Community Foundation Annual Meeting Shines Light on Community Needs and Impact of Philanthropy

(l-r) Greater Lowell Community Foundation board chair Chet Szablak, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, Greater Lowell Community Foundation president & chief executive officer Jay Linnehan. Photo: Meghan Moore

Chelmsford, MA – Nearly 150 business leaders, nonprofit professionals, and community members gathered at the Radisson in Chelmsford for the Greater Lowell Community Foundation’s Annual Meeting, “Road to Recovery,” on June 5, 2018.

The evening’s keynote speaker was Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan. Ryan is recognized for her leadership on the opioid crisis and her innovative programs that address all aspects of abuse and addiction—prosecution, prevention, and treatment. In 2012, she founded the office’s first Opioid Drug Task Force in the Lowell region. At the meeting, she spoke about local efforts including her work to establish a drug court program in Lowell to assist people in recovery. A major impediment to the program is transportation as participants are travelling from across the region to attend programming and public transport can put participants at risk for relapse.

The Greater Lowell Community Foundation announced a grant to address this need and will partner with a local nonprofit to provide transportation services for drug court participants. “This partnership with the courts is the capstone of a multi-year commitment to fund programs for opioid prevention and treatment and help ensure success for participants. In response to opioid addiction across our region, the Community Foundation has awarded over $160,000 in discretionary funds to support nonprofits,” said Jay Linnehan president and chief executive officer of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.

The Greater Lowell Community Foundation elected a new director to its board at the meeting. Mark O’Neil of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union was voted on to the board. The Community Foundation thanked departing board members Joseph Bartolotta and Scott Flagg for their service.

Community Foundation president and chief executive officer, Jay Linnehan, also spoke about the impact of charitable giving on the Greater Lowell Community, citing the $1.6 million in grants awarded by the Community Foundation to students and nonprofits in the last year. Linnehan talked about a commitment to strategic growth in Greater Lowell communities that would build the endowment and allow for increased support of community needs including education and civic engagement.

Several nonprofit organizations from Greater Lowell that are working on opioid abuse prevention and treatment, civic engagement, and education provided information on their services including The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm, Hidden Battles, Leaders in Lowell, Megan’s House, and Mill Cities Leadership Institute.