Cummings Foundation Invests $100,000 in Victory Programs’ Mobile Prevention Enhancement Project

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Funding will expand access to critical services like comprehensive STI/HIV/Hep C testing, naloxone distribution, and other low-threshold harm reduction services for some of Boston’s most vulnerable community members.

Victory Programs was selected as one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through the Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. Victory Programs was one of 574 applicants to apply for during a competitive grant cycle.

Victory Programs operates 19 health, housing, and prevention programs in the Greater Boston area, with a primary focus on individuals who actively use, or are in recovery from injection drugs and other addictive substances; individuals and families who are homeless and/or facing potential housing insecurity; and people living with chronic, life-altering infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. All of Victory Programs services are grounded in evidence-based models of change and individualized care plans to help clients identify, and work towards personal goals.

Sarah Porter, Victory Programs Interim CEO, and Ed Ahern, Government and Foundation Grants Manager, joined approximately 300 other guests to represent Victory Programs at a reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, the Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $260 million to Greater Boston nonprofits alone.

“We are so grateful for the Cummings Foundation’s partnership,” shares Sarah Porter. “This grant will make a remarkable difference in what we are able to accomplish. The $100,000 from Cummings Foundation will support enhancements to our Mobile Prevention Team, augmenting their ability to access the individuals in our community who are most at risk for fatal overdoses and those with the highest risk of exposure to HIV, Hepatitis C and or other STIs.  Through the purchase and retrofit of a specialized van, services will move deeper into the community providing innovative, evidence-based prevention and treatment options for people who may otherwise struggle to access critical care.”

This grant will provide vital operational support for the Mobile Prevention Team (MPT) Enhancement Project over the next two years.  This project will bolster the MPT’s efforts to reach those at high risk for opioid overdose and the acquisition of disease, including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and STIs.  The fully equipped van purchased as a part of this project will enable the MPT team to travel throughout Boston’s communities and provide syringe services, risk assessments, navigation to prevention and treatment services, and much more.

The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“By having such a local focus, we aim to make a meaningful positive difference in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are most grateful for the nonprofit organizations that assist and empower our neighbors, and we are proud to support their efforts.”

This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.

The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

Cummings Foundation announced an additional $15 million in early May through its Sustaining Grants program. Through these awards, 50 local nonprofits will receive ongoing funding of $20,000 – $50,000 for 10 years.

The history behind Cummings Properties and Cummings Foundation is detailed in Bill Cummings’ self­ written memoir, “Starting Small and Making It Big:  An Entrepreneur’s Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist.” It is available on Amazon or cummings.com/book.

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2019 Drive for Victory Results!

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Victory Programs’ annual charity golf tournament continues a tradition of defying unpredictable New England weather patterns to produce a perfect day. This year, the fundraiser attracted more than 120 people to the gorgeous greenways at the Cape Club of Sharon. Drive for Victory is a scramble style tournament over 18 holes featuring prizes for “Most Accurate Drive,” “Closest to the Pin,” and the top three scoring teams.

This year’s winners:

First Place: Mark Dromgoole, Tom Dromgoole, John Murphy, and Tom Sodergren from Hugh’s Energy

Second Place: Ben Gredler, Will Horn, Ashten Petry, and Bill Whitney

Third Place: Bill Griffin, Reic Letson, Angelo Theofilopoulos, and Bill Theofilopoulos

 

Closest to the Pin:

On hole #4: Mark Vassalotti at 9’11”

On hole # 13: Linda McDaid at 3’8”

 

Most Accurate Drive:

Jessica Maguire

 

Drive for Victory serves as an important connection between Victory Programs’ supporters and the thousands of individuals and families who turn to the organization every year for services to address homelessness, substance use disorder, and life-altering illnesses like HIV/AIDS. This year, Drive for Victory raised nearly $60,000 through sponsorships, donations, auction and raffle prizes, on-course games, and golfer registration fees. Proceeds from the event help Victory Programs open the door for recovery, community, and hope across 19 housing, prevention, and recovery programs in the Greater Boston area. Victory Programs is grateful to the staff, volunteers, corporate partners, in-kind prize donors, and golfers who support the event and the vital health services that change futures and save lives every day beyond the iconic, welcoming red door to victory.

