Greater Worcester Community Foundation is pleased to announce Yvette Dyson, Executive Director of Worcester Common Ground, as the recipient of this year's Renaissance Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to community development.

The Renaissance Award was established in 2004 through an endowment created by a founding member of the Foundation, John W. (“Jack”) Lund, who passed away in 2010 at age 90. Jack created the award to outstanding individuals within the Worcester County community who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and innovation in the nonprofit sector.

Yvette will receive a $5,000 prize to support personal renewal through experiences such as travel or study. New this year, the Foundation will match the prize with a $5,000 unrestricted grant to Worcester Common Ground.

"I am deeply grateful to be chosen for the GWCF Renaissance Award,” says Yvette, “and I am humbled to be aligned with those chosen in previous years for their amazing contributions to Worcester County. I am also grateful to the incredible residents and neighbors from our Piedmont community that I have the privilege of working with every day."

With this generous gift, I will be able to plan a getaway to celebrate my husband’s one-year successful liver transplant. This recognition could not be timelier. It is with a full heart that I give thanks.

- Yvette Dyson, 2024 Renaissance Award Winner

Nominations for the Renaissance Award are solicited from the Foundation’s 250+ corporators, with the winner ultimately selected by Foundation staff and board based on the quality of nomination(s) received. Yvette stood out for her steadfast dedication to Worcester County in the pursuit of affordable housing, spending the last 24 years working at Worcester Common Ground, a community development corporation in the Piedmont neighborhood of Worcester.

Worcester Common Ground promotes and develops permanent and sustainable improvement in the community through affordable housing, resident activism, and economic development. Yvette brings extensive training and experience in architecture and construction management to the organization and has been a pivotal member of the team since 2000, when she joined as the Director of Development. She was officially appointed to the role of Executive Director in July 2013.

As a leader, Yvette fosters a collaborative and supportive environment with her team, recognizing that the commitment and expertise of her staff are vital to achieving their shared goals and the goals of their resident-led board of directors. Over the past three years, Yvette and her team have worked closely with a DEI consultant to help shape the organization’s work around inclusivity, helping to build a new team that is representative of the Piedmont neighborhood they serve.

We are proud to honor Yvette with the Renaissance Award and a matching grant to Worcester Common Ground. This award is a celebration of Yvette’s leadership and her unwavering commitment to the community she serves. We are grateful to our donor, Jack Lund, for recognizing the importance of personal renewal for those working tirelessly in the nonprofit sector.

- Pete Dunn, President & CEO, Greater Worcester Community Foundation

The Renaissance Award was presented at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation Annual Meeting on June 12.