Eastburn of Family Success Partnership Honored

MetroWest Daily News

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) recently announced that Nicki Eastburn at the Family Success Partnership of the Assabet Valley Collaborative, a human services organization in Marlborough, has been selected as a finalist for the 2012 Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The awards are given each year to outstanding nonprofit organizations and professionals in the state as part of MNN’s Nonprofit Awareness Day, a statewide holiday recognizing the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts. A Brookline resident, Eastburn has been selected as a finalist for the Nonprofit Excellence Award in the Young Professional category for her work supporting the needs of children and their families in MetroWest through her role as director of community and family supports for the Family Success Partnership.

 

New Englanders stingy? Study says yes, but low donations ranking disputed

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

By Paula J. Owens

We may have good ole’ Yankee ingenuity and New England pride, but when it comes to charitable giving, a recently released study says New Englanders are just plain stingy.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s study on the generosity of Americans released last week found that residents in states where religious participation is high, especially in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity. In the Northeast, where there is generally lower religious participation, people gave the least to charities, the study found, with the six New England states falling to the bottom of the list among the 50 states.

According to the study, Massachusetts ranks 48 out of 51, which includes the District of Columbia, based on percentage of income for all contributions, including religious.

Churches are among the organizations counted as charities in the study and the religious practice of tithing — a practice that requires followers of a faith to contribute a certain percentage of the their income — may skew the numbers, but, interestingly, when only secular giving is considered, some of the states at the bottom of the list rise to the top.

Nonprofit organizations in Worcester County say they just aren’t seeing what the study suggests.

Ann T. Lisi, director of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation for 22 years who works with donors and nonprofits in the region, said people in the area are extremely generous. The nonprofits she works with may see ups and downs in their ability to raise money, but there are steady increases, she said, when you track donations long-term.

“Even despite difficult economic climates, people tend to give, and it increases year after year,” Ms. Lisi said. “It is not specifically tied to the economy or unemployment rate. It makes you think you can weather a storm.”

Looking at the generosity index that indicates giving as a percentage of a person’s capacity to give, if faith-based contributions to churches, mosques and synagogues are taken out of the equation, it changes the philanthropic landscape tremendously, and Massachusetts ranks 14 out of 51, which includes the District of Columbia, according to the study.

“If you factor out giving to one’s religious organization, New England and Massachusetts rise to the top again — just that in itself is a worthwhile statement,” she said. “It is an important variable to consider. Certainly we don’t want to feel bad about our region as ungenerous, and I find that very encouraging. It makes you feel better. We’re humans and we want to think of ourselves as generous people.”

William A. White, spokesman for the North Central Massachusetts United Way, says if volunteer hours were counted in the study, North Central Massachusetts would debunk the stats in the study.

“We have one of the largest Day of Caring in the state and our Community Builders volunteer center is remarkable,” Mr. White said. “North Central Massachusetts debunks the statistic in the study on the number of hours of volunteerism in the 19 communities in our territory.”

Additionally, he believes charitable giving is higher in the area than the study indicates.

“Based on our experience in North Central Massachusetts, the ranking seems low,” he said. “We’ve done extremely well with charitable giving in our communities. Folks are very giving.”

Warner S. Fletcher, who serves as a trustee or board member of more than a dozen family foundations and nonprofit organizations in Worcester, said the information in the study is nothing really new.

Factors that drive people to charitable giving are important factors to consider, says the 67-year-old attorney who grew up in one of the city’s leading philanthropic families. His mother’s charitable trust was one of the first established in Worcester and is one of the largest now. “There are a number of factors involved in why people give,” Mr. Fletcher said. “In New England, generally religion is not as all-encompassing as it is in other areas. For people living in Worcester, a lot of things are important to them in their lives, and their social network just isn’t the church, if they go. In terms of relative need of importance, the church is lower.”

For families who have lived in Worcester for two or three generations or more, they may choose to give to charities that invest in the community, he said.

“If only secular contributions are considered, states described as stingy come out pretty well,” he said. “But, a commitment to faith-based charities clearly does result in a higher percentage of giving.”

Raymond L. Delisle, spokesman for the Diocese of Worcester, said if anything people’s generosity has grown.

