Liberty Mutual Foundation president Melissa MacDonnell delivers keynote; Boston’s Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla performs

May 7, 2021 – Boston Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization that matches Boston Public Schools (BPS) students with volunteer mentors, raised over $400,000 at its 2021 Virtual Gala thanks to support from the Liberty Mutual Foundation and hundreds of donors and sponsors. The event honored the Liberty Mutual Foundation for its commitment to youth education in Boston, and featured a special performance from BPIE mentee and Boston Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla.

“This year, our Gala centered around Passing The Torch,” said BPIE Executive Director Erin McGrath. “It’s a celebration of our city’s students who have really stepped up and taken on more responsibility at home, at school, and in our community during this challenging year. But it’s also a promise to students that we’ll continue to help them prepare for the future. Partners like the Liberty Mutual Foundation are the reason we can deliver on this promise.”

Liberty Mutual Foundation president Melissa MacDonnell accepted the honor on behalf of the Foundation and delivered the evening’s keynote address. A former BPIE volunteer, MacDonnell reflected on the far-reaching impacts of mentorship and encouraged continued support of these programs “for the student one desk over.”

“I often think about my days as a volunteer,” said MacDonnell. “I think about the amazing teachers I met – and I think about the students and the joy I felt in their presence. But I also think about that student one desk over who didn’t have a tutor or a mentor; the student who longed for and would have been lifted up by that added attention.”

Representing over 36% of Boston Partners in Education’s annual fundraising, the Gala’s $400,000 goal was reached through sponsorships (67%), individual contributions (30%), and auction proceeds (3%). Funds raised from the event will help convert BPIE’s online Independent Learning Support model into a permanent program for BPS students. 

“Even as teachers and students return to in-person classrooms, this online program will provide a unique opportunity for young people to share what they want to work on and receive support in whatever ways they need,” said McGrath.

Hosted by Boston 25 news anchor Vanessa Welch, the Virtual Gala featured guest appearances from several “torchbearers,” including BPS senior Alondra Bobadilla, Boston Mayor Kim Janey, and BPS Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius

“In order to have stronger schools we need help from our community,” said BPS Superintendent Dr. Cassellius. “For fifty-five years, Boston Partners in Education has been a link between our community and our schools.”

Nashville recording artist and BPS teacher Louie Bello closed the event with a performance of his latest single, “Rescue Me.”

Established in 1966, Boston Partners in Education mobilizes community members to serve as weekly volunteer academic mentors to K-12 students in the Boston Public Schools.