In 1999 I became involved as a tutor and mentor with an organization that was in the early formation stages —known today as Tenacity. Its mission was to help economically disadvantaged Boston middle school students enhance their studies with after school tutoring and tennis at various locations around the city, at no charge to the students. Tenacity grew from an after-school program for hundreds of middle school students to a year-round program serving elementary through high school students and beyond. High school graduation rates for Tenacity participants is over 98% as compared to the overall graduation rate of 60-70%, and they further their education at a rate of approximately 70%. I am still involved as a member of the Executive Advisory Board and am very proud to have been a part of this fine organization since its inception.
As a longtime resident of Brookline I also became involved in 2005 as a board member of Brookline Community Foundation (BCF) and served for three years on the board and three more as treasurer. I am still involved as an active member of the "Friends." BCF has been an important source of funds for all of the non-profits in Brookline for over 100 years. With a small professional staff and a committed board of Brookline residents, BCF is proud that they were able to grant more than $660,000 during 2014 and, due to a robust endowment and very low overhead, almost every dollar given is utilized for grants.
Many people think of Brookline as a town of only wealthy residents, but the fact is that more than 15% of the population lives at or below the poverty level—a situation which touches many of our towns' youthful population. To quote from BCFs' own words, “The Brookline Community Foundation is the only foundation that addresses the needs of Brookline as a whole. We use our unique position to shine a spotlight on community needs, inspire philanthropy and award strategic grants to build a more vibrant, engaged and equitable Brookline.”