Emerald Necklace Conservancy Receives Oversized $250K Check for Economic Development Initiatives

Earlier this month Emerald Necklace Conservancy President Karen Mauncy-Brodeck received an oversized $250,000 check for the organization's economic development initiatives. Mauney-Brodek received the check from state Sen. Mike Rush (D-Norfolk/Suffolk District) from the Commonwealth’s Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, which is helping the areas of the state that were hardest hit by the pandemic. Rush remarked that the Conservancy continued to offer free programs and took great care of the parks, ensuring that residents and visitors had a safe and attractive space to gather, play and reflect during the pandemic and beyond.


JP’s Rehearsal for Life Musical ‘Banned in Boston: Funderdome’ with Gov. Healey and More

Governor Maura Healey is among the cast members for Jamaica Plain based nonprofit Rehearsal for Life's new live Banned in Boston musical. The musical Banned in Boston: Funderdome will be performed live at Roadrunner Boston on April 27, and is once again be written and scored by award-winning creative Faith Soloway, Artistic Director of Rehearsal for Life and co-writer of Amazon’s award-winning show Transparent. Rehearsal for life is a non-profit leader in the Boston area’s creative youth development sector. The cast is huge for this year's musical-esque romp including more than two dozen Boston-area politicians, celebrities, philanthropists, and business leaders, performing on-stage and on-screen, fighting it out in an exaggerated, Battle of the Network Stars-style competition between fictional organizations trying to raise money in challenging times. The current cast list includes: Governor Maura Healey; Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director, Massachusetts Cultural Council; Jared Bowen, Arts Editor & Host, WGBH’s Open Studio; Jim Braude, Co-host, WGBH Boston Public Radio; Yolanda Coentro, President & CEO, Institute for Nonprofit Practice; Carolyn Cole, Program Officer, Massachusetts Cultural Council; Joanne Chang, Owner, Flour, Myers & Chang; Cheryl Cronin, CEO, Boston Public Market; Margery Eagan, Co-host, WGBH Boston Public Radio; Tiffani Faison, Chef, Restaurateur, rising star on Food Network; Sam Kennedy, President & CEO, Boston Red Sox; Makeeba McCreary, Ed.D., President, The New Commonwealth for Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund; Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, MBA, President & CEO, Carequest Institute for Oral Health; M. Lee Pelton, President & CEO, The Boston Foundation; Ken Reid, Comedian, TV Guidance Counselor podcast

In addition, a number of local chefs from participating restaurants will serve delicious meal to attendees including

Dan Bazzinotti, Pescador/Blue Ribbon Restaurants
Brad Brown, Blue Frog Bakery
Carl Dooley, Mooncusser
Lambert Givens, Hunter’s
Andrew Marconi, The Catered Affair
Steven Peljovich, Michael’s Deli
Cory Seeker, Lolita/COJE Group
Arlin Smith, Eventide
Stephen Sherman, Scarlet Oak Tavern/Webber Group
JC Tetreault, TrilliumBrewing
Will & Dave Willis, Bully Boy Distillers
Chris & Pam Willis, Pammy’s
Jen & Josh Ziskin, La Morra, Heritage & Punch Bowl

All proceeds benefit Rehearsal for Life’s creative youth development programs: Urban Improv, a no-cost program in its 30th year, serving 1,400+ Boston Public School students grades 4–12 every year; Youth Unscripted, a stipended after school community building and leadership program serving 25 teens from across Boston, and founding program Freelance Players, an after school theater program serving 200 youth ages 8-16 in Boston and surrounding suburbs.


Photos: Half Half Half Half Half Marathon at Jamaica Pond

There was more than one very important marathon this month. More than 70 serious and casual runners gathered at the Jamaica Pond Boathouse for this year’s Half Half Half Half Half Marathon, hosted by 826 Boston at Jamaica Pond on April 13. All photos by Deborah Karson Photography

The event raised more than $18,000 for 826 Boston’s writing and tutoring programs, offered free to thousands of Boston students and their families every year. “We’re so grateful to everyone—friends, babies, college students, grandparents, dogs—who joined us for Boston’s greatest shortest race,” said Loni Zelfon, 826 Boston’s Development and Events Manager. “We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to walk, wheel, and run around Jamaica Pond to support 826 Boston’s incredible student authors."


Arnold Arboretum Welcomes Jessica Pederson as Head of Public Programs

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University recently announced that Jessica Pederson will be its new Head of Public Programs.

Pederson will lead a team of dedicated staff and volunteers to engage millions of Arboretum visitors both online and in person through creative events, programs, and public initiatives. As Head of Public Programs, Pederson will coordinate programming activities with partners in the city of Boston, Harvard University, and other civic and neighborhood organizations to advance the Arboretum’s commitment to equity and inclusion and promote its role as a community resource for education. Pederson marshals nearly two decades of experience in leadership at similar organizations including the Native Plant Trust, the Esplanade Association, and most recently the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. She also previously worked at the Arnold Arboretum as a Hunnewell Summer Intern at the Dana Greenhouses and as Visitor Education Assistant. “I am thrilled to return to the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, where my love for public horticulture and environmental education first took root,” said Pederson.


Jamaica Plain’s Breuninger Joins Jimmy Fund Walk in Memory of Roommate & Best Friend

Jamaica Plain resident Drew Breuninger decided to participate in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk pin memory of his dear friend and roommate, Marcos Flegmann, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. "We were roommates in August 2017, and I happened to be on vacation,” said Breuninger. "I remember Marcos texted me to say that he was moving out, but he wouldn't tell me why. He said that we could talk about it when I got back...I had no idea what I could have done to make him move out so unexpectedly.”
Finally, he was able to get Marcos to give him a call. "I'll never forget when he told me.


