For all of YOU a word of encouragement – Andrew’s WIHED Award remarks, 9/20/2016

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by Andrew DeFranza

Harborlight Community Partners’, Andrew DeFranza, was among those honored at the  Women’s  Institute for  Housing and Economic Development (WIHED),  35th Anniversary Annual Meeting on September 20th. The following are  Andrew’s acceptance remarks as the recipient of WIHED’s  2016  Anne Gelbspan Partners in Community Award.

On behalf of HCP thank you for having us here.   It is an honor to receive this award and be mentioned with Ann Gelpsban.

Anne Gelbspan and Andrew DeFranza
Anne Gelbspan and Andrew DeFranza

Thank you to our staff who are the ones who work out our missional commitments day after day.

Thank you to our Board who invest their time, money and networks into this effort.

Thank you to our residents and supporters, our community leaders, and partners like The Life Initiative, and the ever courageous Kristin Harol.

Thank you especially to our friends at WIHED.

As I am fortunate to be here tonight in the wonderful company of my ten year old daughter it is a joy for me to introduce her to such smart, bold, missional, and strong leaders. Thank you all for that. Let’s hope for more glass ceilings to be broken in the near term so she can see more possibilities, and dream bigger dreams.

For all of YOU a word of encouragement.

It is not easy ¦this work we all do together. Some days are harder than others, but you do it anyway.

Not simple, but critical. All of you in your efforts are making a large impact on people who need you. People you may never meet but who count on you.

All of you are a part of making sure that important members of our society are not economically excluded.

When you review those plans, negotiate the price on credits, solve that construction problem, build community well, host that neighborhood meeting, and advocate for better policies (like by-right multi family zoning), when you do this you are making homes for seniors, families and people with disabilities. Not easy.

You do that WIHED, and you are doing it well.

When we were kids my mother in an effort to prioritize what is good used to say, Andrew, you make that shirt look good.  It is in our humanity, our souls, that the good is present, Not in the packaging. The one derives its good from the other was the point.

In that same vein I would say to all of you ¦. You make this mission look good. 

Here is to you. May you have the courage, patience, and endurance to carry this mission on.

About  the Anne Gelspan Partners in Community Award (from WIHED):  

The Partners in Community Award has been created to honor our beloved colleague, Anne Gelbspan. Anne retired at the end of 2011 after working with the Women’s Institute for over twenty years, creating much-needed housing for homeless and at-risk families and partnering with countless organizations and communities in Massachusetts. Anne’s commitment to her work, partners, and industry reached far beyond the many affordable housing projects she shepherded to reality. For her, it was not only the unit-count of the much-needed housing we created. Anne’s vision looked further to how we truly create community  ”bringing people, partners, organizations, and towns together in a common purpose to offer greater opportunity for all. Never one to rest, even in retirement, Anne continues this convening work today in her home community of Jamaica Plain. The Women’s Institute is proud to honor the work and spirit of our long-time friend by recognizing others with a like-minded vision and excellence in their own communities.