Ellis Benefit Party Returned in Style After Three Years!

Updated: Nov 9










Lauren Cook (left) and Coleen Dinneen (right) Amy O'Leary (left) and Sunday Taylor (right)

Celebrating Ellis and the Power of Childcare was more magical and successful than we even hoped! The ideal mix of extraordinary guests and honorees, fun music, delicious food and cocktails, and a meaningful program showcased Ellis’s value to our community in a most uplifting way. – Lauren B. Cook, Chief Executive Officer


On October 27, over 200 people gathered for a fun and festive evening, Celebrating Ellis and the Power of Childcare. This annual fundraising party, which went online during the pandemic, returned to its celebratory form, with music, cocktails, buffet stations, and many opportunities for people to gather, talk and enjoy each other’s company. The room was abuzz! People were happy to be together again and happy to celebrate the power and joy that is Ellis.


The presentations were inspiring and moving. CEO, Lauren Cook thanked the many people and organizations who have supported Ellis in the past year. The long list of those thanked demonstrated the breadth and depth of Ellis’s support among key players in government, business, and major foundations.


A new video, “Discover Ellis,” captured the spirit of the school and the infectious joy of Ellis's children playing and learning together.


Chris Shumate spoke personally of how Ellis provided his children, who are of color, with a diverse environment more nurturing and inclusive than anything he had encountered before. When his children were accepted into Ellis from a waiting list of hundreds, Shumate and his wife decided on the spot to enroll them. “My kids were happy before, but Ellis is so much better and has more than lived up to its incredible reputation,” Shumate said.


The Ellis benefit always honors a key player helping to achieve high quality, equitable, and affordable early childhood education. This year honored two “Shero” change agents, one from the public and one from the private sector.



Krissy Davis (left) and Jeri Robinson (right)

Jeri Robinson, now the chair of the Boston Public Schools Committee, has over 40 years of experience in early childhood and museum education. She was Vice President of Early Childhood Initiatives at the Boston Children’s Museum and co-founder of the Boston Cultural Collaborative for Early Learning. A heartfelt video from Mayor Michelle Wu, who had hoped to attend in person, praised Robinson’s decades of success in improving outcomes for Boston’s children. In Mayor Wu’s place, Kristin McSwain, Head of the City of Boston's Office for Early Childhood presented the award.


Krissy Davis, a former Ellis Board of Directors member, has been a Deloitte consultant for 24 years. She is the first woman to lead Deloitte’s US Investment Management Sector and is the former leader of Deloitte’s Women’s Initiative in New England. Davis is currently the Board Chair of the Summit Montessori School and a member of the United Way Board of Directors. Thanks to her, Deloitte Tax Partner Erin Hotaling has joined the Ellis Board of Directors. Coleen Downs Dinneen, Ellis board chair and co-chair of the benefit presented the award, in a deeply emotional moment for Davis.


Councilor Ed Flynn (left), Robert Lewis, Jr. (center), and Jim Geraghty (right)


The benefit is always an essential event in the Ellis calendar, both because it cements the community in meaningful ways, and because it raises significant funds to support Ellis’s essential programs. This year’s benefit showed the power of live community events to inspire donors. The bidding, run by Robert Lewis, Jr., President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, quickly met the challenge of an anonymous $25,000 matching grant, raising $93,000 from over 75 donors.


The evening raised over $450,000, including $186,000 from the Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and the Host Committee members. Ellis is deeply grateful to these volunteer leaders and the Corporate Partners for their generous contributions that make an indelible difference for our youngest and most curious learners.


The party was held at the Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, across the street from Ellis in a beautiful old building, and long a special neighbor. The hello to friends of Ellis old and new was also a goodbye to the Institute, which will move to Nubian Square, where it will expand and better serve its community of students.


A special thanks to our Host Committee and Corporate Partners.







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