Sherrill House Promotes Miniello to Chief Clinical Officer

Sherrill House, a not-for-profit skilled nursing and rehabilitation center in Jamaica Plain, announced the promotion of Alessio Miniello, RN, to Chief Clinical Officer. Miniello, who was previously Director of Nursing Services at Sherrill House, is a registered nurse specializing in geriatric rehabilitative and long-term care, focusing on operations management, compliance and clinical development. “Alessio is a strong leader and effective team builder who cares deeply about our mission to provide high-quality, compassionate care to the individuals we serve,” said Sherrill House Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. Stapleton. “He has demonstrated his ability to successfully lead the clinical care program at Sherrill House.”

“I am excited to serve as the Chief Clinical Officer of Sherrill House,” Miniello said. “It allows me to utilize my clinical experience as part of a veteran leadership team focused on providing the best care for our residents and the best place to work for our employees.”

Prior to joining Sherrill House in 2022, Miniello served as Director of Nursing Services at skilled nursing facilities in Concord and Peabody.


JP-Based Nonprofit VOAMASS Expands Leadership Team

Volunteers of America of Massachusetts (VOAMASS), a Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit  recently announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Erin Donohue Lanzo as Chief Strategy and External Relations Officer; promotion of Mindy Miller to Chief Operating Officer; and hiring of Kellie Caldwell as Vice President of Human Resources. VOAMASS creates opportunities for individuals through residential and outpatient behavioral health treatment, re-entry for justice-involved individuals, veteran services and senior living. “These three key appointments add to the depth and experience of the senior leadership at VOAMASS,” said President and CEO Charles Gagnon. “Individually, Erin, Kellie and Mindy are exceptional leaders and people. Together on the VOAMASS executive team their creativity, strategic insight and institutional knowledge will carry us forward ensuring that we are continuously building on the high-quality, compassionate, person-centered services offered by VOAMASS.”

Donohue Lanzo, who has two decades of experience in the behavioral health and social services sectors, will direct and implement strategy for the agency and lead its communications, public affairs and development programs. She joins VOAMASS after 10 years with the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP), most recently leading communications and special projects.


Community Servings Names MacPhee as Executive Chef

Community Servings, a nonprofit provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition services, and a leader in “food is medicine” research, advocacy and policy, has appointed Dianna MacPhee as its new executive chef. MacPhee has more than two decades of experience as an executive chef in a variety of culinary settings, including fine dining, boutique retail, country clubs, airport dining and educational food service. As someone living with psoriatic arthritis, she also personally identifies with the Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit's mission and understands the powerful connection between food and health. “While certain foods can inflame my condition, I am fortunate to have consistent access to fresh, healthy foods and a care team to help keep me on track,” said MacPhee. “Unfortunately, too many people in our community don’t have those resources to manage their illness – but Community Servings is working hard to change that.


Emerald Necklace Conservancy Honors Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy honored the Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods with the Olmsted Award of Excellence on February 1 at the Curley House in Jamaica Plain. The Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods was formed to rectify a structural inequality in park decision-making in Greater Boston, on the occasion of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Bicentennial in 2022. Comprised of intergenerational leaders working across a wide array of disciplines in the Roxbury, Mattapan, Grove Hall and Dorchester neighborhoods, the Committee re-centers programming decisions in the communities that are impacted the most by them and distributed over $200,000 in grants to fund community-generated bicentennial programs focused on parks equity and spatial justice. The Olmsted Now Committee of Neighborhoods consists of Andrew Sharpe, Authentic Caribbean Foundation; Anita Morson-Matra, Baldwin in the Park; Ambar Johnson, Livable Streets Alliance; artist Barrington Edwards; Biplaw Rai, Comfort Kitchen; Jay Lee, Franklin Park Coalition/City of Boston; John Linehan, Franklin Park Zoo/Greater Grove Hall Main Streets; Karenlyn Bunch, Greater Grove Hall Main Streets; artist Karen Young; Nakia Hill, 826 Boston/City of Boston; Paul Willis, 826 Boston; Pat Spence, Urban Farming Institute; Shavel’le Olivier, Mattapan Food & Fitness; and Kay Savage, Mattapan Food & Fitness. “Last year was a moment for all of us to collectively reimagine how parks and public space could meet Olmsted’s legacy ideals NOW: how greenspace could be truly open and accessible to all, where all feel they can fully belong, express and be.


Sherrill House CEO Selected as Chair of State Board of Registration of Nursing Home Administrators

Patrick J. Stapleton, Chief Executive Officer of Sherrill House, a not-for-profit skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, has been unanimously elected chair of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Nursing Home Administrators, the state body that licenses and regulates nursing home administrators. Stapleton, a national leader in the long-term care profession, will be serving under his third administration when Governor-elect Maura Healey takes office in January. He was first appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to the board, which protects the health and safety of nursing home residents by ensuring that administrators adhere to quality standards and continuing education. He was reappointed by Gov. Charlie Baker. “I am honored to serve as chair of the Board of Registration of Nursing Home Administrators and am humbled by the confidence my peers have shown by electing me to lead us through what are certainly very challenging times,” said Stapleton, who served as Vice Chair from September 2021 to September 2022.