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June 25, 2022
Youth Villages Raises $830K; Friendship Home success; Surprise $500K; Gala Resumes, Raises $600K

June 1, 2022 — Youth Villages Raises $830K; Friendship Home raises $630K at annual gala; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County gets surprise $500K. Cushing Centers spring gala resumes, raises $600K. Leadership change at United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region.

Youth Villages Spring Celebration Gala Raises $830K

June 2, 2022 — Youth Villages, a Massachusetts nonprofit that provides intensive, in-home mental health treatment to children, families and young adults, announced that its recent Spring Celebration gala, which celebrated a milestone 15 years in Massachusetts, raised $830,000 to help young people live successfully.

Youth Villages will use the funds to support LifeSet, a program that helps young adults aging out of foster care with the transition into successful adulthood and the new Intercept for Emergency Diversion program which helps to prevent children from boarding in emergency departments while waiting for mental health treatment.

“It was incredible to finally be able to come together in person for the first time since the pandemic,” said Matt Stone, executive director of Youth Villages Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “I am so proud of our impact over the last 15 years. We’ve gone from serving one family in 2007 to over 900 young people per day today and we could not have done that without the generous support from this community.”

Stone was honored at the event for his years of dedication, leadership and commitment to the organization and the young people they serve. Secretary Marylou Sudders presented the Secretary Marylou Sudders Excellence in Human Services Award to Dr. Jacque Cutillo, assistant clinical director at Youth Villages.

Close to 300 attendees heard the inspiring story of Emely, a 22-year-old in the LifeSet program, who shared her journey from suffering eight years of abuse as a child to being the first person in her family to graduate college. And Jenny, whose 15-year-old daughter was in the Intercept program and stuck in an endless cycle of emergency room visits for her mental health, finally found progress with Youth Villages.

Funds were raised through corporate and individual donations prior to the event, tickets and special opportunities to support young people during a live auction. Presenting sponsors included Anita and Josh Bekenstein, The Klarman Family Foundation and the One8 Foundation.

Youth Villages has served over 10,000 young people in their 15 years in Massachusetts and continues to help children, families and young adults live successfully.

Friendship Home's Circle of Friends Gala raises $630K

Friendship Home in Norwell recently held its 13th Annual Circle of Friends Gala and raised more than $630,000 for its programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. More than 600 guests attended the nonprofit’s signature event at Lombardo’s in Randolph.

Friendship Home kicked off its cause auction by announcing a $20,000 challenge grant from the Salah Foundation. Other highlights from the event included appearances by Gala Chairs, PJ and Lizzy Antonik of Oak Development and Design and their home improvement reality series “Heart of Oak,” as well as speeches by Friendship Home members JR Foley and Kayla Pigeon

"We did so well thanks to the amazing people in the room who believe in Friendship Home’s mission and who want us to be successful. We are very grateful!” said Andrea Pyke, Executive Director.

Friendship Home was founded in 1999 by Wilma Goodhue and Joan Mullare, two mothers of adult children with developmental disabilities. They dreamed of creating a home that would specifically address the profound need for quality respite care as well as provide opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to build relationships, develop independent living skills and have fun.

The nonprofit organization now serves more than 200 families throughout the South Shore and beyond with employment, social/recreational and overnight respite programs.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County Gets Surprise $500K

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, a nonprofit based in Greenfield which provides mentors to youth, today announced it received what it described as “an unprecedented” and unsolicited gift of $500,000 from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to support its ongoing mission.

“This generosity comes at a critical time for our community,” said BBBS of Franklin County Executive Director Jennifer Webster. “Our youth need, now more than ever, to be seen, heard and validated while facing the challenges of today’s world. They need mentors to help them build resilience and hope for their future.”

She added, “This generosity, coupled with the strong foundation we have built through investment from our donors and community partners, we are poised to launch a powerful transformation in our local community that will be felt for generations.”

The nonprofit was one of 38 out of 232 Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates nationwide to receive a gift from Scott, who has made surprise donations of similar or larger size to nearly two dozen Massachusetts nonprofits during the last two years.

Cushing Centers Spring Gala Resumes, Raises $600K

Cardinal Cushing Centers, a Hanover-based nonprofit that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, today announced it raised $600,000 at its recently held annual spring gala, held in person after a two-year hiatus due to theCOVID-19 pandemic.

“We are so very pleased to report that our 2022 Springtime gala exceeded our fund-raising goals,” said Cushing’s President & CEO Michelle Markowitz. “I attribute the success to a devoted and hard-working gala committee as well as our dedicated honorees. We are so grateful for all who chose to spend the evening with us in support of our mission.”

Paul Burton, WBZ-TV emceed the event. Sponsors included, among many others, Barbara Gorman, PLAN of MA & RI Special Needs Trust, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Alera Group, Conway Insurance Agency, Quincy Mutual, Beth & Bill Sorenson, and TJX.

Founded in 1947 as a day and residential school for students with intellectual disabilities, Cardinal Cushing Centers, today supports more than 600 individuals of all ages, with the goal of helping each student and adult to become included and independent members of society. Programs include affordable housing, community programs, education, employment training, recreational, therapeutic, and residential services.

Leadership Change at United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region

Geoff Naunheim

The United Way of the Franklin and Hampshire Region, based in Northampton, which supports a four dozen local social service agencies, recently announced that Geoff Naunheim will succeed John Bidwell as executive director, who is stepping down at the end of next month after leading the organization since 2018, the Greenfield Recorder reported last week.

“I’ve loved the job. This is an amazing community, without a doubt. It’s a hugely caring community,” Bidwell told the paper.

Naunheim joined the United Way in 2017 and serves as director of community investment. He previously worked in the development office of a free public book bank in New Haven. He is board chair of the Hampshire County Council of Social Agencies. Geoff graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history.

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