Highlights work with formerly incarcerated individuals at Dismas House, and creating positive change in Worcester

(May 16, 2023 - Worcester, MA) - The Greater Worcester Community Foundation has announced that Dave McMahon, co-executive director of Dismas House in Worcester, has been awarded its 2023 Renaissance Award. The award is given annually to an individual who has made a significant impact on the Greater Worcester community through leadership, service, and advocacy.

McMahon was recognized for his work with formerly incarcerated individuals at Dismas House, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and support services to those transitioning from prison back into society. Since 1998, he has helped build an infrastructure of support for homeless ex-offenders in greater Worcester which has included the launch of Father John Brooks House, the Dismas Family Farm, the community-wide legal support program BAR None, and a community organizing and advocacy partnership that works on issues affecting the lives of former offenders in the area. He also launched the Health Foundation synergy initiative WISR (Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry), which served reentering inmates on Superior Court Probation. McMahon has also helped numerous nonprofits, including Jeremiah’s Inn and Catholic Charities, to build solar, clean heat, water conservation, and other energy efficiency measures into their housing to both reduce their costs and carbon imprint.

As co-executive director along-side his wife and partner Colleen Hilferty, McMahon has helped create a safe and supportive environment for residents, enabling them to rebuild their lives and become active members of the community.

"Dave is an outstanding leader who has made a real difference in the lives of so many people," said Tim Johnstone, Interim President and CEO of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation. "He has been a tireless advocate for criminal justice reform and has worked to educate policymakers and the public on the importance of creating pathways to success for those who have served their time and are ready to make a positive impact on society.”

The Renaissance Award is a cash prize of $5,000 awarded annually by the Foundation to recognize the exceptional talent and dedication of those who lead nonprofits in our area. It was established as an endowed prize through a gift by the late John W. Lund to show the community’s appreciation to those who serve in nonprofit roles. Selection is based on a record of dedicated commitment to the nonprofit sector, professional accomplishments, and talent in fostering collaborative relationships.

"I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive the Greater Worcester Community Foundation Renaissance Award,” said McMahon. “It's a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team at Dismas House, and our commitment to making a positive impact in our community. It’s also a reminder that our work is not done. There is still so much to do to ensure that every member of our community has the opportunity to rebuild and thrive.”

The Renaissance Award was presented at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation Annual Meeting on May 16.