In my post of 11/29 about the Celebrate Giving philanthropy event of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, set for 12/6, I listed the many Philanthropist Level Sponsors of the event but somehow missed acknowledging the prime event sponsor, Enterprise Bank (EB). My apology to the folks at Enterprise Bank and GLCF for the omitting the one business in that category of giving. Scroll down and look for older posts to see the 11/29 original, now corrected, post.
A friend called my attention to an editorial in today’s Globe, noting a Lowell connection. Whatever your take on the editorial about the history of philanthropy for arts, culture, education and other civic charity in Boston and beyond, it was nice to have the name of the Behrakis family noted among the 25,000 contributors who raised over $500 million for the MFA. The Behrakis family’s charitable largesse is well-known in the Lowell/Greater Lowell community, in the Greek cultural and religious communities- locally and nationally, in higher education and more. The editorial notes the giving style and intent of the Brahmins of the past and the civic and personal philanthropy of today’s donors.
More than 25,000 people and businesses contributed to raise $504 million, of which $345 million went to the new wing. With its 53 galleries of differing shapes and sizes, the Art of the Americas wing manages to feel intimate, but its impact on Boston’s premier museum is grand. It stands as a statement that even institutions whose greatest treasures were amassed decades ago can grow in size and spirit. The same can be said of the city around it, where titans like Bank of America and State Street Bank, and families with names as varied as Linde, Shapiro, Alfond, Behrakis, and Logie — all of whom gave more than $10 million — have taken on the fundraising role once played by the old Brahmins of Beacon Hill.
Boston’s civic institutions, including the MFA, are the physical expression of the city’s pride. The library, museum, and symphony arose in part through the determination of individual Bostonians that their city should be second to none in the world. The names of those great patrons, from George Ticknor to Henry Lee Higginson, are distant echoes, but their pride is visible every day on the streets of the city. The same will be true of those who support today’s civic improvements.
Agree or not with the editorial, philanthropy is alive in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - though different in this economy. These donors in their generosity support the over 35,000 entities in the state’s non-profit sector. This sector – although challenged - represents an important part of the state’s economy whether through the money given away or expended, the services provided or the large workforce.
Read the full Globe editorial – ”21st-century public spirit” here.
Lowell is a generous community. You can say the same for the region: Greater Lowell and the Greater Merrimack Valley. The people, businesses, organizations, foundations, and institutions give and give to those in need and to important causes that benefit many of us. Here are a few upcoming fund-raising events from my mailbox this week.—PM
The Paul Center for Learning and Recreation, Inc. “A Celebration of Giving: A Taste Extravaganza.” Friday, Sept 24, 7 pm, Chelmsford Elks, 300 Littleton Road, Chelmsford. For details, visit www.thepaulcenter.org
“An Appreciation Reception for State Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos.” The Steven C. Panagiotakos Charity Foundation, Inc. Thursday, Sept. 30, 5.30 to 9 pm. Proceeds to benefit the restoration of the Way of the Cross and Grotto at the Franco American School in Lowell and restoration of the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC. Meadow Creek Golf Course, 5 Clubhouse Lane (off Rt. 113), Dracut. SCPC Foundation, 191 Sanders Ave., Lowell.
“A Special Place in Lowell’s History: Come Celebrate the 250th Birthday of the Spalding House.” Thursday, Sept. 30, 6.30 to 9 pm. Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust. Proceeds to benefit the Spalding House Endowment so the house will be here for its 500th birthday. The Spalding House, 383 Pawtucket Street, Lowell. For details, visit www.lowelllandtrust.org
“James McNeill Whistler Distinguished Artist Award for Mico Kaufman.” Sunday, October 17, 4 to 9 pm. An exhibition opening at the Whistler House Museum of Art, 243 Worthen Street, Lowell, and award dinner at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren Street. For details, visit www.whistlerhouse.org
The NYT today has an update on the Bill and Melinda Gates/Warren Buffet trolling-for-billionaires initiative. They are having a great deal of success in getting people to pledge to give at least half of their riches to charity. Read the article here, and consider buying a copy of the NYT if you appreciate the reporting.
Earlier this evening I attended the Annual Meeting of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. As an early advocate and a founding member of the Community Foundation along with Dick Donahue, Peter Stamas, Mary Bacigalupo, George Duncan and others – I have a special interest in the Foundation. I’m happy to report that the GLCF has over $20 million in assets – a remarkable achievement in these financial times – up from $16.8 million in 2009. New contributions totaled over $3 million and thirty-five non-profit agencies have an endowed fund with the foundation.
In May $175,000 was distributed in Lowell High School Scholarship to 178 graduating seniors. Later this year the foundation – in the annual fall grant cycle – expects to award through its Distribution Committee nearly $99,000 in a new grants program and will again host a “Celebrate Giving” event in October.
Executive Director John Thibault - on a medical leave – attended the meeting and spoke highly of Charles Wibiralske the interim director who has years of experience in development and philanthropy. John hopes to be back at the helm soon with Mr. Wibiralske staying on as his deputy for development. Expect a continued and aggressive presence of the Community Foundation in Greater Lowell, the Merrimack Valley and all communities in the foundation catchment area.
My congratulations to newly elected Greater Lowell Community Foundation President Steven Joncas who succeeds Luis Pedroso and other officers: Vice-President Lori Trahan, Treasurer James C. Shannon, III CPA, Assistant Treasurer Brian J. Stafford, CPA and Clerk Attorney Annemarie Roark. Stay tuned for more on the activities of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. Learn more about the GLCF here on its website.