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Local Female Leaders Are Honored for Their Work with Community Advocacy Awards

By Nicholas Conley, Dec. 28, 2018
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As the oldest and largest mutual bank in the United States, Eastern Bank defines themselves by their genuine dedication to social justice within the New England community. They’ve stood up for the rights of immigrants, communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and other underrepresented populations. During the annual Community Advocacy Awards ceremonies, Eastern Bank will honor local leaders who have given their time and dedication to addressing the needs of the community.

All of the 2018 award recipients are women—a nod to this year’s targeted grant theme of advancing women—who have overcome steep challenges in their efforts to advocate for the well-being of others. Throughout the months of October and November, each of these women will be recognized for their accomplishments.

November 27th: Sue Chandler, DOVE Inc.

Doves are the international symbol of peace, and DOVE Inc. of Massachusetts stands for “Domestic Violence Ended,” an organization dedicated to assisting adults, teens, and children who have been victims of domestic violence, through services such as crisis intervention, hotlines, emergency shelters, and legal advocacy. With two decades of experience in nonprofit management, Sue Chandler has been instrumental in many of the organization’s initiatives. In addition to her work with DOVE, Chandler is also recognized for her service on the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence, her time on the Board of Directors for Emerge—which was the first batterer intervention program in the United States—and her prior work as director of the Community Advocacy Program for CCHERS, Inc. of Boston, a partnership of health center-based domestic violence programs in the Boston area. Learn more about why Sue Chandler is this year’s Community Advocacy Award honoree.

Sue Chandler, DOVE Inc. Community Advocacy awards
Sue Chandler, DOVE Inc.


November 28th: Gina Scaramella, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

Since 2003, Gina Scaramella has been making a difference through her work as the executive director of BARCC, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. As a nonprofit leader, Scaramella has promoted her cause to end sexual violence through media outlets like the Huffington Post and the New York Times, provided guidance to both the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and worked with the National TeleNursing Center to pair sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) with underprivileged and lower-income community health centers. Read more about why Gina Scaramella is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

Deb Ansourlian, Girls Inc. of Lynn
Gina Scaramella, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center


November 15th: Deb Ansourlian, Girls Inc. of Lynn

Girls Incorporated is an organization with chapters all over the country, each one working tirelessly to ensure that the next generation grows up “Strong, Smart, and Bold.” Since 2011, the Lynn chapter of Girls, Inc. has been led by executive director Deb Ansourlian, providing a safe place for 1,500 girls, aged 5–18, to help them become the leaders of tomorrow. Even before joining Girls, Inc., Ansourlian was a champion for the underprivileged. Previously, she directed the Hattie B. Cooper Community Center, providing family community services to the Roxbury area, and worked for the United Cerebral Palsy nonprofit organization. Learn more about why Deb Ansourlian is this year’s Community Advocacy Award honoree.

Deb Ansourlian
Deb Ansourlian, Girls Inc.


November 6th: Andi Genser, WE CAN

Andi Genser has worn many hats throughout her career, but all of them have been dedicated to helping the New England community, particularly when it comes to children. After working as the Executive Director of Massachusetts’ largest and oldest Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, she helped to establish numerous childcare organizations over the years, including a national Institute for Leadership and Career Initiatives, an early childhood training program at Wheelock College, and the youth initiative BE SAFE, based at the AIDS Action Committee. Since relocating to Cape Cod, she has served as the executive director of WE CAN—Women’s Empowerment through Cape Area Networking—an organization which offers local women education, networking, and support. Read more about why Andi Genser is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

Andi Genser
Andi Genser, WE CAN


October 31st, Cathy Duffy Cullity Receives the New Hampshire Community Advocacy Award

In 1996, the New Hampshire chapter of Girls Inc.—a nonprofit organization that empowers young women—was only located in one city, had a budget of less than $400,000, and served only 45 girls a day. But that year Cathy Duffy Cullity took matters into her own hands and turned the NH Girls Inc. into a $1.8 billion powerhouse that delivers programs to 50 schools across New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont—the largest geographic region of any affiliate in the country. Today, she has cultivated her corner of Girls Inc. into an organization that provides school lunch catering, outreach programs, and free evening meals to any families or children in need, every night of the year. Learn more about why Cathy Duffy Cullity is this year’s Community Advocacy Award honoree.

Cathy Duffy Cullity
Cathy Duffy Cullity, Girls Inc.


October 23rd, the Merrimack Valley Community Advocacy Award Goes to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas

From 1973 to 2007, Massachusetts went without a female serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. The election of Niki Tsongas, a former social worker and lawyer who has spent her life fighting for social justice, changed all of that. In addition to her active involvement with the Massachusetts community through local events, she sits on the Committee on Natural Resources, takes part in the Congressional Arts Caucus, and advocates for victims of sexual assault in the military on the House Armed Services Committee. Read more about why Niki Tsongas is honored with Eastern Bank’s Community Advocacy Award.

Niki Tsongas
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas


October 1st, Phyllis Barajas is honored during Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15th to October 15th, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and one of the most prominent Latinx leaders in the New England area is Phyllis Barajas. As the founder and CEO of Conexión, an organization that promotes the identification, development, and promotion of new Latinx and Hispanic leaders, Barajas’ work has built a stronger, more diverse future. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, her long career includes distinguished appointments by former President Bill Clinton, Harvard University, and Boston University.

Phyllis Barajas is honored during Hispanic Heritage Month
Phyllis Barajas, Conexión


Charitable Giving Community Advocacy Awards
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