The Greater Lowell Community Foundation honored some of the Merrimack Valley’s finest volunteers and philanthropists on Thursday during their annual “Celebrate Giving” event at the Westford Regency.
One of those volunteers honored was a Westford resident and her award was just one bright spot for Westford on the evening.
That resident, Forge Village’s Nancy Cook, was named as the GLCF’s Volunteer of the Year due in large part to her efforts this year leading a group that raised $50,000 for suicide prevention efforts, much of which she raised on her own.
The effort wasn’t the first volunteering initiative led by Cook, who had been involved in various projects around town ranging from commemorating 9/11 and the Westford Knight to helping terminally ill cancer patients.
“I am incredibly humbled by being chosen for this by people who donate their time,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed.”
One of Cook’s next projects will be a grant announced during the evening by one of her mentors, Patti Mason.
Mason, along with Cook, Dan Bush, Cheryl Serpe and Robert Waskiewicz announced the creation of the Westford Fund, a new non-profit group designed to help foster other non-profit efforts in Westford.
Mason, who now serves as one of the Program Advisory Board members for the GLCF, announced the creation of the fund at the event.
“We have to leave the money in the fund for about a year, and then we’ll send out grants,” said Mason. “Enterprise Bank has helped us start the fund and now we hope to get some funding from others.”
Mason, a former director of the Roudenbush Community Center, also challenged new donors, saying that she would match any donations up to $5,000.
The evening also saw the GLCF give $7,500 to the Roudenbush for the purpose of bringing new performing artists to town, specifically for events at the Roudenbush and Parish Center for the Arts.
“This is just a wonderful, wonderful thing for the community, not just the Roudenbush, but the community at large, That goes beyond Westford. ” said Roudenbush Director Pattie Pichette. “The opportunities to bring arts and culture to what it’s beyond now. I was talking with (Patti) Mason about our mission, and when you bring arts into a community, it doesn’t just survive, it flourishes.”
The GLCF also honored Boston Strong co-founder Christopher Dobens and Anton’s Cleaners founder Arthur Anton Sr. in an evening that celebrated the creative economy.
For GLCF Deputy Director George Nugent, the evening helped highlight various non-profit groups and volunteers, something Westford seemed to have in abundance.
“I think that you’ll find anywhere there are people who want to give time or money or in kind support for various causes,” he said. “But I think the event speaks to the people in Westford and their generosity and their community.”
CORRECTION: It’s Pattie Pichette, not Patty. Also Mason is a member of the Program Advisory Board, not the general board.