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The City of Worcester, having demonstrated a strong commitment to arts & culture, has partnered with Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Worcester Cultural Coalition to develop a Worcester Cultural Plan. With funding by the Barr Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Worcester Cultural Coalition, the city of Worcester has signaled its commitment to this important endeavor.
The Cultural Plan is a foundational document for municipal cultural planning and service delivery in Worcester. It will enable the City to take full advantage of the opportunities for quality of life and economic development that a robust arts, culture and creative sector can bring, will provide the City with a clear direction regarding its arts and cultural resources, and will contribute to the realization of the city’s Master Plan and Strategic Plan.
“Arts and culture are essential to the success and vibrancy of any city not only because they create jobs and drive economies, but also because of what the arts and creative sector contributes to residents’ quality of life,” said Edward M. Augustus Jr., Worcester City Manager. “This plan, when paired with Worcester’s Master Plan and Strategic Plan will enrich the efforts of the city, the region, local businesses, corporations, nonprofits and individuals who work in and are a part of the local arts and humanities sector.”
Already making an impact through its first round of grants, the Foundation’s Creative Worcester Initiative, funded by the Barr Foundation, was singled out by city officials for its success in engaging local organizations to identify Worcester’s distinctive arts and cultural resources and invest in these assets to enhance the city’s quality of life.
The preliminary themes drafted for the Cultural Plan include:
1) Public realm and infrastructure design/activation: Building a city with attractive, active and connected public spaces that support multiple forms of mobility and cultural expression.
2) Diversity, equity and inclusion: Embracing cultural and creative expressions and ways of life meaningful to all Worcester residents while generating equitable opportunity and access to resources.
3) Creativity and innovation: Providing resources and a supportive environment for creative exploration across all sectors of the community.
4) Internal and external community image : Identifying and fostering a creative, healthy image of the city to both residents and visitors.
5) Youth and family engagement: Creating a vibrant arts and culture scene which encourages children and families to participate.
“As the Foundation has already shown with its Creative Spark and Creative Engagement grant making programs, the development of the Cultural Plan is only the first step towards refocusing the ways in which the City invests in arts and culture,” said Ann T. Lisi, President and CEO of Greater Worcester Community Foundation. “As the city enters into unprecedented economic growth, this plan will only further build upon the immense creative talents and resources that make up our community and make it equitable for everyone.”
“A public survey has been issued to encourage all Worcester residents and those who work in Worcester to lift their ideas as to how arts, culture and creativity can support a city that is vibrant, inclusive, and engaging,” noted Erin I. Williams, Cultural Development Officer of the city and Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition. The Cultural Plan Survey is available at www.worcesterculture.org .
A Cultural Advisory Committee will meet in late October to discuss initial findings regarding the plan with the intention of the Cultural Plan being shared with city officials by the end of 2018.
The Leadership Worcester Class of 2019 is an impressive group. Recently selected from a pool of 60 applicants, this fourth cohort is united by a desire to learn about their community and take an active role in its betterment. Members of the Class of 2019 bring unique perspectives, diverse cultural backgrounds, and experience in an array of industry sectors. In September, they will embark on a nine-month experiential learning program designed to prepare and propel them.
Leadership Worcester was re-established in 2015 and is co-sponsored by Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. Its curriculum is developed with the aid of local leaders who bring insights on critical public policy issues impacting Central Massachusetts. The programs’ day-long sessions allow participants to explore these issues, propose solutions, and connect with others equally committed to Worcester’s advancement.
The Class of 2019 will join the 75+ professionals who now make up Leadership Worcester’s alumni network have become thinkers and doers contributing to the region’s civic, economic, and cultural growth.
“You’ll find alumni serving on boards and committees, engaging on the decision-making level, and even returning as session designers for Leadership Worcester,” said Ann Lisi, president and CEO, Greater Worcester Community Foundation. “They have honed their talents and they aren’t hesitating to share them. We - the Worcester public - are the ultimate beneficiaries, as we are sure to enjoy what’s to come as these individuals step to the helm.”
Members of the Leadership Worcester Class of 2019 as of August 1 are:
“The support of many individuals, companies, and organizations makes Leadership Worcester a success. From the employers who encourage their staff to take part, to the companies who allow us to learn from them, collaboration makes it possible and speaks to the cooperative spirit of our community,” said Timothy P. Murray, president and CEO, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.”
For more information about Leadership Worcester visit www.leadershipworcester.com.
The Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of the 14th annual Renaissance Award as Gordon Hargrove, Executive Director of Friendly House. The winner was announced today during the Foundation’s annual meeting held at Mechanics Hall, where it also released its 2017 financial results and elected new directors and corporators.
