Megan's House Appoints ED, Raises $150K, Opens New Home

Kathleen McDonald
October 19, 2017 —Megan's House Foundation, a Lowell nonprofit that provides residential substance abuse treatment services for women 18 – 26 years of age, last week announced that it appointed Kathleen McDonald as executive director, raised $150,000 at its annual gala, and opened a new home for young women recovering from addiction.

She succeeds Deb Belanger, who resigned in June about six months after taking up the post. Tim Grover, founder and president of the Megan's House Foundationand Teddy Panos, director of development and communications shared responsibility for day-to-day in the interim.

“Kathleen is exactly the type of leader we were looking for to guide us into the next phases of our mission,” said Grover. “Her experience, passion, and forward-thinking approach to recovery is the perfect complement to the talented team we already have in place and the solid base they have established for the organization.

As part of the advancement team that launched Salem State University’s first comprehensive campaign, McDonald helped raise more than $11 million, creating major gift proposals for support.

She also successfully secured multi-million dollar federal and state contracts, as well as six figure private foundation gifts for organizations such as Stoneham Theatre (now known as Greater Boston Stage Company) and at Lynn Economic Opportunity (LEO), an anti-poverty community action agency in Lynn.

At LEO, McDonald was part of the executive leadership team responsible for developing long range strategies for sustainability and growth, developing and strengthening staff resources, professional development, and establishing strategies for major capital renovations to improve services.

“What Megan’s House has established in terms of services and reputation in just two short years is unprecedented,” said McDonald. “My family is one of the thousands to feel the shock, fear, and grief related to the opioid epidemic and I am grateful to now serve in a professional role inspiring others to share and invest in a cause that has touched me personally. I see hope and possibility at The Megan House Foundation, and I want others to know that recovery is possible.”

McDonald earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and music from Salem State University and a Master of Arts degree in gender and cultural studies from Simmons College.

Second Annual Gala Raises $150K; Erin's House Opened

The Megan House Foundation recently celebrated its second anniversary with a black-tie gala that raised $150,000, 20% more than last year's event.

The sold-out event, held Sept. 29 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Convention Center in Lowell, drew 365, up from last year's 340 attendees.

During the gala, Grover, announced a new program, launched with Health Helm, Inc. to provide mobile health support for residents in recovery from substance abuse and addiction.

Also, in September, Megan's House opened Erin's House in Dracut, the organization’s first so-called Success Home which offers young women in recovery a safe and nurturing sober living environment for up to three years.

Up to eight residents at a time will live in Erin’s House, having completed the six to twelve month treatment program at Megan’s House in Lowell. The home is overseen by a director and house manager who offer round the clock support.

The new site was named after Erin Miller, who lost her battle with addiction in 2015.

“One of the challenges faced by people in recovery is finding quality housing after completing a treatment program,” said Robert Gignac, Megan House Foundation board chair. “With the opening of Erin’s House, our graduates maintain access to the valuable support network they’ve established while at Megan’s House.”