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Summer Fund Convening

May 6th, 2021
12:30PM to 1:45PM
Zoom - information to be emailed
Grantmaker, Philanthropic Advisor
Event type:
Best practices
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As the world opens up, uncertainty still abounds, particularly regarding summer. We know that Summer 2021, in the enrichment and learning space, will look different than last year’s enormous disruption in programs and operations due to the evolving pandemic. We also know that this disruption and the after-effects on youth and families will continue for some time, particularly the mental and emotional toll the pandemic, coupled with the renewed spotlight on racial justice, has taken. Join The Summer Fund and Philanthropy Massachusetts for a conversation focused on Summer 2021 highlighting this toll as well as other issues.

We will share key trends and takeaways from our recent 50+ conversations with on-the-ground direct service providers and feature insight from The Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (BCHNP). This session includes the voices and lived experiences of those working with youth from underserved and under-resourced communities within Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea, target areas of the Summer Fund. We’ll host a moderated discussion. Funders will have the opportunity to ask questions as we move closer to the exciting opening of summer camps and programs, which exist at the intersection of health, education and the arts.

Our Moderator and Speakers include:

Sean Higgins, Program Manager, Summer Fund (Moderator)

Sean Higgins joined Philanthropy MA as the Summer Fund Program Manager in October 2017 and brought with him a fresh perspective on youth development programs in and around Boston. Most recently, Sean served as a Policy Associate to Mayor Jorge Elorza of Providence, Rhode Island, focusing on education, workforce development and housing. In his time with the City of Providence, Sean provided strategic guidance for Mayor Elorza’s $1 million investment in summer youth job opportunities and managed partnerships with 19 organizations throughout the City. In addition to his experience in youth workforce development, Sean is also experienced in grant writing, grant management and fundraising. Sean supported grant solicitation efforts for Mayor Elorza and helped to bring in over $500,000 in public and private investments for the City. Before joining the Elorza Administration, Sean supported program operations for Providence Talks, an early childhood education initiative funded through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge.  In his spare time, Sean enjoys exploring Boston’s many unique neighborhoods and staying active by boxing and playing softball. Sean holds a dual undergraduate degree in Political Science and Legal Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Shella Dennery, PhD, LICSW, Director, Boston Children's Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (BCHNP)

Shella Dennery, PhD, LICSW is the Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (BCHNP), the community behavioral health program in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Dennery directs a comprehensive school-based program in partnership with the Boston Public Schools. The program provides equitable and culturally responsive services and supports to students and families in their educational home. The program also provides professional development and consultation to educators, school staff, and administrators.  Dr. Dennery has spent her career working as a school social worker in the Boston Public Schools and teaching and consulting on behavioral health related topics in community settings. She partners with the Children’s Mental Health Campaign to advocate for increased access to care and systemic change in behavioral healthcare for youth across Massachusetts.  Dr. Dennery is adjunct faculty in social work at Boston College, Simmons University and Smith College, and is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. 

Emily Golinsky, Interim Executive Director, Camp Starfish

Emily is the Founder of Bright Moose, LLC, which provides training, coaching and consultation to organizations and individuals guided by the motto “Help Others Shine Bright!” As a 15-year veteran Executive Director of Camp Starfish (a non-profit for youth with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges), Emily now also provides training and strategic support for camps, youth programs, educators, mental health professionals and families, helping them to enable success for staff and campers, and to manage a spectrum of behaviors from "challenging" to "crisis."

Emily is a contributor to ParentingNH and Camping Magazine, and a keynote speaker and regular presenter at conferences nationwide, most recently leading sessions on trauma-informed care, COVID response, anxiety and stress management for staff, mental health supports, positive behavior management, training staff to work with challenging children, field teachers’ strategies for success, and working collaboratively with parents. 

Emily is active in the American Camp Association, where she is a Lead Accreditation Standards Visitor, sits on the fund development and conference committees for the New England section, is a member of the Faculty for the New Camp Directors Workshop, and is the facilitator for a year-long series of roundtables for newer directors. In 2021, she received the Leadership in Service award for New England. 

Emily also sits on the Board of Directors for the New Hampshire Camp Director’s Association where she chairs the conference committee and is a member of the legislative committee. She received her undergraduate degree with highest honors in Health Psychology from Massachusetts of College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, followed by a Master of Science in Camp Administration and Leadership from Touro University Nevada.  She is a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, a special education advocate, and an avid collector of terribly awesome puns.

Amatullah Mervin, Executive Director, The City School

Amatullah Mervin is a Boston-Cambridge, Massachusetts native. She is experienced in youth and community organizing, social justice program development and organizational leadership. As a youth and community organizer herself for 10+ years, her work has placed her at the center of supporting youth with recognizing their power and using that power to fight for liberation in grassroots movements. She has successfully worked on numerous campaigns both in the city of Boston and around the nation including Youthway on the MBTA, ending Stop-and-Frisk in New York City and the work to dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Amatullah is a lover of people, travel, good food, culture and difficult conversations around justice, equity and the fight to dismantle oppression for Black youth especially.  Her sheros include Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur & Ella Baker, and she models much of her work after their ideology and methodology. Amatullah holds a B.A. in Sociology and is currently working on her Masters in Theology at Boston University. She is the Executive Director at The City School, in Boston, MA. 

Jason E. Talbot, Deputy Director, Artists for Humanity




Zoom information will be sent via email in advance of the seession.

Registration type: 
Normal registration

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