Two Cambridge Nonprofits Win $$$ in 2012 Boston Foundation Challenge

Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) and Breakthrough Greater Boston (BTGB) , both based  in Cambridge,  have together raised more than $50,000 for vital summer youth programs, according to a recent communique from BTGB.

Sponsored by The Boston Foundation, the Giving Common Challenge was a 36-hour online event running from 8:00 a.m. on October 10 through 8:00 p.m. on October 11, 2012. More than 500 Massachusetts nonprofits competed for donations and more than $100,000 in time-based and grand prizes based on both the number and amount of unique gifts were given out. Both PBHA and Breakthrough took home major prizes.

Cambridge’s PBHA won the “most unique donors” grand prize of $25,000, with 379 supporters contributing $17,102 to the organization. PBHA also won one of the $2,000 “happy hour” prizes, awarded to the first 10 nonprofits to receive 50 unique gifts between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on October 10. Combining the amount raised from donors with the two prizes, PBHA raised a total of $44,102.

Breakthrough Greater Boston, also based in Cambridge, finished in 9th place in unique donors, after rising as high as 4th. With its 137 gifts, as well as a $2,000 “lunch time” prize similar to PBHA’s “happy hour” prize, Breakthrough Greater Boston netted close to $15,000.

The funds raised by PBHA will support more than 80 community-service programs led by 1,600 college students in the areas of adult services; advocacy, organizing, housing, and health; after-school and in-school; mentoring; and summer.

PBHA executive director Maria Dominguez Gray noted, “The breadth and support of the individual donors, from former teen participants to volunteer alumni, was overwhelming. The additional funding we were able to raise through this important community effort is especially important in light of recent government cuts to high-impact services, including PBHA’s Harvard Square and St. James homeless shelters as well as the Summer Urban Program.” PBHA’s student president Carolyn Chou confirmed, “This money will allow us not only to continue providing quality services but imagine an exciting future for PBHA. The dedication and support of our donors is a testament to the work we do, and it will allow us to keep going despite a tough financial environment for nonprofits.”

The impact on Breakthrough Greater Boston’s out-of-school time and teacher training programming will be equally great,  according to  Breakthrough’s executive director, Elissa Spelman.

“As we continue to work on bridging the education gap in Greater Boston, we rely on the generosity of our supporters. Placing 9th in the Giving Common Challenge is not only an honor for our organization but a testament to the dedication of the broader Breakthrough community that made our success over the past 36 hours possible,” she said.  “Breakthrough Greater Boston is in the midst of an exciting expansion from Cambridge into Boston, so the awareness and visibility of our organization within Boston’s philanthropic community couldn’t come at a better time. We extend our sincerest gratitude to all who supported us.”

According to the BGTB communique: For more than a century PBHA programs have provided vital experiences for generations of leaders in service and activism while developing real, meaningful community partnerships. PBHA strives to create change on multiple levels in Boston and Cambridge. For 20 years BTGB  has been working to transform urban education for students and teachers.. Through six years of intensive, tuition-free, out of school time programming, Breakthrough changes students’ academic trajectories and supports them along the path to four-year college. Simultaneously, BTGB builds the next generation of teachers through competitive recruitment, research-based training, and coaching from master teachers.


–Posted by Anita M. Harris
New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations and online marketing  firm based in Cambridge, MA.


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