16th Annual Event raised money for renovation project
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) celebrated the hard work of all those who guided residents through the COVID-19 pandemic during its 16th Annual Making a Difference Gala on Thursday, June 17.
Sponsors and donors watched the event – held virtually this year – on the nonprofit’s YouTube channel. The organization presented Massachusetts Secretary of Health & Human Services Marylou Sudders with the Making a Difference Award for her tireless leadership through the pandemic. Massachusetts has emerged as a leader in COVID response, first with testing and now with vaccine distribution.
“Secretary Sudders is being recognized with our most prestigious award for all she has done, and continues to do, for the residents of Massachusetts,” John M. Silva, President & CEO of GLFHC, said. “When in need the secretary has always stepped up to ensure the delivery of sound, quality health care to Massachusetts residents as her top priority.”
Sudders is head of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Response Command Center. She oversees 12 agencies and MassHealth, with a combined budget of $24 billion and 22,000 public employees who deliver essential services that touch the lives of one in four state residents.
“I can think of no one more deserving of an award that’s all about making a difference in improving people’s lives,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said of Sudders. “Her commitment to the well-being of the residents, children, families and communities of Massachusetts has always been unmatched, and that’s been especially true this year.
The dedication and importance of community health centers (CHCs) was the focus of the event’s Keynote Speaker, Congresswoman Lori Trahan of Massachusetts 3rd Congressional District. She touted the work CHCs do every day to make sure that the country’s most vulnerable patients receive crucial health care and are not left behind.
“Community health centers like Greater Lawrence Family Health Center have been on the front lines of the fight to provide good health care to those who otherwise wouldn’t have it – and that’s been especially true over the past 15 months,” Trahan said. “When the pandemic struck you all rolled up your sleeves, you put on your masks, and did the hard work necessary to save lives.”
The gala raised nearly $85,000 through sponsorships and donations, which will benefit the health center’s Keeping the Promise Capital Campaign. The $3.5 million campaign will renovate its flagship 34 Haverhill Street, Lawrence location and provide better medical services to patients throughout Greater Lawrence. The Haverhill Street site is the largest and busiest of GLFHC’s six locations, accounting for 33% of GLFHC’s 62,000 annual patient visits.
Also during the event, numerous health care leaders from the Merrimack Valley and the United States paid tribute to retiring CEO Silva. He has worked in CHCs across the country for more than 40 years, and retires at the end of June.