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June 25, 2022
 
United South End Settlements Gala Raises $450K, a Record
United South End Settlements

May 17, 2022 — United South End Settlements, a nonprofit community advocacy and services organization that serves Boston’s South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods, this week announced it raised a record $450,000 at its recent annual gala, held in-person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

United South End Settlements (USES) said the May 12 outdoor event attracted 300 people to SoWa (South of Washington), an art and design district in Boston’s South End.

The amount raised surpassed last year’s gala, which was held virtually, by $312,000, or 44%. A spokesperson said that USES expects the final tally, including online donations, will exceed $450,000.

Funds raised will support the ongoing work of USES, which includes support for low-income families, after school programming, a summer camp, and coaching for parents and caregivers.

Jerrell Cox, executive director of USES, said, “People feel called to support an organization when they feel connected to the values that organization promotes. Entering our 130th year, we’ve shown that United South End Settlements continues to be an organization that draws people to it through shared values – that through community we can uplift families to thrive and belong.

“The energy at SoWa was electric all night because it felt so good to be back together in community after such a long pause. That’s part of what inspired people to support us in the tremendous numbers they did.”

USES said it met its fundraising goal, which accounts for 21% of the funds it raises each year.

Funds were raised through were raised through corporate and individual donations prior to the event, tickets to the gala, which featured local food trucks, cocktails, games, speeches and live music from DeeJay MoT, and direct pledges during the event.

More than 100 people donated during direct giving at the event. USES also received donations from more than 75 sponsors, organizations, and in-kind supporters throughout the Boston area.

Sponsors included Peter Palandjian and Eliza Dushku, American Tower Corporation, Julia and Peter Johannsen, and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

The gala follows the appointment last month of Cox to lead USES. He had been serving as co-executive director of USES with José F. Massó, who was named Boston’s chief of human services.

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.

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