Drive for Victory would not be possible without dedicated friends like this year’s Title Sponsor Maguire Mechanical Services; Golden Eagle Sponsors CREA, Cohn Reznick, Eastern Bank, and Holland & Knight; Silver Birdie Sponsors Cabot Risk Strategies and Slattery Brothers; Special Sponsor United Way; and many other businesses and organizations that give back to the community by supporting Victory Programs’ important work to address the opioid epidemic, support those impacted by the housing crisis, and provide vulnerable community members with tools to reduce their risk of contracting an infectious disease. Additionally, the generous management and dedicated staff at Cape Club in Sharon deserve credit for hosting Drive for Victory at their picturesque course and catering to the needs of everyone involved in the event from the golfers to the volunteers.

2019 Drive for Victory on June 17, 2019

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2019 Boston Bulldogs Run for Recovery

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On Sunday, May 19, clients, staff, and Board Member Drusilla Pratt-Otto joined runners from across the Greater Boston area for the annual “Run for Recovery” organized by the Boston Bulldogs Running Club. The annual run is a tribute to all those who are battling or have lost their lives to substance use disorder. Client participation from New Joelyn’s Home, LARC, and Women’s Hope was coordinated by Carmen Thurston, Supervising Counselor at New Joelyn’s Home.

“I run to be really present, to be in my body, now. I am able to focus on the very best I can be. With regard to the Bulldog’s, I run for the hope of recovery – both my family and globally.”

Vice Chair, Victory Programs Board of Directors, Drusilla Pratt-Otto

Please click the image below to see below for photos from the Run for Recovery:

2019 Run for Recovery

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Finding a Voice in Recovery – Cynthia’s Story

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Cynthia first walked through our doors on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018, when she entered our Living and Recovering Community (LARC) at the Shattuck Hospital. LARC is a stabilization program that specializes in helping people with a dual diagnosis of substance use disorder and HIV/AIDS. For Cynthia, entering recovery at LARC was the best Valentine’s Day gift she could imagine for herself, and for the people who love her.

Just a few short months earlier, Cynthia’s family waited anxiously for 40 days hoping she’d wake from a coma from injection drug-related medical issues. They had hope, Cynthia has always been a fighter and her children were convinced she’d be back on her feet, given time. When she did wake, she had three immediate challenges she was determined to face: relearning how to walk, relearning how to talk, and committing herself to recovery.

Cynthia’s story has a happy ending, she relearned how to walk, and how to talk, and how to maintain her recovery. She worked hard, first and LARC, then at two of our residential recovery programs, to build skills that would help her regain her independence. She moved into her own apartment at Serenity Supportive Housing where her family visits, often. Cynthia is committed to sharing her own experiences as a way of helping others in recovery. She’s shared a stage with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at the annual MOAR Recovery Day at Fanieul Hall, with dozens of other Victory Programs clients at our annual Gratitude Dinner, and, most recently, with Governor Charlie Baker at our signature Dinnerfest Auction on April 7!

Cynthia, like so many of our clients, demonstrates that recovery is possible. Today, she has a strong relationship with her family, a comfortable home, 19 months of sobriety, and she is committed to helping others find the gifts of recovery.

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STI Awareness Month

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Guest Blog by Taryn Lipiner, Mobile Prevention Team Intern

As the end of the month is quickly approaching, we wanted to take the time to acknowledge that April is dedicated to STI awareness, bringing attention to the importance of preventing, testing for and treating STIs. This month also gives us the opportunity to normalize routine STI testing and to start conversations about sexual health. In the United States, nearly 20 million new STIs occur each year, and given that infection rates continue to rise in our country, it’s critical that you know the facts in order to protect yourself and those around you. Firstly, you can’t tell if an individual has an STI just by looking at them. While some STIs don’t produce any symptoms, others may take up anywhere from a few days to several weeks before they present. Therefore, the only way to know for sure is to get tested.

It’s also important to note that STIs can only be spread through direct sexual contact or by coming into contact with infected body fluids during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Although birth control methods are effective ways to prevent pregnancy, they will not protect you from contracting STIs. So how can you best protect yourself? When used both correctly and consistently, condoms are an effective method to prevent STIs. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is also a great tool for preventing HIV transmission and is upwards of 95% effective when taken regularly. In addition, it’s important to know your sexual partners, and their STI history is as important as your own. Get tested whenever you or your partner has a new sexual partner. The recommendation is to get tested every 3 to 6 months.

Don’t Forget! The Mobile Prevention Team at Victory Programs has free and confidential STI testing and linkage to treatment every Tuesday from 3-6 pm at 29 Stanhope Street. Although appointments are preferred, they’re not required. In order to book an appointment, please email testing@vpi.org.

We also provide a wide range of community-based prevention education and services, including Transgender Peer Support Services and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Support. For more information about these services, please call (617) 927-0836.

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