16th Annual Boston Cares Awards

For the 16th Annual Boston Cares Awards on November 6th, 2019, Boston Cares was thrilled to honor achievements in volunteerism, outstanding volunteer engagement and leadership, and innovative partnerships that seek to improve the lives of those in need in our community.

180+ volunteers who made significant service contributions, measured by volunteer hours over the previous year, were awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award or the Boston Cares Service Champions Awards. Thirty-eight Five, Ten, and Fifteen year milestones were given out to volunteers who have stayed with Boston Cares over the years, giving their time to our programs and partners. And finally, over thirty milestones were awarded to our community and corporate partners illustrating that strong partnerships and the ongoing commitment of volunteers is what powers Boston Cares.

Each year, Boston Care welcomes more than 2,000 new individual volunteers and fills more than 24,000 volunteer slots, in service to more than 180 different schools and community agencies. Each volunteer comes with their own story, their own purpose, and their own impact. The Awards provide a valuable opportunity to recognize a few of these individuals and highlight their contributions and their journey. Boston Cares was excited to honor five volunteers this year who were nominated by members of the community and who demonstrated outstanding leadership among their peers.

These volunteers were: Yenner Bravo Gotera, Andrea Dunlap, Meredith Lipnick, Peg Toro, and Xiaojing (Nita) Wang. You can watch a video directed and edited by Erin Cutroneo highlighting their stories below.

In addition to outstanding volunteer leadership, Boston Cares recognized two of our longtime community partners who have engaged volunteers in meaningful, innovative, and effective ways over the years through their programs and their organization’s leadership. These partners were the Friday Night Supper Program and Prison Book Program.

Both organizations are primarily volunteer-run and Boston Cares is proud to have connected them to volunteers that help with daily operations such as serving the weekly meal or reading book requests from prisoners serving sentences all over the country. Some of these volunteers also find ways to connect to the organizations in a deeper way, developing their own skills and increasing the organization’s capacity by serving in leadership roles such as the Friday Night Supper Program’s Board or Prison Book Programs “Core Team.” The Prison Book Program and Friday Night Supper Program have embraced volunteerism as a force that can drive their work, and in doing so have created an incredible community of volunteers that help them deliver on their mission.

While the Awards provides an opportunity to recognize volunteers and nonprofit partners, it also gives space to highlight Boston Cares’ corporate partnerships and the valuable work that companies are doing to engage their employees in volunteerism and give back to the Boston community. Each year, Boston Cares partners with over 60 companies to manage high-impact service opportunities for employee service days that meet the needs of local schools and nonprofit partners. Every partner – both corporate and nonprofit – is unique in how they approach this opportunity and this year, Boston Cares recognized Digitas and the Bradley Elementary School in East Boston for their complimentary and cooperative partnership. 

By working together, the Bradely and Digitas were able to match needs with skills for an incredible transformational day of service at the school.  Boston Cares and Digitas brought 200+ volunteers into the school to create a visual transformation both inside and out. This partnership has carried through two years, with 400+ Digitas volunteers providing over 2,000 hours of service to the Bradely School.

The final award of the evening was the Daily Point of Light Award, which is presented to volunteers with a demonstrated ongoing commitment to serving their community.  Boston Cares is proud to be a member of the Points of Light Affiliate Network, the global leader in volunteerism, and each day, Points of Light issues a daily Point of Light Award. Boston Cares was thrilled to present the Daily Point of Light #6,644 to Marcia Robinson and Michael Lawler of Project 351.

Thank you for another year of volunteerism and partnership and congratulations to the award recipients!

Boston Cares staff members