Feel Good Stories You Might Have Missed – Feb. 2021

Feel Good Stories You Might Have Missed – Feb. 2021

The emergency approval of two coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. marks the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is working to get shots into the arms of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents and save lives in Massachusetts. EBNHC’s story is one of love for one’s community – CEO Manny Lopes worked at EBNHC as a college student and returned to lead the organization in time for the biggest public health crisis of the 21st century. “We’re going to have to redefine the new normal,” Lopes said to the Boston Business Journal, and EBNHC is looking forward to being a part of the solution.

While there is hope for a new normal, remote work appears to be here to stay for at least the next few months. It has had its skeptics, but, because of remote work, many businesses have discovered the importance of empathy, flexibility and strong company culture. Workhuman CEO Eric Mosley outlines different ways that workplaces have changed for the better in the past year in a conversation with Thrive Global. Human connection is something that many employees used to take for granted. Now, seeking it, employees are quicker to support a struggling colleague or offer congratulations for a job well done.

The past year has also been one of exploration. The WBUR podcast Anything for Selena seeks to understand the complex cultural legacy of Tejano singer, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. Maria Garcia, who hosts the podcast, spoke to The New York Times about how Selena’s story mirrors her own and what she learned from this project. For Garcia, Selena represents finding clarity about her own identity: “There was this tension between these two parts of me, and to see somebody who embodied both of those parts fully in the States and in Mexico, who traversed the two countries without code switching, who was the same person on both sides of the border — I’d never seen anything like that.”

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Key lessons we learned from nonprofit partners in 2020

Key lessons we learned from nonprofit partners in 2020

It is no secret that 2020 had a profound impact on every aspect of life. Businesses were impacted in numerous ways from transitioning to a remote workforce overnight to facing supply chain issues. Nonprofit organizations faced many challenges, and yet they emerged from 2020 resilient.

Here are a few key takeaways we learned through our work with nonprofit organizations in 2020: 

  1. The need was great

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Massachusetts in February, many nonprofits faced unprecedented challenges. Human services organizations who hosted daily programs as part of their earned revenue were forced to bring them online via zoom. Homeless shelters and group homes were forced to depopulate and find alternative living accommodations. Food pantries saw an immediate increased need. Health care organizations needed funding for PPE and hazard pay. Public media saw its underwriting pipeline dry up overnight as small businesses slashed their marketing budgets. Immigrants rights organizations had to support a community with no other safety net. Museums were forced to close. School programs were brought online.

  1. Donors stepped up

Yet despite these challenges and the tireless work of nonprofit staff and volunteers, donors saw that need and stepped up. One nonprofit board came together to provide a significant bridge fund to carry the organization through the pandemic. Another organization created a unique fundraising campaign, raising $1.2 million, a number that exceeded its goal by 50%. Across organizations, when the ask was made, donors matched or exceeded goals.

  1. Virtual fundraisers were a success

Although a livestreamed gala or a virtual 5K pales in comparison to an in-person event, we found that nonprofits were successfully substituting their community events with virtual ones. As mentioned above, donors attended the events, paying full ticket price in some cases, bid on the silent auction items and exuded generosity with the fund-a-need appeals. Each organization had a different approach to their virtual fundraisers, but those whose events were authentic and true to the mission of the organization were the most memorable.

  1. There are needs beyond Covid-19

The urgent and increased needs brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic do not eliminate the needs the organizations were facing prior to the pandemic. Those needs remain ongoing and it’s important to remember that these organizations serve our communities in crucial ways, caring for our most vulnerable, screening for health conditions, supplying important information to the public, providing cultural and educational resources, among others. As we look ahead, we hope everyone remains committed to supporting nonprofit organizations with a renewed spirit beyond the pandemic.  


Feel Good Stories You Might Have Missed – Feb. 2021

Business stories you may have missed – December 2020

As we begin to navigate these dark, cold months, it appears there is a now a light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. Businesses continue to navigate the “new normal” and to press on in light of mounting challenges. Here are some news stories that touch on the current ethos.

