February 20, 2020
St. Francis House of Boston Gala Sets a Record by Raising $750K

November 5, 2015 — St. Francis House of Boston, the largest day shelter in Massachusetts, recently set a record at its annual gala, raising $750,000, beating its goal by $50,000, to support the men and women it serves by providing rehabilitative and housing services.

The 14th annual All The Way Home Gala, held last month at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, attracted 420, surpassing the 350 – 375 guests that the event normally attracted. Previously, the gala raised between $550,000 and $650,000.

Maggie Burns, director of development at St. Francis House of Boston, noted that the increased number of attendees and sponsors “was a winning combination.”

Funds were raised through ticket sales, sponsorships, and a challenge card giving program the night of the event.

The fundraiser represents 12% of the nonprofit’s total annual fundraising goal.

“At St. Francis House, we believe that homelessness is an experience, not an identity, and we strive to ensure that each person who walks through our doors is offered the support and services they need to succeed,” said Karen LaFrazia, executive director of the 31-year-old organization.

The event was co-chaired by Rich Meelia, principal of Meelia Ventures and member of the St. Francis House board of directors, and Mike Sheehan, chief executive officer of The Boston Globe,.

José (Joe) Almeida, former chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Covidien, Plc, was honored “for his commitment to building strong communities and in particular his support of St. Francis House.”

“Homelessness is a substantial problem impacting communities throughout the world and of course, there’s the enormous civic challenge that homelessness poses for Boston,” said Almeida. “Here in Boston, we are truly blessed that we have St. Francis House.”

During the event, an alumna of the Moving Ahead Program (MAP) told how St. Francis House played a key role in her successful transition from homelessness to full-time career and stable housing.

MAP is a 14-week job-and life-skills training program, founded in 1995, that helps students learn to identify, pursue, and succeed in careers that match their abilities, skills, and work values. The program emphasizes the importance of job readiness and satisfaction, which can increase students’ ability to secure and maintain employment and housing.

Located in downtown Boston, St. Francis House serves more than 600 poor and homeless men and women a day, 365 days a year. Its Next Step Housing Program provides 56 units of supported permanent, affordable and independent housing to people who have struggled with homelessness, unemployment, and substance abuse. In 2011, St. Francis House concluded a four-year, $15.9 million capital campaign, which, among other goals, sought to secure the organization’s financial future.

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