Beneficiaries Host First Fundraiser; Leader to Retire; New Nonprofit

June 12, 2017 — 'Lost Boys and Girls' host first fundraiser for nonprofit that helped them...Essex County Greenbelt president to retire after 30 years...Creative Arts Network spins off from AHA! in Fall River.

'Lost Boys and Girls' Host First Fundraiser for Nonprofit that Helped Them

Seventeen years after surviving genocide in South Sudan and coming to Boston, 150 formerly displaced or orphaned children, now adults, held a fundraiser last month, which raised $25,000, to support South Sudanese Enrichment for Families (SSEF), a nonprofit based in Lincoln dedicated to advancing the South Sudanese community of Boston.

The fundraiser, held at the Edward G. Connolly center, Everett, the first of its kind, will provide financial aid for summer camp for children of the South Sudanese and support educational programs that foster self-sufficiency and develop family skills.

“There are more than 500 South-Sudanese in the Boston area. With the support of Massachusetts communities, we are now raising our own children at the same time as helping our relatives in South Sudan who are still grappling with war and drought,” said Akuot Leek, SSEF program manager.

After arriving in Boston as refugees fleeing war and genocide, the "Lost Boys and Girls" as they were called by aid workers in Africa, are now mentoring their community in the Boston area, helping newer refugee arrivals, and stepping into key leadership roles at SSEF, which had been established to support them as children.

Essex County Greenbelt President to Retire after 30 Years

The Essex County Greenbelt Association, an Essex-based nonprofit that conserves farmland, wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes of Essex County, recently announced that Edward O. Becker, its leader for the last 30 years, will retire as president at the end of next year.

The organization said it will launch a search for Becker's successor this summer.

Philip Lake, Greenbelt’s incoming board chair, said, “Our emphasis over the next year will be to continue Greenbelt’s path-breaking series of conservation accomplishments as we prepare for a full-scale search for a worthy successor to Ed’s incredible legacy of leadership."

Under Becker's leadership, Greenbelt’s portfolio of protected land has grown to 17,000 acres across Essex County. He has led the efforts to protect some of the most vulnerable family farms and scenic landscapes in our region. In addition, Becker championed innovative conservation methods and built solid relationships with landowners, community partners, and public officials.

Creative Arts Network Spins Off from AHA! in Fall River

Due to its strong growth over the last three years, the Creative Arts Network (CAN) has spun off from AHA! (Arts, History, Architecture) in Fall River, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts recently announced.

CAN started under the foundation’s auspices as a part of the overall AHA! Brand and, according to the foundation, "has moved off on its own in recognition of its growing level of stability and sustainability."

Dave Dennis, who with his wife Sandy organized the new effort, said, “The Creative Arts Network will continue to work to reinvigorate local and regional arts and cultural through its regular programing and providing a stimulus for the local economy. We are grateful and appreciative to the Community Foundation and AHA! New Bedford for their support and mentorship and look forward to our continued collaboration and partnership.”

CAN officially separated from AHA! in April and has applied for 501(c)(3) status.

The AHA! in Fall River, launched in New Bedford in 1999, is the longest continuously funded community placemaking project from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Adams Program.