Freedom House Honors Community Champions and Raises Funds to Advance Equity in Boston at the 20th Annual Champions of Freedom fundraiser

(L-R) Hingham residents Jacquelyn O’Reilly, Liza O’Reilly (former Hingham school committee member) and President Tom O’Reilly, and Michelle Codrington (Boston College and Pine Manor College Trustee), and Massachusetts State Representative Joan Meschino.

January 6, 2023 Submitted by The Freedom House

On Thursday, October 6, 2022, Freedom House hosted its 20th annual Champions of Freedom event at the legendary Scullers Jazz Club in Boston. Back in person for the first time since 2018, the evening featured performances by renowned musician André Ward, awards presentation to extraordinary leaders working to advance economic, social and social justice in Boston; and 150 joyful donors, supporters, and community members.

Champions of Freedom honorees are recognized for their extensive work in progressing economic, social and racial justice; and the substantial impact that work has made towards advancing equity for Black and Brown youth in Boston. Katrina Shaw, former CEO at Freedom House, was presented the Legacy of Freedom award in recognition of her dedication to Freedom House throughout her 10 years of service; and the profound impact that her stewardship had on the staff, students, and families of Freedom House. This year’s honorees were Bithiah Carter (President and CEO, New England Blacks in Philanthropy); Reverend Gloria E. White- Hammond, M.D. (Co-Pastor, Bethel AME Church and Swartz Resident Practitioner in Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School); Mark Touhey (Executive Vice President, Administration and Corporate Secretary & Chief of Staff to the CEO, Liberty Mutual Insurance); Pastor Ray Hammond (Co-Pastor, Bethel AME Church); Tanisha Sullivan (President, NAACP Boston and Associate General Counsel, Sanofi Genzyme); Tom O’Reilly (President, Pine Manor College); Katrina Shaw (Senior Program Officer, Liberty Mutual Foundation).

(L-R) Friends of freedom house and Tom O’Reilly: Tim Codrington (Fidelity Investments), Peter Kelly (President of Boston Latin School Association), Andrea Encarnacao Martin (City Year Trustee), Nicole Dumas (Boston College), President Tom O’Reilly, Charmaine Higgins (exec. Dir. Trinity Boston Connect), Rachel Skerrit (Head of School Emerita of Boston Latin School), and Rashaun Martin (Trustee USS Constitution Museum)

Tom O’Reilly, a Hingham resident and lifelong advocate for quality education for all, was recognized for his extensive work in progressing equity in higher education; and the substantial impact that work has made towards advancing educational opportunities for Black and Brown youth of Boston. President of Pine Manor College serving one of the nation’s most diverse student populations according to U.S. News & World Report with a demographic of 85% students of color, 84% first in their families to attend college, 80% low-income, and 50% multi-lingual, Tom was instrumental in the groundbreaking Student Success Coach model partnership with Freedom House and the visionary launching of the Pine Manor Institute for Student Success at Boston College, currently endowed with more than $100 million and focused on educating traditionally underrepresented first-generation low-income students.

The evening was abuzz with intergenerational guests from diverse backgrounds and sectors across Boston; all showing support for Freedom House’s transformational work advancing equity for Black, Brown, and Immigrant youth in Boston through education and leadership opportunities. Freedom House scholars were prominently celebrated throughout the event. In some of the most powerful moments of the evening, scholars shared remarkable stories of the challenges and achievements on their journey to college. Obstacles of housing insecurity and the difficulties of immigrant integration could not overshadow the remarkable academic and personal triumphs achieved by the scholars. During the event, student scholarship recipients from the 2021-22 school year were also recognized. In celebrating the presentation of these 10 scholarships to Freedom.

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