During the Greater Worcester Community Foundation's annual meeting held on May 17 at Mechanics Hall, the grant-making institution released its 2016 financial results, elected new directors, and corporators and announced the 13th annual Renaissance Award, which recognizes the organization's nonprofit leader of the year.
T. Diago McClain, founder and CEO of Worcester Pay It Forward (PIF), grew up in Worcester and attended Holy Name High School, where he now coaches basketball three nights a week. In the last 8 years, McClain has transformed the lives of more than 3,500 Worcester area youth ages 4 to 18 through mentoring, coaching, and leadership provided by PIF. The organization is dedicated to the development of young boys and girls through the game of basketball. Its mission is to teach local youth life skills and positive values through athletics, in order for those children to maximize their individual and educational potential.
Children from Holden, Auburn, Shrewsbury, Paxton and Worcester's most challenged neighborhood have benefited from PIF's mission and McClain's leadership. In partnership with Holy Name High School, McClain and PIF provide a variety of programs including the “Tiny Tots” basketball, “Rise Against Bullying,” Summer basketball league, school vacation camps, travel basketball and WSUP Peer Mentoring. Under McClain's guidance, support, and encouragement, many PIF graduates have gone on to pursue higher education at colleges and universities including Clark University, Newbury College, Worcester State University, Assumption College, Boston College, Assumption College, Salem State University, and Quinsigamond Community College. With the support of PIF and McClain, participants receive opportunities at scholarships, financial assistance, and a chance to cultivate a successful future.
“Diago's impact on the youth of the Central Massachusetts community goes far and beyond being a mentor and coach. He and his organization provide a sense of hope and opportunity for every one of his participants,” said Ann T. Lisi, GWCF CEO and President. “Diago's dedication to making a positive impact in the lives of so many disadvantaged youths is inspirational to us all. We're proud to present him with this award.”
The Renaissance Award 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. The award comes with a $5,000 cash prize. The award is given to an individual, not an agency, and is intended to be used for personal renewal. Selection is based on a record of dedicated commitment to the nonprofit sector, professional accomplishments, and talent in fostering collaborative relationships.
The annual meeting also publicly released the foundation's financial reporting for 2016. With total assets exceeding $139.2 million comprised of permanent charitable endowments that are available for local grantmaking; the foundation awarded $6.6 million in grants and scholarships and received more than $5 million in contributions. A complete annual report can be found at greaterworcester.org.
The Foundation also elected the following to the Board for four-year terms:
● J. Christopher Collins
● Timothy Jarry
● Patsy Lewis
● Matthew Wally
● Kimberly Salmon
Chair: Gerald Gates
Vice Chair: Warner Fletcher
Clerk: Carolyn Stempler
Treasurer: Tim Jarry