Though the church has not yet met its annual Partners in Charity goal of $5 million this year, Mr. Delisle said the church doesn’t feel it is a reflection of people’s generosity. In 2010, the church’s goal of $4.8 million was met, he said, but the goal was increased in 2011 and 2012 because of an increase in need resulting from the downturn in the economy.

“With the downturn in the economy, people who normally have participated have not been able to, and others who can afford to have stepped up to the plate and increased their gifts, and new donors keep coming,” he said. “The fact that we’re not hitting our highest goal ever in a difficult economy is not necessarily a reflection of generosity. We’ve had to set higher goals because of the greater need due to the bad economy — the same economy that has made it a struggle to raise higher than we’ve ever raised in the past.”

He added, “We still see a very generous donor base here in Central Massachusetts.”

With about a week left in the annual appeal, about 95 percent of the $5 million goal has been raised. The appeal is short by about $300,000.

“It has been fairly steady over the past six or more years. If anything, there has been an influx of new donors. The problem with national studies is they are looking at donations in isolation.”

Mr. Delisle said an interesting statistic would be to look at a combination of donations and taxes. Moreover, the study doesn’t really quantify the full generosity of people, such as helping out a neighbor where there is no tax relief involved.

“Where would Massachusetts be then in terms of the rest of the country?” he said. “In our state, we fund a lot programs through taxes that many states simply do not fund. They are expecting and their tradition is that churches and nonprofit organizations have been providing a lot of those services.”

In Massachusetts, he said, residents feel as though they provide a core set of social services through tax programs and look to the church and charitable organizations to catch the people who fall through those safety nets.

“Church organizations in particular, and certainly our own, run with very low overhead costs and the majority of donations go right to services and people are willing to support them,” he said. “The real issue for any individual boils down to the simple matter of if it is within their means to do the kind of good they want to be doing through a combination of donations and taxes. We leave it to everyone’s judgment on how to do it on their own.”

Maj. Thomas S. Babbitt, from Worcester’s Main Street Salvation Army church, said he feels that New Englanders are not stingy, but just more cautious where their money goes.

“I don’t really think the study reflects that northerners are stingier, just more careful where they put their money,” Maj. Babbit said. “I think our donors are aware of our mission and many give because they know we do not discriminate in delivering services to people in
need.”

Richard A. Jakious, chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network in Boston, said the study should be taken with a grain of salt.

There are more than 25,000 nonprofits in the state, he said, employing about 500,000 people or 16.7 percent of Massachusetts’ workforce.

“I don’t think that any nonprofit executive in Massachusetts is kept up at night worrying about how their fundraising compares to organizations in Utah,” Mr. Jakious said. “They’re thinking about how to improve the social safety net, care for our sick and elderly, and how to protect our environmental, cultural and historical treasures.”

He said all forms of philanthropy should be considered.

“New Englanders aren’t stingy by any measure — they give an abundance of their time, talent and treasure to nonprofit organizations,” he said. “But, we can do more and should see this study, not as an opportunity to divide and point fingers, but as a call to action.”

New Law Supports Donations from Former Mass. Residents

Republished with permission from massnonprofit.org

As of July 1, former Massachusetts residents who have established residency in other states can continue providing financial donations to nonprofit organizations in the Bay State without fear of tax penalties.

This language was included in the state’s fiscal year 2013 budget and resulted from a year-long advocacy effort led by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC). 

Specifically, this amendment updated Massachusetts revenue law to prohibit the Department of Revenue (DOR) from considering charitable contributions in determining residency for tax purposes. DOR previously followed only a guideline, and its ambiguity deterred many out-of-state philanthropists from continuing to make gifts to local charities.

“We are thankful to JCRC for championing this effort, which will help nonprofit organizations in the Commonwealth continue to grow and thrive,” said Barry Shrage, president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation.

Rick Jakious, executive director of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, the state’s nonprofit trade association, said, “The prior ambiguity led some lawyers and tax advisers to caution their out-of-state clients against making contributions in Massachusetts. This change makes it clear that donors can rest assured that contributing to their favorite Massachusetts nonprofits will not have adverse tax implications.”

Added Michael K. Durkin, president of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, “Charitable organizations are helping so many people in need – children who need high quality early learning experiences, youth who need support to stay in school and graduate, and families who struggle to be financially stable. Any donor who wants to make a contribution and an impact on important issues like these through the many high-performing, innovative organizations we have in Massachusetts can do so with assurance that their generosity will not impact their residency status.”

