June 22, 2018
Breakthrough Greater Boston Gala Raises $620K, a Record

May 13, 2017 — Breakthrough Greater Boston, a nonprofit based in Cambridge that prepares underserved students to be successful in four-year colleges and trains urban teachers, announced that its 25th anniversary gala raised $620,000, its most successful to date.

Breakthrough Greater Boston (BTGB)said the event, held April 27 at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston, sought to raise $500,000 and drew 515. The gala raised 55% more than last year's $400,000 and attracted 10% more attendees.

Funds raised at the Breakthrough Gala will support BTGB's overall mission to close the opportunity gap for under-resourced middle school and high school students in Greater Boston, and will enable the organization to serve 25% more students in summer 2017.

BTGB Executive Director Elissa Spelman attributed the event’s success "to the hard-work and leadership of our event chairs, Christine Gilman and Elizabeth Hodder, our entire board of directors who had a grand vision for this 25th anniversary event, and the broader community who rallied around BTGB to mark this milestone.”

Funds were raised from a combination of corporate and personal sponsorships, tickets sales, mystery box (raffle) sales, and a fund-a-need. Corporate sponsorships and fund-a-need were the largest revenue drivers.

The gala generated about 40% of the funds raised annually by BTGB.

At the event, BTGB announced that it will expand to Somerville this fall, in addition to serving students and teachers in Cambridge and Boston, boosting the number of people it will be serving annually to 900 students and 200 teachers.

Somerville Public School officials and BTGB leaders began discussions last year. Currently, 54% of Somerville’s low-income students continue on to four-year colleges. Nearly all (97%) of BTGB graduating seniors enroll in four-year colleges, and nearly three-quarters (70%) of BTGB teaching fellows pursue careers in education.

Honored at the gala were Reverend Edwin Johnson of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester (BTGB alum and board member), Nancy Klemm Friedman (BTGB board member), Elizabeth Asefa (BTGB alum and Harvard University employee), and Amee Naik (BTGB staff).

Among those attending were Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Kenneth Salim; Somerville Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper; Cambridge School Committee members Fred Fantini and Patty Nolan; Somerville School Committee members Laura Pitone and Carrie Normand; and Boston School Committee member Michael Loconto.

BTGB provides six years of intensive, tuition-free, out of school time programming, which, it said, changes students' academic trajectories and supports them along the path to four-year college. Simultaneously, BTGB builds the next generation of teachers through competitive recruitment, research-based training, and coaching from master teachers.

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