Although the vaccine is on the horizon, accessing to Covid-19 testing is still imperative. Thermo Fisher Scientific’s The Just Project is providing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) with diagnostic instruments, test kits and related supplies to enable free on-campus testing throughout the 2020-21 school year. Thermo Fisher’s Fred Lowery describes the need to support HBCU’s in an essay in the World Economic Forum.

Remote work and remote school have made households more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Arbella Insurance recently expanded its cyber insurance protection to the state of Connecticut. Agency Checklists described the new homeowners’ policy endorsements.

Streaming TV has been a mainstay since the start of the pandemic and Netflix scored another major win with its new Selena series. WBUR’s Maria Garcia shared her insights on the legacy of the late artist and representation of the Latinx community on NPR’s 1A.  

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center was named a Top Place to Work by the Boston Globe for the sixth time! The annual feature included a write-up on how EBNHC is supporting its staff serving on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic and a piece featuring commentary from CEO and president Manny Lopes on how the workplace has changed.  

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Feel Good Stories You Might Have Missed – Feb. 2021

Business stories you may have missed – 10/22/20

Here is a sampling of stories highlighting some good business news, as well as challenges on the individual level to the international stage. 

The Boston Business Journal announced its list of Best Places to Work 2020 and our friends at the Arbella Insurance Group came in third place in the Extra Large Company category.

25 years after her death, Selena Quintanilla remains a cultural icon. WBUR and Futuro Studios recently announced a new, 10-episode podcast to debut in January 2021 with Spanish-language companion episodes. At a time of unprecedented debate about what it means to be American, “Anything for Selena” explores tensions around race, class, body politics and what it means to belong.

The Boston Book Festival’s Shelf Help initiative, which aims to expand a child’s love of reading by providing new books to two Boston Public School’s libraries each year, was featured in WCVB’s 5 for Good.  

The eviction moratorium recently ended in Massachusetts, leaving thousands of families vulnerable in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. East Boston Neighborhood Health Center care navigator Kimberly Mendoza Iraheta described the urgent issue in Boston.com.

On September 29th, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America petitioned the United Nations over Turkey’s conversion of UNESCO World Heritage Site such as the Hagia Sophia into mosques. Foley Hoag attorney Christina Hioureas led the legal effort, stating in the Associated Press, “Turkey is in violation of its obligations under international law to preserve cultural heritage and to respect the political, cultural and religious freedoms of Orthodox Christians in Turkey and abroad.”

Feel Good Stories You Might Have Missed – Feb. 2021

Business stories you may have missed – 09/17/20

2020 has brought plenty of disruption to all of our lives and to the way we do business. It’s also brought innovation. Here are some recent business stories that show resilience and reinvention.

National Public Radio has saw an opportunity to bring more localized news to its listeners through an innovative podcast. What started as a daily coronavirus update has morphed into Consider This, a daily news brief that covers the top stories from around the world and in 12 markets in the US. In Boston, where there are two NPR stations, rivals WBUR and GBH have teamed up for the first time in their histories to bring local news to the market.

On September 4, 2020, the Fed announced that the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) is expanding to provide loans to nonprofit organizations. The MSLP is designed to stimulate the extension of credit to small and medium-sized businesses which were in sound financial condition before the Covid-19 pandemic. The recent expansion to nonprofit organizations recognizes the vital services performed by educational institutions, hospitals and social services organizations and the millions of Americans employed nonprofits.

The Boston Book Festival, which is going fully virtual this year, announced its lineup of headlining authors. From October 5-25, more than 140 authors and moderators will participate in 55 events. All events are free and open to the public.

The Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto details the future of conferences in the wake of the pandemic. The traditional in-person conference will be a thing of the past. Companies are reinventing how they approach their conferences. Many believe the hybrid approach, where attendees can participate virtually, will continue long after there is a Covid-19 vaccine.