President & CEO, Greater Boston Food Bank
Recipient, 2012 Lewis Changing People's Lives Award
When Catherine D'Amato, President & CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank, first approached Harriet Lewis, Chair of Grand Circle Foundation, for support in 2006, Harriet loved the organization, but she wasn't sure that there was a direct connection between hunger relief and the Foundation's focus on education. Catherine felt otherwise, so she asked Harriet a simple question: "How are you going to educate a hungry child?"
"That was all it took," she explained. Over the past six years, Grand Circle associates and the Foundation have donated time, food, and money to the food bank. Catherine also serves on the Foundation's Community Advisory Group, which is currently working toward an ambitious goal to increase high school and college graduation rates in inner city Boston.
"Through Catherine's strong leadership," Harriet said, "she convinced us that the food bank plays an important role in our goal after all. And we've benefited from her guidance ever since."
Throughout her 17 years at the helm of the Greater Boston Food Bank, Catherine has made great strides and guided the organization to reach millions of people in Massachusetts. In this year alone, the Greater Boston Food Bank provided healthy food to more than 545,000 people at risk of hunger, and it recently added a new facility that can store 50 million pounds of food.
Catherine recognizes that giving people meals can impact many aspects of their lives. "By providing people with food, we might help a family not lose their home this month, or get clothes for their children or school supplies," she said.
At the Foundation's annual awards dinner this April, Harriet was thrilled to recognize Catherine's leadership with the Foundation's highest honor: the Lewis Changing People's Lives Award. Presented to an individual who has "achieved outstanding results, despite overcoming extraordinary obstacles, and has significantly impacted the lives of others through risk-taking, entrepreneurial spirit, and leadership," this annual award acknowledges the importance of contributing to those in the communities where we live, work, and travel. When Catherine received the award, she highlighted the Foundation's mission of giving back to the world we travel: "I would also like to say that you can travel across the street and be transformed. The commitment that Grand Circle has made to people in Boston—though the travel may not be far—is of huge impact."
On behalf of Grand Circle Foundation, we congratulate Catherine on this well-deserved award and look forward to continuing our support of the food bank's mission to end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts.
Featured in our May 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.