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network CEO’s Statement on Legislature’s Salary Reserve Override

 

BOSTON – Rick Jakious, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, released the following statement concerning the House and Senate’s unanimous override of Governor Deval Patrick’s veto of the Salary Reserve. This action maintains a $20 million Salary Reserve for direct care workers who provide essential services to residents of the Commonwealth.
“We congratulate and thank the human service organizations and workers, and legislators, who worked hard to make this override possible,” stated Jakious. “This is a significant accomplishment for the entire nonprofit sector because it is about fairness for thousands of front-line providers, whose salaries do not nearly match the importance of the work they do each day.”
About the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) is the voice of the entire nonprofit sector in Massachusetts. MNN was launched in 2007 to strengthen communities by serving nonprofit organizations through advocacy, public awareness and capacity building. MNN includes nearly 500 members, representing nonprofits in every part of Massachusetts, from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands.

 

 

Walmart gives Boston Children’s Hospital $779,000

Boston Globe

By Erin Ailworth

BOSTON- The philanthropic arm of Walmart Stores Inc. said Friday it will donate $779,000 to Boston Children’s Hospital, the latest in a series of generous donations to area charities that could bolster the Arkansas retail chain’s local reputation after several failed attempts to expand in the Boston market.

Since the beginning of the year, the Walmart Foundation has donated more than $900,000 to Greater Boston charities, including $50,000 to the Greater Boston Food Bank and $25,000 to Boston Medical Center. In addition, the mega­retailer provided $5 million in funding to a Brandeis University-run national program to place nearly 3,000 at-risk teens in part-time summer jobs across the country.

“Walmart is in many ways, as a corporation, taking a leadership role that the government used to take,” said Susan P. Curnan, director of the Center for Youth and Communities at Brandeis.

The chain intends to keep funding local charities even though it currently has no stores in Boston, according to Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo. “Because of our [existing] relationships in the city we will continue to evaluate programs to fund whether we have stores in the Boston area or not,” he said.

The grant to Children’s Hospital will fund patient care, research, family support services, and the Children’s Miracle Hospital Network’s Champions program. Every year, the program sends one child from each state — representing all children struggling with severe medical challenges — on a trip with his or her family to Washington, D.C., and a celebration event at Disney World. Each child also receives a $500 Walmart gift card.

Through such philanthropy, Walmart may be trying to improve its local image. It has been difficult for the chain to break into some Massachusetts communities — especially Boston, where Mayor Thomas M. Menino remains opposed to the retail giant’s presence.

Walmart had hoped to build one of its Neighborhood Market grocery outlets at a shuttered MBTA maintenance facility near Dudley Square — a location with few supermarket options. But city officials declined last year to endorse the plan, saying they were concerned how Walmart’s presence might hurt local businesses. Menino’s office declined to comment for this story, saying his views have been well publicized already.

And last month, Walmart abandoned plans for a 34,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market in Somerville and a 90,000-square-foot store in Watertown. Although the retailer had not submitted formal plans for either store, its proposals divided residents of both communities.

Walmart currently has 47 Supercenters and discount stores in Massachusetts, as well as two Sam’s Clubs.

There is also a Supercenter under construction in Raynham, and the company has plans to break ground on another store in Saugus in the fall. Despite the recent setbacks, Restivo said Walmart remains committed to expanding in Massachusetts and giving to worthy local causes.

“We continue to think our stores can be a part of the solution in the Greater Boston area,” Restivo said.

The retailer’s broad-based giving strategy is not unusual, said Rick Jakious, chief executive of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, a statewide association meant to strengthen local philanthropies. Many companies, no matter the size, have recognized that corporate giving is more effective when linked to business strategy because they can target issues and communities that matter to their customers.

Walmart’s sheer size, however, sets it apart.

“Walmart is a pretty unique company in that they can be a game-changer to anything from an individual local organization to an entire national issue, simply by virtue of their scope and scale,” Jakious said. “So when they put their commitment and their dollars and their employees’ time and energy behind something, they can make a difference in a meaningful way that not a lot of other companies can.”

Jakious was working at City Year Inc. in 2011 when the Boston community service group received a $3.2 million award from Walmart that “changed the trajectory and depth of knowledge” around what City Year was doing with its early literacy program, he said.

