2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Celebrated for Effect on Nonprofit Sector and Local Community

nam, beth, ellen, rick

Nam Pham, Ellen Bass and Rick Jakious present Beth Smith with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

From the heartfelt stories of appreciation and two booming standing ovations from the crowd, the impact of Beth Smith, Executive Director of the Hyams Foundation, on the nonprofit sector rang loud and clear during yesterday’s presentation of MNN’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ellen Bass, Director, Boston Capacity Tank at the Black Ministerial Alliance, one of the nonprofit leaders who presented Beth with the award, lauded Beth’s commitment to diversity and her thoughtful and effective leadership. She also credited Beth with helping her grow personally and professionally: “When was the last time you were able to say ‘this foundation not only supported my organization, they helped me be a better person.’”

Nam Pham, Executive Director of VietAID, who was also on stage to present the award, spoke of the Beth’s longstanding commitment to Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, noting that when everyone else thought that the Fields Corner neighborhood was a “lost cause,” Beth and the Hyams Foundation rose to the challenge.

“Over the past 20 years, Dorchester, one of the most diverse and struggling area of Boston in the 1980’s, has transformed into a more vibrant, safe, and even more diverse neighborhood,” said Nam. “This wonderful transformation from a place to be avoided into one of the best neighborhoods in America is thanks to the support of Beth Smith and Hyams.”

Beth, who was clearly touched by the tributes from both Ellen and Nam, expressed gratitude towards nonprofit leaders, “I have had the incredible privilege of working with amazing nonprofit leaders. Foundations may have the money, but we’d be absolutely nothing without you all (nonprofits).”

She also discussed the need for funders and nonprofits to work together to effect real change noting that “philanthropy has evolved and has focused on how we can make the greatest impact together.”

It was clear yesterday that Beth’s strategy as a funder stems from a deep and humble understanding of the relationship between Hyams and the foundation’s grantees:  “I may not be able to walk in your shoes, but I’d like to walk closely alongside you.”

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network is proud to honor Beth Smith for her work improving communities throughout Boston.  As Rick Jakious, MNN CEO noted yesterday, we believe “the projects that Beth and Hyams take on are successful because of dedication, compassion, and hard work.”