Posted Mar. 22, 2016 at 3:23 PM
The Jericho Road Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to community strengthening and development through talent-matching partnerships with professional volunteers, raised over $72,000 at its annual spring fundraising gala, Bridges to Change.
More than 200 local philanthropists, public officials, heads of business and finance, entertainers and other guests gathered in support of the event at the Nashawtuc Country Club on March 10.
“I am so happy to see the turnout for an extraordinarily effective program. Congratulations to everyone who works for the Jericho Road Project,” said Rep. Cory Atkins, who was in attendance.
Proceeds benefit Jericho Road Project’s work in Lowell and around the country. Since 2003, Jericho Road Project’s volunteer experts — strategic planners, marketers, IT experts and web designers — have helped nonprofits deliver stronger services to communities in Massachusetts and across the country. Currently, the Jericho Road Project serves almost 1 million people annually through affiliates in Roxbury, Worcester, Lowell and Lawrence, as well as in Texas and California.
Guests were treated to a film screening introduced by Amy Pessia, executive director of Merrimack Valley Food Bank, which centered around the vision and mission of Jericho Road Project in action.
“Jericho Road Project listened to our needs and tailored the volunteer match to our culture and the volunteers have been instrumental in helping with our needs assessment and strategic planning at a pivotal point in our organization’s history,” said Joe Hungler, executive director of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell. He appreciated the support which saved a significant amount of money and allowed them to take on projects that they may not have considered without Jericho Road Project’s support. Abdul Kamara, a youth community speaker relayed how the leadership team at Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell, gave him confidence to set aside a life that wasn’t going to help him achieve his goals, and he’s now on track to complete his college degree.
The event also featured recognition awards, and Dorothy Chen-Courtin accepted JRP’s Distinguished Service award. Chen-Courtin has served as chair of the board and has devoted her expertise on nonprofit management, bringing Jericho Road Project success and acclaim and a vision of national expansion. She said the award, “reinforced a sense of humility and a commitment to social justice.”
A second Distinguished Service award was presented to Margo Winslow, another board member who has chaired the fundraising efforts of Jericho Road Project.
“The enthusiastic support for Jericho Road Project by guests, funding institutions and individual donors reflects a deep and unwavering commitment to social justice work,” said Daniel Bush, national executive director. “Board co-chairs, Ben James and Sven Olson, bring an unprecedented moment in JRP’s history in its recognition of the valuable support to nonprofits with pro bono volunteer support and expand its vision, prescience and strategy to grow locally and nationally.”
Daniel Bush spotlighted longstanding patrons, including the Jericho Road Project Board, philanthropist Nancy Donahue and a growing list of key supporters namely NetScout, Enterprise Bank, UMass Lowell, UPS Foundation and Lowell Sun. These funders ensure that Jericho Road Project can provide support to nonprofit organizations.
A community service recognition award was presented to Tewksbury CPA firm Moody, Famiglietti and Andronico for their support of local nonprofit capacity building. MFA has played a role as a partner in Jericho Road Project’s Leadership Connection for years, hosting the event in Massachusetts and helped revamp the financial oversight curriculum.
After cocktails and dinner, guests competed for travel-themed live auction prizes: a stay at an apartment in Paris; lodging at a Kennebunkport cabin, paired with a lobster dinner on the beach; a murder mystery-themed novel tour of Charleston; a rugged trip to a Montana ranch; and a family lodge excursion to Trapp Family Resort. Other items included high-end dinners; Red Sox and golf sports packages; dinner with a local fire chief; and a chance for a child to ride to school in a police car.
The evening’s gala committee chairs included Debora Gardner Hussey and Halley P. McIlwain; committee members Joan Kennedy, Letitia Parker, Nancy Carey and Stephanie Tully; and Jericho Road Project staff.
“This occasion served as a celebration of JRP’s work and as a call to action, to rally around growth and expansion of our organization’s broad mission to bridge communities by matching professional talent of volunteers, promote community development, strengthen social service and change lives locally and nationally,” Bush said.