out to help RAW fulfill its destiny."

He noted, "Times are good today but the economy has cycles and we want to do what we can to make sure RAW weathers the tougher times.”

“This gives us the confidence and the opportunity to plan for and to move more boldly into our future as we seek to fulfill our mission to create greater and greater impact for the youth in our community,” Kit Jenkins, RAW’s executive director, told The Boston Globe.

Jenkins reportedly noted that the gift will help RAW attract other donors.

For the year ending June 30, 2017, RAW reported $1.7 million in contributions and grants, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

The endowment gift will support existing programming and new initiatives, while providing sustainability and stability for years to come, RAW said, and will enable RAW to offer all programming at no charge. It will also help RAW to attract and retain talented and motivated staff that provide RAW’s youth with consistent support and guidance.

In the last five years, only one other Massachusetts-based children and youth nonprofit has received a gift of $1 million or more from an individual donor, based on data from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, RAW said.

Herring, a retired Fidelity Investments executive, has served on the RAW board for the past decade, the last eight years as chairman, according to The Globe, while his wife has been an active RAW volunteer the past 12 years.

The couple reportedly were the lead donor for a $2 million campaign to fund an expansion project in 2013.

Herring told The Globe that the endowment gift is an expression of “how much confidence we have in them as an institution and to say to the world how important is the work they do,” adding that it will give RAW "the financial resources to think big.”

Founded in 1988, RAW designed the first statewide art therapy program for incarcerated youth, placing paintbrushes into the hands of kids. In 1994, RAW moved to its current site in Lynn. Today it provides 550 youth annually with opportunities to participate in visual and expressive arts groups, film school, leadership development, employment opportunities, and college access/career exploration programming.

This spring founder Mary Flannery announced she was stepping down from day-to-day involvement with RAW, but will remain on the board. She recently noted, "What has fueled our 30 years is the kids’ willingness to trust us. At RAW, they can count on being seen, heard, and held. I love that! I am so surprised and humbled by how many people really listened, connected with our mission, and believed in RAW’s vision."

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