ABCD Honors Five 50-Year Partnerships at November Gala

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 10, 2019                                  

Cherrelle Norris
617.348.6224 (office)
617.455.7212 (mobile)

Lee Phenner
339.368.1140 (mobile)


ABCD Community Heroes Celebration to Honor Five 50-Year Partnerships

that have served millions of low-income people in Greater Boston

Marking a rare collaboration, ABCD honors Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Boston Public Schools, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Greater Boston Labor Council & Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and the NAACP, Boston Branch for 50 years of service on ABCD Board of Directors

UPDATE: Six-time Tony®, Grammy® and Emmy® Award winner Audra McDonald will be in concert
and conversation with celebrated director and
Boston native DeMane Davis

(BOSTON, MA) – Extraordinary volunteers are at the heart of ABCD’s 2019 Community Heroes Celebration on November 8th (abcdheroes.org). Along with honoring individuals, the anti-poverty organization will also recognize five organizations that have served on its Board of Directors since 1969. ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) serves more than 100,000 under-served and at-risk children, adults, elders, and families each year. These five organizations have contributed to board business with vision and dedication, vastly improving the lives literally of millions of Bostonians through the decades.
ABCD is part of the Community Action Network, created with the passage of the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act. The Act was a sweeping plan to improve the lives of all Americans, regardless of their circumstances. As a community action agency, ABCD has a tripartite board structure consisting of members from the local private sector, public sector, and low income community. Consequently, leaders from each of these groups collaborate on developing responses to local needs for our most underserved and at-risk neighbors.
“Those were inspiring but challenging days. The City of Boston faced an uncertain economic outlook, racial tension, and all the social stresses of the nineteen-sixties. In joining ABCD’s Board of Directors, these five dedicated organizations – Associated Industries of Massachusetts; Boston Public Schools,
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; Greater Boston Labor Council & Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and the NAACP, Boston Branch — committed to a shared vision of Boston’s future that would provide opportunity for all. The historic partnership has become stronger as it has evolved, and it remains a vital collaboration to this day,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew.
“The mission and relevance of ABCD is as strong today as it was in 1969. The NAACP Boston Branch will continue to work alongside ABCD to help ensure that we meet the immediate needs of low income families, while also fighting against the root causes of poverty through robust advocacy for equity centric economic policies,” said Tanisha M. Sullivan, Esq. President, NAACP, Boston Branch.
“AIM’s participation on the ABCD Board of Directors these last 50 years has kept the lines of communication open between ABCD’s workforce development efforts and Massachusetts employers’ needs for skilled and diverse staff. The economic base may have shifted from manufacturing to services over the years, but the importance of keeping the region’s economic engine moving and opening the door to opportunity remains a constant. We are proud to partner with ABCD and look forward to our continued collaboration,” said John Regan, President & CEO, Associated Industries of Massachusetts.
At this year’s Community Heroes Celebration, whose theme is “Illuminate the Path,” ABCD will recognize the contributions of 22 outstanding community heroes. These volunteers work daily to uplift their communities by helping children, adults, elders and families overcome the oppression and struggles of poverty.
Executives from the five organizations that have served on ABCD’s Board of Directors for 50 years will join a special tribute showcasing the positive impact of these uncommon partnerships on the people and communities of Greater Boston.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM)
John Regan, President & CEO
Focused on economic opportunity and job growth, AIM is the state’s preeminent employer association, serving the needs of all types of employers through public policy advocacy, resources and community. In 1969, J. Thomas Cathcart served as its first ABCD Board member. Over the years, illustrious representatives have included Gilbert Richter, Brian Gilmore, and the late Mark Nuccio. Today, Celia Grant serves with distinction.
Boston Public Schools
Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Superintendent
As the nation’s birthplace of public education, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. In 1969, Alice F. Casey served as its first ABCD Board member. Over the years, illustrious representatives have included Arthur Garland, Albert Holland, Robert C. Hayden, and Kenneth G. Caldwell. Today, Samuel DePina serves with distinction.
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
James E. Rooney, President & CEO
An independent nonprofit organization that is the convener, voice and advocate for the region’s business community, the GBCC’s mission centers on helping its members and Greater Boston succeed. Robert H. Gardiner and Frederick A. Ritchie were exemplary representatives on the ABCD Board.  Over the years, illustrious representatives have included Paul La Camera, Ronald A. Homer, and Ernest F. Stockwell. Today, Patricia Washington serves with distinction as board treasurer.
Greater Boston Labor Council & Massachusetts AFL-CIO
Louis Mandarini, Jr., President
Chartered by the National AFL-CIO, the Greater Boston Labor Council’s mission is to improve the lives of working families within the 24 communities in its jurisdiction. The organization advocates for working family issues and seeks to advance the cause of economic justice. In 1969, Matthew F. Ryan served as its first ABCD Board member. Over the years, illustrious representatives have included leaders from the taxi and painters unions. Today, Collique Williams serves with distinction.
NAACP, Boston Branch
Tanisha Sullivan, Esq, President
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality and rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination. In 1969, Kenneth Guscott served as its first ABCD Board member. Over the years, illustrious representatives have included David Hinds, Mel King, Leon Nelson, and former Tuskegee Airman Vernon K. Sport. Today, Marvin Venay serves with distinction.
The ABCD Community Heroes Celebration will feature six-time Tony®, Grammy® and Emmy® award winning singer and actress Audra McDonald on Friday, November 8th, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Ave, Boston . The evening kicks off with a Social Hour at 6 p.m., Dinner and Program at 7 p.m. (More at abcdheroes.org.)
“We are also elated to welcome the dynamic singer, actress, and philanthropist Audra McDonald in concert and in conversation with an accomplished young director, Boston’s own DeMane Davis. Ms.
McDonald is not only a world renowned artist, but also a passionate advocate for social and economic justice and homeless youth. Her selfless commitment to community parallels the work of the Community Heroes we are honoring.” Drew said.
The evening is about acknowledging those who inspire others by selflessly giving of themselves. These community heroes are exceptionally committed to taking action to impact those around them. By serving those in need and providing them with tools and means, these heroes turn a flicker of hope into a flame of opportunity and fulfillment for years to come. By sharing their light, they Illuminate the Path for others.
With a mission to help underserved people and communities transition from poverty to stability to success — through advocacy and collaboration with local leaders, politicians, businesses, and of course the humble heroes among us — ABCD provides a ladder upward to overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers and to seize opportunity.
For more information about the event tickets and sponsorship, please contact Liz Gillis at 617-348-6244 or elizabeth.gillis@bostonabcd.org, and visit abcdheroes.org.
About ABCD
ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) provides low income residents in the Boston and Mystic Valley areas with the tools, support, and resources they need to transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Each year, we serve more than 100,000 individuals, elders and families through a broad range of innovative initiatives as well as long-established, proven programs and services. For more than 50 years, ABCD has been deeply rooted in each neighborhood we serve, empowering individuals and families and supporting them in their quest to live with dignity and achieve their highest potential. For more, please visit bostonabcd.org.