Greater Boston Food Bank chief executive Catherine D’Amato said Walmart’s support has been invaluable to her organization, which has received two trucks and roughly $85,000 from the retailer since 2009.

D’Amato is counting on that support to continue, both because the Greater Boston Food Bank is part of the national Feeding America effort that Walmart supports, and because of the retailer’s expansion goals. “We still have their attention,” she said. “The New England market, as you know, is a very desirable market. It’s one of the few remaining locations for a company, a box store, the size of Walmart to penetrate.”

While he recognizes the good that Walmart’s charitable giving can do, Russ Davis, executive director of workers’ rights group Massachusetts Jobs with Justice said that he remains cautious of Walmart’s growing local presence.

“They’re going to give money to groups strategically in order to create a good impression,” Davis said. “Our concern is that it not be used as a commercial weapon. Groups shouldn’t feel pressured.”

State-Run Pensions for Private-Sector Employees Proposed

Governing Magazine

By Dylan Scott

It’s a new twist in the government-pension conversation: some states are considering government-run retirement plans for private-sector employees.

The idea has been raised in at least 12 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Wisconsin lawmakers are expected to introduce a proposal in the near future, the (Madison) Capitol Times reported Tuesday.

Massachusetts is the only state so far to pass a policy, although its scope is limited: non-profit workers at firms with 20 employees or fewer. The California Senate approved a much broader bill in May, and it is now working through various Assembly committees.

An important note: these proposals do not ask for taxpayer money to be given to private retirement plans. Rather, the state government (instead of the private employer) is responsible for collecting employee contributions and contracting financial advisers to manage the accounts.

The concept is fairly new. Maryland was the first state to introduce so-called “voluntary accounts” legislation in 2006, according to NCSL. Lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts have proposed bills this year.

The impetus for these proposals is likely two-fold, Ron Snell, senior fellow at NCSL, tells Governing. The economic downturn gutted existing private retirement plans and hampered the ability of businesses to offer them. A 2011 survey by the AARP found that more than half of Americans over 50 were somewhat or very uncomfortable with their retirement savings. NPR reported in 2010 that the nation’s combined 401K and IRA value had dropped by $2 trillion at the worst point of the recession.

“The concern is the substantial number of private-sector workers who are covered by no retirement plan except Social Security,” Snell says. “Because of the expense, private-sector designed plans might not be particularly attractive in a small work environment, even if they could be offered.”

In addition to the faltering economy, the idea has also been floated more often in states with a strong union presence. “It’s supported in part by public-sector unions,” Snell says, “because I think they see this as a way of assauging some of the sense of deprivation that private-sector workers have related to public-sector pension plans.”

David Adkins, executive director of the Council of State Governments, compares growing state interest in the concept to health-care reform. States are hoping in getting in front of what could become a greater problem. “Some legislators are looking at a variety of factors—we have an aging population, and it is not predicted that Social Security will be viable or properly funded as a safety net,” he says. “Therefore, some think this could provide some level of secruity for aging seniors. They’re thinking: ‘Let’s plan now.'”

The proposals do differ, but follow a generally similar structure. Here’s how it will work in Massachusetts: the state treasurer’s office will create a trust that will receive pension contributions from non-profit employers and employees. The plan is a defined-contribution model, and the treasurer’s office will manage it separately from the $5 billion public-employee pension fund. But given the size of the assets that the office already oversees, the relatively small addition of the non-profit accounts is expected to have minimal administrative costs.

Non-profit workers make up about 14 percent of the Massachusetts workforce, according to the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, which supported the legislation, and only one in five of those workers receive retirement benefits through their employer.

“In too many cases, non-profits simply haven’t had the resources to administer an affordable deferred compensation plan for their employees, resulting in countless people being isolated from a safe and secure retirement,” Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman, a supporter of the bill, said in a statement. “Non-profit workers provide important services that reach underprivileged and struggling segments of our population, and this new law will incent thousands of people to continue that critical work.”

The California bill, which passed the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security last week and was referred to the Appropriations Committee, would institute a broader program. The California Secure Choice Savings Trust would be available to any private employers with five employees or more. Its board would be headed by the State Treasurer. As in Massachusetts, the trust would follow a defined-contribution model, and controls would be in place to ensure that its administration came at minimal cost to the state and that the state would not be liable for paying any benefits to its enrollees.

