One Boston Day 2020

As I sit here in my remote office, bustling from Zoom meetings to conference calls, reading the hourly updates about the impact of Covid-19 on the greater Boston community and beyond, an update from Mayor Marty Walsh’s office arrives, announcing tomorrow’s One Boston Day. The concept of “Boston Strong” came about after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, and remains a call to action for our city in times of adversity. It is also meant to embody principles of peace, kindness, and hope. This year the spirit behind the day is as important as ever, and the sentiment that united us in 2013 has once again become a rallying cry for our city. The last five weeks have seen an incredible mobilization of city and state government agencies, the business

sector, and the nonprofit community around the interconnected goals of social distancing, slowing the spread of Covid-19, buoying the health care system to meet tremendous need and the anticipated surge, supporting local businesses, working to meet the basic needs of vulnerable families, continuing the delivery of public education, all while maintaining a sense of community spirit and resiliency.

While we can’t cheer runners from Boylston Street, visit the Swan Boats, or see the Red Sox at Fenway this year on Patriot’s Day, we can do something critical for our city’s future success. Stay home. Perform an act of kindness and share it on social media and tag with the #OneBostonDay. Give thanks to a health care worker, grocery store employee, or public servant. Make a charitable gift of any size to any number of the city, state, or nonprofit relief efforts.

While we may be physically distant from one another on this One Boston Day, we can come together and display the resilience of our city in simple yet powerful ways. We are, and remain, #BostonStrong.

About the Author

Gioia PeruginiGioia Perugini is Associate Director, Family Office and Philanthropy Services at Hemenway & Barnes. She works with individuals, families, advisors, charitable trusts and foundations to provide a range of philanthropic and client services. Read Gioia’s full biography.


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One Boston Day, by Gioia Perugini (April 15, 2015)

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Philanthropic Community Responds to Nonprofit Needs During Covid-19 Crisis

During these difficult times, many individuals and families are asking, “Where is the greatest need and how can we help our community address the challenges resulting from the spread of Covid-19?”  The philanthropic community has organized to understand the scope of the challenges facing nonprofits and communities over the last two weeks in response to the spread of Covid-19.

The impact of the crisis on nonprofits and those providing critical educational, health, and social services is widespread. This crisis has had a direct impact on the stability of nonprofits of all sizes and issue areas. Nonprofits particularly hard hit include those working in education and youth services providing continued support to young people at a distance; health care institutions and providers; cultural organizations, especially those whose business model depends on ticket sales, admissions, and gate revenue; and human services, particularly food banks/food shelves and homelessness providers.

The Response

The philanthropic community has responded quickly to nonprofit needs, in many cases in real time, as needs continue to emerge. Many philanthropies and individuals have made immediate response grants, and are developing longer term plans as to how to help with recovery post-crisis. The Council on Foundations has a detailed “call to action” that outlines a number of steps foundations can take in these unprecedented times.

In addition, Hemenway & Barnes attorneys and professionals have a number of resources to support nonprofits during these challenging times. My colleagues, Brad Bedingfield and Eleanor Evans, also wrote this overview on establishing and operating an emergency Covid-19 relief fund: “Direct Impact – Establishing an Emergency COVID-19 Relief Fund”. You can find additional advisories related to Covid-19 on our website resource page.

For Donors

Donors might consider the following strategies when assessing how best to support nonprofits in responding to this crisis:

  1. Release restrictions on existing gifts or grants
  2. Make emergency grants to nonprofits impacted during this crisis – consider unrestricted gifts to help organizations respond quickly to direct service needs, or to address critical technology or human resource needs
  3. Make gifts to pooled emergency response funds, held at local or statewide community foundations, United Ways, or individual nonprofits
  4. Support the provision of nonprofit safety net services to vulnerable individuals
  5. Consider longer-term changes to grantmaking, and assess the needs for recovery as well as immediate response

The team of philanthropic advisors and trustees at Hemenway & Barnes is continuing to track these needs as they emerge, and as the scope of the need continues to be evaluated.

