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March 2, 2021
Marathon Set; Trustees Leader Dies; New Roles Filled; Grief Support

February 2, 2021 — Boston Marathon set for Oct. 11. Trustees leader Barbara J. Erickson dies. Community Servings names first director of communications. Cape Cod Foundation names first capacity building and strategic partnerships officer. Three nonprofits team to provide grief support following COVID-19.

Boston Marathon Set for Oct. 11

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), a Boston nonprofit that organizes the annual Boston Marathon, which enables nonprofits to raise millions of dollars to support their causes, recently announced that this year’s race—the 125th running—normally held on Patriot’s Day in mid-April, will be held on Oct. 11.

“We announce the 2021 Boston Marathon date with a cautious optimism, understanding full well that we will continue to be guided by science and our continued collaborative work with local, city, state, and public health officials,” said Tom Grilk, BAA president and CEO. “If we are able to hold an in-person race in October, the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members will be paramount.”

The BAA said it will offer a virtual race option this year. Last year’s race, held as a virtual event in October after the coronavirus pandemic initially forced a postponement, raised $32.1 million for 242 nonprofits. While the total raised fell below the record $38.7 million raised the year before, it nonetheless was an impressive achievement for a virtual fundraiser.

Trustees Leader Barbara J. Erickson Dies

Barbara Erickson

Barbara J. Erickson, who since 2012 served as president and CEO of The Trustees, a Boston nonprofit, the country’s oldest conservation nonprofit which cares for more than 100 places in Massachusetts, died last month following a battle with cancer.

The organization said Jocelyn Forbush, who served as acting president and CEO during Erickson’s medical leave, will continue in that role while the board decides on a permanent successor.

Under Erickson’s leadership, visitor attendance at Trustees properties doubled to two million annually while its operating budget nearly doubled. During that time, the organization embarked on partnerships and mergers, including those with the Boston Public Market Kitchen, The FARM Institute, Fruitlands Museum, and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

In a 2019 article in Forbes, she noted, “The historic house tour of 20 years ago is not popular any more. We invested in our houses and created art programs and signature events that trick people into history. As a result, we saw visitation explode: people fall in love with these places and return again and again.”

Peter Coffin, board chair of The Trustees, said, “Ambition, tenacity, and audacious thinking defined Barbara’s presidency. She will be remembered for her strong vision and aspirations for the organization. Personally, she championed leadership by women in the workplace and especially mothers.”

Community Servings Names First Director of Communications

Ryan Levasseur

Community Servings, a Boston-based nonprofit provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition services to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses, recently announced that it named Ryan Levasseur to the newly created position of director of communications, responsible for messaging, tone and brand for the nonprofit agency and directs all communications including press, web, print and digital.

Levasseur earlier worked as an account director with Regan Communications and as an associate producer at New England Cable News.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Salem State University.

Cape Cod Foundation Names First Capacity Building and Strategic Partnerships Officer

Caitlin Abber

The Cape Cod Foundation in South Yarmouth recently announced that Caitlin Abber has been hired to be its first capacity building and strategic partnerships officer. In that roll, she will be responsible for developing and sustaining long-term relationships with community stakeholders, program partners, and local nonprofit organizations and expanding the foundation’s Capacity-Building Program, which aims to help key nonprofits reach the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity.

Abber previously worked in a similar position with CHNA17, a regional health coalition serving Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Somerville, Waltham, and Watertown. Most recently she directed youth development, workforce development, and public health education programming at the Allston Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force and Groundwork Lawrence.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in public health and sociology from Brandeis University, and a master’s degree in prevention science from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Three Nonprofits Team to Provide Grief Support Following COVID-19

Three nonprofits—Jeff’s Place in Framingham-based that provides free grief support groups for families who have experienced a significant death loss, The Parmenter Foundation in Wayland and Advocates in Framingham, which provides a broad range of services for people facing life challenges—recently announced a new virtual grief support group for adults coping with loss in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parmenter provided a $13,000 grant to support the initiative, which will be administered by Advocates. The grief curriculum will be developed by bereavement experts from Jeff’s Place.

“The COVID pandemic and subsequent isolation has presented a unique set of issues for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. It’s our hope that our virtual support group will help people who are grieving feel less alone in their grief journey,” said Jenny Kaplan, founder and CEO of Jeff’s Place.

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