The legislation’s authors cited research by the University of California-Berkeley, which found that nearly 50 percent of state residents retire at or near the poverty line. Another study by UC-Berkeley concluded that 6.3 million Californians currently do not receive retirement benefits through their work.

The bill “addresses this population by providing them a portable and reliable retirement plan that will serve as a modest supplement to Social Security,” State Sen. Kevin de Leòn, one of its primary sponsors, said in a statement. “If we don’t offer this, most of these people will retire into poverty putting a further strain on our already scarce public resources.”

Similar factors have led Wisconsin lawmakers to develop their own proposal in recent weeks, according to the Capitol Times, although no bill has been formally introduced yet. State Sen. Dave Hansen, who has taken an active interest in the issue, told the newspaper that the state investment board has averaged a 10.6 percent return on investment for retirement plans over the last three decades—a record that eclipses many private peers.

June report by the Pew Center on the States concluded that Wisconsin had the most fiscally healthy public pension system. That finding, Hansen told the Times, has convinced him that the state has something to offer its privately employed constituents.

“This is an opportunity to open it up to other people and have a well-managed, secure fund,” Hansen said. “Fewer people feel confident these days that their retirement money will be there.”

Three Boston Nonprofits Honored for Excellence, Including a Project Involving the Hyde Square Task Force

Jamaica Plain Patch

By Cate Lecuyer and Chris Helms

Boston– The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network honored three Boston organizations Monday with Excellence Awards as part of the fourth annual Nonprofit Awareness Day.

The State House ceremony recognizes nonprofits that stand out as playing a critical role in strengthening the Commonwealth, and the Boston organizations were among seven winners chosen. The local organizations are:

“Nonprofits enrich our communities, our economy, and our lives in countless ways,” said Rick Jakious, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

Jamaica Plain is an epicenter of the non-profit sector, with more than 200 non-profits based in the neighborhood.

The winners were chosen from 14 finalists, and selected by a committee of leaders from across the state. Treasurer Steve Grossman was also honored as the Public Official of the Year, specifically for his support of the nonprofit retirement bill, which establishes a retirement plan for nonprofit employees.

“The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network,” Grossman said, “has had a dramatic impact on our state’s quality of life since it was created just a few years ago.”

Other organizations that received Excellence Awards included

  • MotherWoman, Amherst, Advocacy;
  • School for Field Studies, Beverly, Communications;
  • Dorcas Grigg-Saito, Lowell Community Health Center, Lowell, Leadership;
  • Nicki Eastburn, Assabet Valley Collaborative/Family Success Partnership, Young Nonprofit Professional

Three Boston Nonprofits Honored for Excellence

Back Bay Patch

by Cate Lecuyer

Boston-The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network honored three Boston organizations Monday with Excellence Awards as part of the fourth annual Nonprofit Awareness Day.

The State House ceremony recognizes nonprofits that stand out as playing a critical role in strengthening the Commonwealth, and the Boston organizations were among seven winners chosen. The local organizations are:

  • Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project, a three-year project funded by Raw Art Works in Lynn that collaborates with Boston youth arts organizations including: ZumixThe Theater OffensiveMedicine Wheel Productions, and the Hyde Square Task Force. Honored for collaboration.

“Nonprofits enrich our communities, our economy, and our lives in countless ways,” said Rick Jakious, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

The winners were chosen from 14 finalists, and selected by a committee of leaders from across the state. Treasurer Steve Grossman was also honored as the Public Official of the Year, specifically for his support of the nonprofit retirement bill, which establishes a retirement plan for nonprofit employees.

“The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network,” Grossman said, “has had a dramatic impact on our state’s quality of life since it was created just a few years ago.”

Other organizations that received Excellence Awards included

  • MotherWoman, Amherst, Advocacy;
  • School for Field Studies, Beverly, Communications;
  • Dorcas Grigg-Saito, Lowell Community Health Center, Lowell, Leadership;
  • Nicki Eastburn, Assabet Valley Collaborative/Family Success Partnership, Young Nonprofit Professional

Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project Honored as 2012 Excellence in Collaboration Award Winner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

Adrienne Langlois, Communications Manager
Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
617-330-1188 x285, alanglois@massnonprofitnet.org

 

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network has announced that the Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project (BYAEP), led by Raw Art Works, a youth and arts education organization in Lynn, has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Excellence in Collaboration Award. The Excellence Awards are given each year to outstanding nonprofit organizations and professionals in the Commonwealth as part of MNN’s Nonprofit Awareness Day, a statewide holiday recognizing the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts.

The Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project was selected for the Nonprofit Excellence Award in Collaboration for its creation of an unprecedented assessment process for youth arts programming. With funding for youth arts programs declining, Raw Art Works collaborated with Zumix, The Theater Offensive, Medicine Wheel Productions, and the Hyde Square Task Force to create BYAEP to develop and pilot specific tools to measure tangible impact areas of youth arts programs. BYAEP redesigned existing programs and created a handbook for its measurement standards that has been distributed nationally.  It also created new programs to more effectively influence the lives of youth through exposure to the arts, which has created more meaningful ties to their community and a positive outlet for youth creativity and self-discovery. Through efficient and creative collaboration, BYAEP has tailored a process to construct and assess quality arts programming for Boston area youth.

Excellence Award winners were nominated by community members and their peers and are selected by an independent panel of nonprofit leaders. This year, MNN received 122 Nonprofit Excellence Award nominations.

“Nonprofits enrich our communities, our economy, and our lives in countless ways,” said Rick Jakious, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. “Nonprofit Awareness Day is an opportunity to recognize the critical role the sector plays in strengthening the Commonwealth and celebrate seven organizations that stand out as examples of excellence in the sector.”

Nonprofit Excellence Award Finalists and winners were celebrated at 2012 Nonprofit Awareness Day celebration at the Massachusetts State House on June 11. Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and Speaker Robert DeLeo served as Honorary Co-Chairs of the event and the event was emceed by NECN Anchor Kristy Lee. View the other winners at bit.ly/NPAD2012.

 

About the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) is the voice of the entire nonprofit sector in Massachusetts.  MNN was launched in 2007 to strengthen communities by serving nonprofit organizations through advocacy, public awareness and capacity building. MNN includes nearly 500 members, representing nonprofits in every part of Massachusetts, from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands. For more information, visit www.massnonprofitnet.org.

 

 

 

Awareness Day Honors Outstanding Nonprofits

Republished with permission from massnonprofit.org

Boston– The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, the state’s nonprofit trade association, yesterday cited seven organizations as exemplifying excellence in a number of practice areas in connection with Nonprofit Awareness Day, a statewide holiday recognizing the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts.

Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. President Therese Murray, and Speaker Robert DeLeo served as honorary co-chairs of the annual event, which was emceed by NECN Anchor Kristy Lee.

Excellence Award finalists and winners were nominated by community members and their peers and selected by an independent panel of nonprofit leaders. This year, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) received 122 nominations for the awards.

Named 2012 Nonprofit Excellence Award winners were the following:

  • Advocacy Excellence Award: MotherWoman (Amherst) for affecting significant public policy change through the education and mobilization of constituents, the general public, and or public policy decision-makers.

  • Board Leadership Excellence Award: Friday Night Supper Program (Boston) for exemplifying best practices in board governance and effectively partnering with staff, resulting in improved outcomes and/or increased resources.
  • Collaboration Excellence Award: The Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project (Boston and Lynn) for partnering to achieve an outcome that furthers the mission of each organization and could not have been achieved separately.
  • Communications Excellence Award: The School for Field Studies (Beverly) for effectively using new and/or traditional media to increase the use of programs and services, or to create awareness of a specific issue or need.
  • Innovation Excellence Award: Families United in Educational Leadership (Boston) for making substantial progress toward key outcomes through the use of new approaches or strategies.
  • Leadership Excellence Award: Dorcas Grigg-Saito, Lowell Community Health Center(Lowell) for the strategic vision, passion, perseverance, and collaborative style that has led to extraordinary organizational or programmatic results.
  • Young Nonprofit Professional Excellence Award: Nicki Eastburn, Assabet Valley Collaborative/Family Success Partnership (Marlborough) for the strategic vision, passion, perseverance, and collaborative style that has led to extraordinary organizational or programmatic results

“With the public too often unaware of the critical contribution that nonprofits provide for the Commonwealth and the media periodically drawing attention to some negative perceptions about the nonprofit sector, it is important for us to highlight all the good work that nonprofits do for the Commonwealth,” said Rick Jakious, MNN’s chief executive.

The organization named Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman as Public Official of the Year.