With an operating budget of over $4.8 million, Friendly House provides comprehensive coordinated neighborhood basic services to inner-city families in Worcester. Gordon Hargrove has been with Friendly House for more than 60 years since joining as a volunteer in 1957. He would go onto become Program Director in 1964 and then Executive Director in 1969. Hargrove has been described by his colleagues as instrumental in adapting the focus of Friendly House to meet the ever-changing needs of the citizens of Worcester. Over the decades, he has helped open facilities and shelters, initiated important programming to lift families out of poverty, and established invaluable partnerships with other nonprofits and organizations to ensure low-income Worcester residents receive the care they need. Hargrove’s generosity extends into all aspects of his life, from shoveling driveways of disabled residents to making after-hours calls to ensure shelter placement for the homeless.
“Thousands of low-income families in Worcester have been impacted by Gordon’s leadership and dedication over the decades that he has been involved with Friendly House,” said Ann T. Lisi, president & CEO of the Foundation. “His tireless commitment to serving the Worcester community has demonstrated the utmost merit to be this year’s winner of our Renaissance Award.”
The Renaissance Award is a cash prize of $5,000 awarded annually by the Foundation to recognize the exceptional talent and dedication of those who lead nonprofits in our area. It was established as an endowed prize through a gift by the late John W. Lund to show the community’s appreciation to those who serve in nonprofit roles. Selection is based on a record of dedicated commitment to the nonprofit sector, professional accomplishments, and talent in fostering collaborative relationships.
In addition to the Renaissance Award, the Foundation’s financial reporting for 2017 was released to the public at the annual meeting. With total assets exceeding $157 million comprised of permanent charitable endowments that are available for local grantmaking; the foundation awarded $8.4 million in grants and scholarships and received more than $5.6 million in contributions. A complete annual report can be found at www.greaterworcester.org.
The following were elected to the Board for a four-year term:
The following were elected as new Corporators for a five-year term:
Robyn K. Kennedy
Edward F. Manzi Jr.
Luis G. Pedraja
James M. Salois
Elizabeth J. Tripp
Cesar A. Vega
Mark R. Wetzel
During the Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s annual meeting held on May 17 at Mechanics Hall, the grant-making institution released its 2016 financial results, elected new directors, and corporators and announced the 13th annual Renaissance Award, which recognizes the organization’s nonprofit leader of the year.
T. Diago McClain, founder and CEO of Worcester Pay It Forward (PIF), grew up in Worcester and attended Holy Name High School, where he now coaches basketball three nights a week. In the last 8 years, McClain has transformed the lives of more than 3,500 Worcester area youth ages 4 to 18 through mentoring, coaching, and leadership provided by PIF. The organization is dedicated to the development of young boys and girls through the game of basketball. Its mission is to teach local youth life skills and positive values through athletics, in order for those children to maximize their individual and educational potential.
Children from Holden, Auburn, Shrewsbury, Paxton and Worcester’s most challenged neighborhood have benefited from PIF’s mission and McClain’s leadership. In partnership with Holy Name High School, McClain and PIF provide a variety of programs including the “Tiny Tots” basketball, “Rise Against Bullying,” Summer basketball league, school vacation camps, travel basketball and WSUP Peer Mentoring. Under McClain’s guidance, support, and encouragement, many PIF graduates have gone on to pursue higher education at colleges and universities including Clark University, Newbury College, Worcester State University, Assumption College, Boston College, Assumption College, Salem State University, and Quinsigamond Community College. With the support of PIF and McClain, participants receive opportunities at scholarships, financial assistance, and a chance to cultivate a successful future.
“Diago’s impact on the youth of the Central Massachusetts community goes far and beyond being a mentor and coach. He and his organization provide a sense of hope and opportunity for every one of his participants,” said Ann T. Lisi, GWCF CEO and President. “Diago’s dedication to making a positive impact in the lives of so many disadvantaged youths is inspirational to us all. We’re proud to present him with this award.”
The Renaissance Award was established as an endowed prize through a gift by the late John W. Lund to show the community’s appreciation to those who serve in nonprofit roles. The award comes with a $5,000 cash prize. The award is given to an individual, not an agency, and is intended to be used for personal renewal. Selection is based on a record of dedicated commitment to the nonprofit sector, professional accomplishments, and talent in fostering collaborative relationships.
The annual meeting also publicly released the foundation’s financial reporting for 2016. With total assets exceeding $139.2 million comprised of permanent charitable endowments that are available for local grantmaking; the foundation awarded $6.6 million in grants and scholarships and received more than $5 million in contributions. A complete annual report can be found at greaterworcester.org.
The Foundation also elected the following to the Board for four-year terms:
● J. Christopher Collins
● Timothy Jarry
● Patsy Lewis
● Matthew Wally
● Kimberly Salmon
Chair: Gerald Gates
Vice Chair: Warner Fletcher
Clerk: Carolyn Stempler
Treasurer: Tim Jarry
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