November 20, 2019
 
Two Nonprofit Leaders Honored for Contributions to the Sector

October 17, 2019 — Two Massachusetts nonprofit leaders were honored yesterday by the state's nonprofit trade association for making "indelible impacts on the lives of people" across the state – one for her work bringing high-quality arts education to chronically underserved communities, and the other for his accomplishments as a community leader and a champion for communities of color.

Receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) at its annual conference in Framingham, attended by about 600 leaders from all corners of the state's nonprofit sector, were:
  • Priscilla Kane Hellweg, executive and artistic director of Enchanted Circle Theater (ECT) in Holyoke, a nonprofit multi-service arts organization that integrates arts and education to engage, enhance, and inspire learning.

  • Darnell Williams, who served as president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (ULEM) since 2001 until he stepped down from the post at the end of last month.
“We are pleased to honor Priscilla and Darnell for their inspiring careers and for their invaluable contributions to the state’s nonprofit sector,” said Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN. “Their lives of service have made indelible impacts on the lives of people across the Commonwealth.”

Hellweg, who cofounded ECT 39 years ago, has led the organization to become a regional leader in the field of arts integration. Her organization works in public school districts across western Massachusetts and collaborates with more than 60 community service partner organizations to bring arts integration to youth in foster care, families in homeless shelters, and youth in residential treatment programs.

She received the Champions of Arts Education Award from the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts in Education, and a Millennium Award from the National Guild of Community Arts Educators for her commitment to making quality arts education accessible to all.

She serves on the Massachusetts Arts Education Advisory Council, the MassCreative Leadership Council, the MCC Creative Youth Development Council, the Holyoke Early Literacy Initiative, and is a member of the Massachusetts cohort of the National Creating Connection Initiative.

Her book, Actively Engaged: Theater as a Dynamic Teaching Tool, is scheduled for publication in 2020 by the University of Massachusetts-Arts Extension Service.

Under Williams' direction, ULEM hosted the National Urban League’s Annual Conference in Boston in 2011 after a 35-year absence, paving the way for additional conferences for people of color to come to Boston.

He was a contributing member to Boston’s successful effort to win the 2004 Democratic National Convention. For his contributions within the Black community and the City of Boston, former Mayor Thomas Menino presented him with the 2003 Community Service Award.

Williams has received numerous accolades for his service, including an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from American International College and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Worcester State University.

Established 100 years ago, ULEM is one of the oldest affiliates within the National Urban League movement.

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