2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network is proud to honor Beth Smith, Executive Director of the Hyams Foundation for more than 20 years, with its 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented at MNN’s annual conference on October 29.

A respected leader in the nonprofit sector and in philanthropy, Beth is known for her commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as her innovative BethSmithCroppedOutlineapproaches and willingness to take risks; her peers credit her with the growth and success of many local nonprofits and communities. It’s also been noted that her intelligence and intuition is matched only by her compassion.

“Beth is the consummate servant leader which is reflected in the deliberate approach you see across Hyams and all of its grantees,” said Rick Jakious, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. “We’re thrilled to honor Beth and recognize her personal achievements as well as the model of thoughtful, effective nonprofit and philanthropic partnership she has brought to the sector.”

“Beth’s commitment to the community is unparalleled in the foundation space,” said Mark Culliton, CEO of College Bound Dorchester. “Her willingness to take on risks and challenging assignments has been a powerful force in Boston.”

“Our relationship with Hyams and their staff has been about a true partnership  based on trust and mutual respect for each other’s commitment to social change and justice in the communities we represent. Beth is that special individual who you are not afraid to call …She will listen to you and … lead you through those hard times in the most simple and powerful way. In Chelsea Collaborative’s toughest times she has led us to the top and I and the residents of Chelsea will forever be grateful to Hyams… – Gladys Vega, Executive Director, Chelsea Collaborative.

Beth has provided guidance to numerous major collaborative funding initiatives in Boston in the affordable housing, community development, childcare, after-school care, immigrant services, and organizational diversity and effectiveness areas.

Under Beth’s leadership, Hyams was an early funder of Chelsea-based Roca and played an integral role in the organization’s evolution and success.  “The critical support from Hyams at key moments in Roca’s history—from the very beginning to our recent pay for success program—helped Roca grow to the organization it is today,” said Molly Baldwin, Founder and CEO of the nonprofit.

Hyams has also played an important role in the development of the city’s Dorchester neighborhood. “Over the past 20 years, Dorchester, one of the most diverse and struggling area of Boston in 1980’s, has transformed into a more vibrant, safe, and even more diverse neighborhood,” said Nam Pham, Executive Director, Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. “This wonderful transformation from a  place to be avoided into a business and cultural destination could not have happened without the consistent investment of Hyams Foundation or the vision of its Executive Director Beth Smith.  As a tiny grass-root community development corporation,  VietAID is forever grateful for her guidance, support, and encouragement over the past two decades.” 

Jeff Poulos, Executive Director of Associated Grant Makers, has been inspired by Beth’s significant contributions to the sector and her deep generosity in sharing her knowledge: “When I entered the field of philanthropy I turned to a select number of colleagues for counsel. Beth has been at the forefront of this group, providing advice when asked, and always with warmth and honesty.”

Beth has led the Hyams Foundation since 1990. It is a private, independent foundation founded in 1921 with a mission of increasing social and economic justice and power within low-income communities in Boston and Chelsea. Last year, the foundation distributed $5,368,100 in grants.

Each year, as part of its annual conference, MNN honors a nonprofit leader for decades of innovation and spirit. Past Lifetime Achievement Award winners include Charles Rucks, Bill Walczak, Rev. Ray A. Hammond and Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, Fran Froelich, and Kip Tiernan.

 Click here to attend the conference and award presentation.