Fundraising; CEO to Retire; Going Solar; Community Officer

May 10, 2022 — Open Door fundraiser generates $164K, setting a record. President/CEO of Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to retire. Discovery Museum goes solar for all its electricity needs Cambridge Health Alliance names chief community officer.

Open Door Fundraiser Generates $164K, Setting a Record

The Open Door, a Gloucester nonprofit that works to alleviate food insecurity across Cape Ann, last Saturday raised $164,000 for its Mobile Market and Summer Meals for Kids programs, setting a record for the annual Empty Bowl To Go 2.0 event.

“As the cost of living outpaces wages, the enduring message of ‘somewhere, someone’s bowl is empty’ resonates deeply with many across the North Shore, and this weekend people turned out to give what they could to make sure that bowls would be full,” The Open Door President and CEO Julie LaFontaine told the Gloucester Times. “Proceeds from this popular community event will help fund the Summer Meals and Mobile Market programs and help connect people to good food where they live, gather, and learn.”

The annual fundraiser was held as a drive-through for the second year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dinner ticket-holders drove through The Open Door’s headquarters, past volunteers waving handmade signs and displays along the highlighting programs of the nonprofit human services agency, and continued past the construction site for The Open Door Food and Nutrition Center, a capital building project to expand agency’s facility and streamline operations, the paper reported.

In 2021, The Open Door said it helped stabilize the lives and health of 8,516 people from 4,176 households through the distribution of 1.83 million pounds of food. The nonprofit is a community food resource center, running pantries in Gloucester and Ipswich, for low-income residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Boxford, Rowley, Topsfield, and Wenham.

President/CEO of Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to Retire

Katie Allan Zobel

The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM), a nonprofit based in Springfield, a leading grant maker, yesterday announced that Katie Allan Zobel will retire this fall after serving 10 years as its president and chief executive officer. She joined CFWM 17 years ago as a part-time consultant.

Paul Murphy, board chair, said, “Katie is leaving an impressive legacy and a strong organization made possible by her leadership,” noting that during her tenure, the foundation’s assets grew from $103 million to $250 million, while the staff nearly doubled.

“Working alongside the most generous, deeply committed, caring and compassionate people, year after year, continues to astonish me. I have had the incomparable good fortune to spend countless days with people who freely give their time and treasure to strengthen our corner of the world. What could be better? I feel twice blessed,” Zobel said.

Zobel did not disclose details regarding her future plans. The board has engaged an executive search firm to help find and hire Zobel’s successor.

Established in 1991, CFWM last year received $24.6 million in donations and granted $16.7 million. During the pandemic, CFWM distributed more than $12 million to people in need in the region.

Discovery Museum Goes Solar for All Its Electricity Needs

Discovery Museum, an Acton nonprofit that serves as the children’s and science museum of Boston's MetroWest region, last week announced its conversion to on-site generated solar electricity, a key tenet of its five-year objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral.

The museum said it installed a 326kW solar array above a reconfigured parking lot that created more green space on its campus. The 856-panel array represents an annual carbon dioxide reduction of 286 tons, the equivalent of the carbon sequestered by 307 acres of forest each year. The array will produce more electricity than the museum requires, and the excess will be provided at a discount to other nonprofit institutions.

“Our move to 100% on-site generated solar electricity is a cornerstone of our action plan to reduce the environmental impact of the museum’s operations and lead by example to inspire others to take action on behalf of our planet,” said CEO Neil Gordon. “We hope to set the bar for what museums and other cultural institutions should be looking to do to help combat climate change and educate their communities about planning for sustainable and resilient futures.”

The museum said it is also taking steps, including a new carbon offset initiative to account for travel to and from the museum by staff, volunteers, and members, to reduce the museum’s carbon footprint and serve as educational outreach for its community.

Funding the project and expanded environmental education and inclusion initiatives are a five-year, $1 million challenge grant awarded by Brian Sheth and Adria Sheth’s Sangreal Foundation, a $200,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, and support from the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund and the Nathaniel and Elizabeth P. Stevens Foundation.

Cambridge Health Alliance Names Chief Community Officer

Doug Kress

Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a community health system serving Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities, has named Doug Kress as its new chief community officer.

CHA said Kress will build partnerships with community-based nonprofit groups, local governments, and state and regional agencies to advance the health system’s clinical, research, and policy initiatives. He also will oversee efforts to improve access and health status outcomes in the communities CHA serves, and link its resources to strategic priorities, as well as to identify potential collaborations and develop community-based programs that respond to the needs of its patients and local residents.

Kress most recently served as director of health and human services for the City of Somerville, managing a staff of 65. Earlier, he was director of development services for the City of Minneapolis and policy aide for a Minneapolis City Council member. He holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in public policy from Tufts University.