Boston, MA—At Catholic Charities’ Spring Celebration on May 11, 2016 at the JFK Library and Museum, we gather together as a community to celebrate generosity. In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the simple definition of generosity is “the quality of being kind, understanding, not selfish: the quality of being generous; especially: willingness to give money and other valuable things to others.” In the Gospel of Luke (3:11), generosity is described as, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Regardless of which definition resonates most with you, we can all agree that the act of giving feels great, and the results of our giving—sometimes life changing.
Making an Immediate and Direct Impact
At Spring Celebration, we will show our gratitude for generosity as we present the Justice and Compassion Award to Joyce and Bill Cummings; co-founders of Cummings Foundation and the first Massachusetts residents to join The Giving Pledge, a national philanthropic organization founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet. Thanks to Joyce and Bill’s substantial support for Catholic Charities’ English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Adult Education Programs, the lives of hundreds of families in Massachusetts and around the world have been transformed for the better.
When we asked Bill why social service agencies like Catholic Charities are important to him and Joyce, he stated, “Social service agencies have an immediate and direct impact on those who require help the most, providing assistance with meeting very basic needs as well as breaking the cycle of poverty. We view donating to Catholic Charities as an excellent investment, as its staff and volunteers work so diligently to help people become self-sufficient.”
A Community of Immigrants
The impact of Cummings Foundation support has been profound. We have significantly increased the quality of the curriculum and student experience, including expanding the use of technology in advancing our ESOL instruction. We have multiplied the number of classes available, extending our offerings to parents of Head Start students. To help our adult learners transition to good jobs, we also added English for Employment classes with trained staff to contextualize job readiness instruction in our ESOL classrooms. Bill shared with us why our ESOL Adult Education Programs are of special interest:
“My maternal grandparents emigrated from Dublin in 1898, which was not a good time to be Irish in Boston. Grandma Mary would refer to herself only as an American because—until the day she died—she was genuinely afraid to be seen as Irish. Unfortunately, my grandmother, along with so many other struggling immigrants of her day, did not have an organization like today’s Catholic Charities dedicated to welcoming and supporting those who came to our country looking for a better life.”
He concluded, “More than a century later, Greater Boston still has a large population of immigrants from every land who need assistance adapting to their new home. Providing the help they need to become active, independent citizens will ultimately benefit the entire community.”
Our Community Is Better With You in It
Because of the collective generosity of Joyce and Bill and our supporters, strategic partners, community leaders, volunteers and our dedicated Catholic Charities employees, the 200,000 individuals we serve annually in Eastern Massachusetts have brighter, more hopeful futures. Generosity and gratitude—that’s you, that’s Catholic Charities.