About the Author

Gioia PeruginiGioia Perugini is Associate Director, Family Office and Philanthropy Services at Hemenway & Barnes. She works with individuals, families, advisors, charitable trusts and foundations to provide a range of philanthropic and client services. Read Gioia’s full biography.


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Honoring Women’s Leadership

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of women’s leadership as we enter into Women’s History Month and prepare to mark International Women’s Day on March 8. While many may debate the value of these special “months” I’d like to use the month of March to amplify the stories of women’s leadership throughout history. International Women’s Day will also celebrate the accomplishments of today’s women in technology, athletics, business, health care, and culture, and can ensure that those stories continue to be told with equal importance as their male counterparts. As the saying goes, if you can’t see it you can’t be it.

So what does women’s leadership throughout history look like? Women have been leaders in society, social change, the arts, business, and philanthropy (to name a few) for hundreds of years in the United States. Yet their stories often remain hidden, out of sight of the history books. This year marks the hundredth anniversary of Congress passing the women’s suffrage amendment. It’s a story we think we know well, with the names Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Alice Paul as the ones who appear in the history books. Even more exciting is the opportunity to dig deeper and learn more about the diversity of women involved in the movement. According to research and publications from Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, the early suffragists interacted with native women and saw the political power and respect they received. Lucretia Mott spent the summer of 1848 with the Seneca Nation, observing clan mothers nominating tribal chiefs. The suffrage movement also has its roots in the abolitionist movement, and ties to the women who were early civil rights leaders, like Ida B. Wells (one of the founders of the NAACP) and Mary Church Terrell (the first African American woman to earn a college degree). It’s a complex story and one that deserves greater attention.

There are also women in all of our back yards who were active in the suffrage movement. These and other women leaders have been highlighted here in Boston by Mayor Marty Walsh’s creation of the Office of Women’s Advancement, which is hosting a year-long series of educational events to honor the work of those who fought for women’s right to vote and highlight their stories (made possible with funding from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation). Take a minute to learn about the Grimke sisters, who along with many others worked for abolitionism and women’s suffrage.

We have written several times before on this blog about the role of women’s leadership in philanthropy (Women in Philanthropy; The Power of Women in Philanthropy). Many of those same women involved in the fight for women’s suffrage were also leading philanthropists of the day, giving both their time and their financial resources to the cause. Alva Vanderbilt Belmont gave generously to the cause of women’s suffrage in both the U.S. and the U.K. (among other causes she cared about, including founding the Metropolitan Opera in New York). She worked to get votes for suffrage-supporting New York politicians, and even paid the bail for picketers who were arrested during protests. She used her Newport “cottage” Marble House for women’s suffrage rallies, and in 1914 hosted the Conference of Great Women there. She went on to fund the National American Women’s Suffrage Association and was elected president of its successor, the National Women’s Party in 1921. In 2016, on “Equal Pay Day,” Belmont was honored with the establishment of the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington, D.C. Kudos to Marble House in Newport for highlighting Alva’s story throughout the house tour I took there recently.

This work links us very directly to the present day role of women’s leadership. The same Mayor’s Office for Women’s Advancement is marking the suffrage anniversary by calling for increased civic engagement throughout greater Boston, and celebrating the leadership of diverse women entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and philanthropists. Take a minute to visit the profiles of Extraordinary Women on their site. The Office is also calling attention to a variety of issues of importance in our communities, from the gender pay gap to childcare workforce and access.

I am inspired daily by women – past, present, and future – who lead by example. My colleagues and clients at Hemenway & Barnes are leaders in philanthropy, business, nonprofits, education, and more. My 16-year old daughter – and millions of her GenZ peers – confirm for me that the future is bright and that these stories matter. Take a moment in the month of March to pause and consider the impact of women’s leadership in your personal, professional, philanthropic, and community endeavors, and take a moment to honor and highlight their stories.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Gioia PeruginiGioia Perugini is Associate Director, Family Office and Philanthropy Services at Hemenway & Barnes. She works with individuals, families, advisors, charitable trusts and foundations to provide a range of philanthropic and client services. Read Gioia’s full biography

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