Springtime Gala Honors Volunteerism; Raises $580,000 for People with Disabilities

Mike Sheehan, Jim Dunphy, and Michelle Markowitz

Cardinal Cushing Centers, an organization that has been supporting exceptional students and adults since 1947 and is one of South Shore Boston’s largest employers, is pleased to announce that its annual Springtime gala raised over $580,000 for individuals with intellectual disabilities.  The event at the Boston Seaport Hotel attracted a crowd of over 400 guests – including His Eminence Cardinal O’Malley – and is Cushing’s largest fundraiser of the year.

This year’s theme – Models of Volunteerism – was a poignant reminder that anyone can give back – whether it be with your time, your talents or your gifts.  “Every one of you can make a difference in the lives of others,” Cushing President and CEO Michelle Markowitz remarked.  “Cushing could not support this extraordinary population the way we do without our incredible staff, our Board, partners, and especially our volunteers.” 

This year’s honorees, President of South Shore Bank’s Jim Dunphy, and Cushing Board of Directors member Meg Kelleher, were recognized for their tireless volunteerism not just at Cushing, but also elsewhere in their lives.  Dunphy brought home the Cardinal Richard Cushing Award, and Kelleher was honored with the Franciscan Leadership Award.  Both awards are granted to people who show extraordinary dedication toward the core values and beliefs of Cardinal Cushing Centers – including enhancing the lives of others.  

The event included a cocktails & mocktails reception, dinner, a fundraising “Cushing Collection,” awards presentation and the highlight of the evening – a fashion show featuring students and adults with intellectual disabilities who walked the runway alongside “celebrity” models including Steve DiFillippo, Chef and CEO of Davio’s, Fran DeCoste, Senior Vice President at A.W. Perry, Sakina Evans, Founder and President of EvansOne, Erin Joyce, Mayor of Braintree, Annissa Essaibi George, President and CEO of Big Sister Boston, John Troupe, Owner and President of Troupe Waste and Recycling and his wife, Poppy, Youssef Abdouh, Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking for Eastern Bank, Jodi Goff, Senior Vice President at State Street Corporation, and Eddie McGrath, Co-Founder and Director of Rockland Recovery, and his wife, Kelley.

“This year’s Springtime Gala was especially important to me because I myself started out at Cushing as a volunteer. I found that giving back is an important way to feel connected to one another.” stated Markowitz.  “We are very fortunate to have exceeded our fund-raising goals, and thrilled to have dedicated the evening to our honoree volunteers and everyone else who embraces Cushing’s mission.” 

John Turco of RogersGray emceed the event.  Sponsors included, among many others, The Flatley Foundation, Ted and Maureen English, Alera Group, TJX Companies and Quincy Mutual Group.

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About Cushing Centers

Since 1947, Cushing's caring community has been a place where exceptional individuals of all ages and abilities have found possibility, opportunity, and hope, receiving support to achieve independence and meaningful relationships across home, work, school, and leisure.

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