The Big Cheese Reads Gala is held each spring to celebrate the partners and sponsors who make our work in the Boston Public Schools possible. At this year’s Gala, we are thrilled to honor Thomas N. O’Brien, Founding Partner & Managing Director of the HYM Investment Group, LLC. Read Tom’s guest post below, as he shares why education is so important to him and why he feels the HYM Investment Group has a responsibility to support Boston’s public schools students.

Working as developers, we tend to think in the long term. After all, the complicated real estate projects that our firm, The HYM Investment Group, works on can often take a decade or longer to complete from the conceptualization to full build out. This forces us to think about the Boston of the future, not just the Boston of the present, and about the city’s long-term opportunities and challenges.

Among those challenges, perhaps none is greater than ensuring that every child in Boston has access to an education that will prepare them for success in the modern economy. Our Boston Public Schools teachers and administrators tackle this challenge every day, with a BPS student population that is thirty percent Limited English Proficient or English Learners, and with twenty percent enrolled in special education programs.

Our current students will be our future workforce, and Boston’s social and economic trajectory depends on us making the investment today to prepare those students for success. We must ensure that those students who have more difficult challenges get the support they need to thrive. And we can be grateful for partnerships, like the one with Boston Partners in Education, that are supporting BPS in their work.

The goal of Boston Partners in Education’s Big Cheese Reads program is to introduce business, community, and cultural leaders to BPS students through a classroom visit. While the goal of these visits is ostensibly for the students to learn from these business leaders, I’d argue that the business community has just as much to learn from these students and their teachers in how to prepare for the future workforce, and how they can further support these students’ journey to successful careers. In March I was honored to visit the Thomas A. Edison K-8 School in Brighton and I was impressed by the BPS teachers’ ability to work with such diverse populations of students.

At The HYM Investment Group and in my personal life, I’ve strived to create environments that open doors of opportunity to everyone. Boston Partners’ support of teachers and the Big Cheese initiative gives leaders the ability to show students the world of opportunity that lies ahead of them. Education is the foundation for success. I am honored to accept an award to celebrate our partnership with Boston Partners in Education and our commitment to supporting the betterment of schools.

Please join me at The Big Cheese Reads Gala on May 9, or consider becoming a volunteer academic mentor or a Big Cheese Reader.