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10 years of success

by Michele D.  Maniscalco
Thursday Feb 16, 2017

Scholarship committee withTito Jackson,center,and former recipientAlex Maizonett, second from right. Photo by Michele Maniscalco
Scholarship committee withTito Jackson,center,and former recipientAlex Maizonett, second from right. Photo by Michele Maniscalco  

Heart of Gold scholarship fundraiser

Neighbors and their friends braved the frigid wind and snow to join the Blackstone/Franklin Squares Neighborhood Association (B/FSNA) at Estragon, 700 Harrison Avenue, to mark the 10th anniversary of its college scholarship program for South End youth, which awards scholarships to students living in the South End to help pay for books and supplies, computers, lab fees and other college expenses.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh was scheduled to appear, specifically to congratulate scholarship founder and former B/FSNA president Andrew Parthum on the success of the program, according to scholarship committee co-chair Lisa Jenks, but Walsh was unable to attend as he was surveying snowstorm conditions. District 7 city councilor Tito Jackson was able to attend.

Heart of Gold committee co-chair Lisa Jenks said in a follow-up e-mail, "We had over 100 people come out for South End kids in a blizzard. It was very inspiring and made for a casual event with neighbors in snow boots and ski jackets on a very cold and blustery winter night!"

A proud and emotional Parthum remarked, "It's really special when you believe in something and others believe in it too and support it." The scholarship program has grown almost exponentially, awarding over 45 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 since its beginning with a cocktail party in Parthum's Washington Street home 10 years ago.

The benefit included hot and cold appetizers, cocktail music and jazz by Shawmut Avenue resident and singer Jack Donahue accompanied by pianist Andy Lantz, who substituted for the originally scheduled Hank Wonder Trio. David Wisholek, who with his partner, Christopher McBride, has remained active in the scholarship program despite moving to the suburbs, reported in a follow-up statement, "We raised over $35,000 and still growing with donations coming in, including tickets sales. [It was] our second biggest grossing fundraiser. Considering the blizzard going on outside, we are THRILLED with the results."

One live auction item, which netted almost $2,000 and sparked a fierce bidding war, was the Dinner Party for 8" package including personal chef services from Wild Carrot Cuisine, a $250 gift card from Whole Foods to cover food, a $200 gift certificate from Brix for wine and a $150 American Express gift card to pay for flowers and peripherals. Now a student at Curry College, Alex Maizonett, the winner of the 2016 Andrew Parthum scholarship in the amount of $2,500, attended with his friend Didier, who won a scholarship from the St. Stephen's Youth Program in which both were active.

Musing on the B/FSNA college scholarship program's impressive growth in the 10 years since its inception, founder Andrew Parthum wrote, "The fundraiser has exceeded my expectations. It's more successful than I ever imagined. It's great to help out these students. It's amazing how the fundraiser and scholarships have grown. Several years ago, people volunteered who could plan the fundraiser and were comfortable asking local businesses for donations. These skills I don't have. Because the fundraiser has been more successful, we have been able to help more South End high seniors. Every year the scholarship benefits because of the changes in the fundraiser. It began 10 years in our condo. It's so great, how the fundraiser has benefited as new volunteers become involved."

Neighbors' loyalty and enthusiasm for the scholarship program for local youth is contagious. First-time scholarship committee volunteer Elizabeth Fegreus said, "Everyone is so passionate about it: it's been a lot of fun." Committee member Caitlin Murphy's mother commuted in from the North Shore in the snowstorm, reporting that "It was almost a white-out on the way to the train station in Beverly."

The dedicated guest was impressed with the sidewalk conditions as she walked from Back Bay Station to Estragon. "I found that basically everybody had shoveled their sidewalks and I wondered whether there is a community collaboration for shoveling. I saw one person with a snow blower going all the way down the block. It was unbelievable that I could actually see the sidewalk."

B/FSNA continues to accept donations for the college scholarship program. Donations are tax deductible and can be submitted by regular mail or on-line. Checks can be made out to BFSNA Scholarship and mailed to: Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association, PO Box 180940, Boston, MA 02118 and on-line donations are accepted at klinscholarship.

Lisa Jenks,Andrew Parthum. Photo by Michele Maniscalco  

former scholarship winner Alex Maizonett and friend. Photo by Michele Maniscalco  


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