Leaders Honored; Funds to Expand, Move; Contest Winner

November 17, 2020 — MetroWest Nonprofit Network ED honored, granted $20K. Social justice award for president of The BASE. Willie Ross School for the Deaf granted $32K to expand program. EforAll expands to Worcester, receives $45K. Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology awarded $1M to support move. Boston nonprofit wins competition aimed at advancing life sciences.

MetroWest Nonprofit Network ED Honored, Granted $20K

Anna Carollo Cross

The Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation recently announced it has named Anna Carollo Cross, executive director of the Framingham-based MetroWest Nonprofit Network (MWNN), its 2020 John R. Heerwagen Award recipient, which came with a $20,000 grant to benefit the organization.

The foundation cited Carollo Cross for her work during the coronavirus pandemic, including orchestrating an effort to provide added food security for families and individuals in Framingham most adversely impacted by the health crisis. She was also instrumental in launching The Emergency Phone Line project, a collaboration between the City of Framingham, the Framingham Board of Health, Framingham Public Schools, Voices of the Community, and MWNN.

“I am honored and humbled to be the recipient of the John R. Heerwagen Award for Nonprofit Leadership,” said Carollo Cross. “I have the privilege of being part of an extraordinary organization whose mission is to support and strengthen committed and passionate nonprofit leaders all over MetroWest. I accept this award on behalf of every single nonprofit leader who believes they can change the world and then goes right ahead and actually makes it happen.”

Dana Neshe, president of the foundation, said, “The challenges presented by 2020 have made the work of local nonprofit organizations more critical than ever. We are humbled and proud to honor Anna Carollo Cross, an inspiring leader in the community who has demonstrated great influence and impact in even the most difficult times.”

Founded in the early 1990s, MWNN serves small and medium-sized nonprofits based in the MetroWest area of eastern Massachusetts (approximately the area bordered by Routes 128, 495, 1A, and 2).

President of The BASE Gets Social Justice Award

Robert Lewis, Jr.

The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation last week announced it awarded its 2020 Social Justice Award to Robert Lewis, Jr., founder and president of The BASE, a Roxbury nonprofit that combines athletic training and competition with education and career resources to empower student-athletes to achieve their full potential.

“We each have the collective responsibility to shift the paradigm created by policies that generate racial and gender inequities, and remove the barriers that prevent equity and justice for all,” said Nancy Huntington Stager, president and CEO of the foundation. “Robert Lewis, Jr.’s life’s work reminds us we must listen to those closest to the issues, be willing to be uncomfortable, to work to understand, take time, and provide the sustained effort needed to address the systemic structures that perpetuate inequities in our communities.”

Lewis launched The BASE in 2013, which has remained open during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, he served as executive director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, president and executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice, senior vice president of City Year’s national operations, executive director of City Year Boston, and vice president for program at The Boston Foundation.

Willie Ross School for the Deaf Granted $32K to Expand Program

Willie Ross School for the Deaf (WRSD), a Longmeadow nonprofit that provides deaf and hard of hearing students access to education and support services, recently announced it was granted $32,122 to purchase audiology equipment for the school’s expanding audiology program.

The nonprofit said the grant, from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, will enable it to replace old, outdated equipment to more effectively serve students and allow the school to evaluate young children beginning at birth.

WRSD President and CEO Bert Carter said, “This grant represents a resource not only for the Willie Ross School but also for the public at large. Providing audiology services to children and adults in the community is important and we are thankful for this important grant.”

EforAll Expands to Worcester, Receives $45K

Entrepreneurship for All, a nonprofit based in Lowell that supports entrepreneurship through mentorship and other activities, expanded to Worcester (EforAll Worcester) last month. To support the move, Fidelity Bank of Leominster announced it granted the site a three-year, $45,000 grant.

“With their help, we will be able to reach and mentor a larger group of entrepreneurs who want to start a business,” said John Esler, founding committee chair for EforAll’s Worcester program, quoted in the Worcester Business Journal.

With nine Massachusetts locations, as well as another in Colorado, EforAll was founded in 2010 by Jaishree and Desh Deshpande as Merrimack Valley Sandbox. It took its current name in 2014. In addition to offering a business accelerator program, EforAll sponsors pitch contests, virtual workshops, and co-working space.

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology Awarded $1M to Support Move

The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), a nonprofit college currently located in Boston’s South End, last week announced that the Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation awarded it a $1 million grant, contingent on its plans to remain independent and move to a new campus in Roxbury.

The current BFIT campus is under agreement to be sold, at an undisclosed price, to developer Related Beal. BFIT has operated under a heightened cash monitoring plan implemented by the U.S. Department of Education for three years for not having enough cash on hand, according to the Boston Business Journal.

Boston Nonprofit Wins Competition Aimed at Advancing Life Sciences

Science Rehashed, a Boston-based nonprofit formed last year to make recent scientific breakthroughs more accessible to the public, last week was named the Challenge Winner in a competition to showcase and grow awareness for nonprofit organizations operating in the life sciences.

The second annual Life Science & Healthcare Nonprofit Organizations Pitch Challenge, hosted by MassBio and Life Science Cares, a Cambridge nonprofit composed of life science leaders and companies working to eliminate poverty in Greater Boston, awarded $2,500 and a year’s membership in Mass Bio to the winner, which made a five-minute pitch along with four other finalists.

“Many folks may be aware of nonprofit universities and hospitals in our industry; however, they may not be as knowledgeable about the life science nonprofit sector in areas such as workforce development, education, patient advocacy, science diversity, basic research, therapeutic discovery, research support, and many more,” said Sarah MacDonald, executive director of Life Science Cares. “We wanted to create the awareness for and recognition of the community work within our industry through this event.”