Framingham, MA – May 9th, 2018. The annual Seize the Dream gala honors area leaders and volunteers who have demonstrated an unfailing commitment and personal dedication to supporting vulnerable children, families, and senior adults in the local community and beyond.
At this year’s event, the 28th annual Seize the Dream Gala at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham, MA, JFS of Metrowest was proud to honor 5 individuals for their continued work, generosity, and dedication to supporting those who are vulnerable in our community. We were especially proud to introduce the inaugural Max Michelson Humanitarian Award given to Andrew Tarsy, for his years of social justice work. Most recently Andrew has worked closely with JFS’ Syrian Refugee Humanitarian Project that helped Syrian refugees get on their feet in the local community, after surviving such a terrible humanitarian disaster.
This year’s group of honorees is truly special, with each individual making a significant impact on our local community, empowering those who need it, and inspiring others to help the community grow moving forwards.
Andrew Tarsy is a distinguished leader in the social justice arena, professionally and personally. Andrew has been senior adviser to the JFS Syrian Refugee Humanitarian Project from its very start. Andrew was the 2017 keynote speaker for the Diane and Chester Black Lecture for Volunteerism and Civic Engagement at the JFS Annual Meeting. He chairs the Racial Justice Initiative at Temple Israel of Boston and is a docent at the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston.
Andrew is Founder and Principal of Emblem Strategic, a consulting firm that helps exceptional business leaders turn their values and their vision into impact and advantage. Andrew draws on years of experience as an executive and advisor in business, government and the non-profit sector. He was President of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, Executive Director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, and Co-Founder and President of the Alliance for Business Leadership.
Andrew lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children.
Dana and Dan Finn are community leaders and volunteers whose support in the community is far-reaching.
Dana has volunteered with numerous organizations including CJP and the Parent Association Leadership Council, and currently co-chairs the Enrichment Program at the Riverbend School in Natick. Prior to leaving the workforce to care for her growing family, Dana was a public relations executive at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Dan served as treasurer on the Board of Directors of JFS, is a member of the Investment Committee at CJP, and Dan currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Riverbend School in Natick. Dan is a Family Wealth Director and co-founded The Insignia Group at Morgan Stanley where he has been recognized by the Financial Times as one of the top Financial Advisors in the country in 2015 and 2016.
Dana and Dan are committed to positively impacting community organizations by supporting JFS, CJP, MWJDS, Dana Farber, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and The Riverbend School. They live in Natick with their three children and are members of Temple Beth Shalom in Needham.
Allison and Brad Kates are passionate about helping people who have the desire to help themselves and believe in working within the community to improve lives.
Allison serves on the executive committee of JFS, where she has devoted her time to developing programs aimed to help children and families. In addition, Allison donates her time to Cradles to Crayons and serves as the ambassador for Wayland. She is active in the PTO at both of her kids’ schools, is a member of the Early Childhood Advisory Board, and is in her third year serving on the board of the Wayland Child and Parents Association, currently as Community Outreach Coordinator.
Brad is CEO of Opinion Dynamics, a consulting firm that specializes in enegy services and market research. He currently serves on the Board of Lasell College, where he also leads the Marketing Committee. He is a sought-after speaker, having spoken at events ranging from CNN and Time Magazine’s Politics Summit, to the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Environment’s Summer Study. He also served on the Association of Energy Service Professionals Board of Directors for over a decade, including serving as chair of the association for two years.
Allison and Brad live in Wayland with their two sons, Spencer (10) and Alex (4). They are forever grateful to Brad’s parents for introducing them to JFS of Metrowest and hope that they have instilled in their own children a desire to donate their time and their resources to help those less fortunate.
These honorees set an inspiring example and gave passionate speeches about their volunteerism, activism, and generosity. Their great work was emulated by the generosity of the crowd who responded fervently to the programs and emotions of the event.
This year’s event was an elegant affair with 450 guests enjoying delicious food from 17 caterers and restaurants and live music by the jazz ensemble DOWSHU. The event also featured a robust online auction, with 70+ products ranging from concert tickets to sports memorabilia and everything in between.
The next Seize the Dream Gala will be Sunday April 28th, 2019 at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham MA.
About JFS of Metrowest
JFS is a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to standing up for those left behind, serving over 5,000 people within the Metrowest and Greater Boston regions each year. The proceeds of the Seize the Dream event support a wide variety of programs including extended-day tutoring for at-risk children, nutrition assistance for low-income families and support services that enable frail older adults to live independently. JFS’ sound fiscal management practices have earned it a 4-star rating (with a perfect score of 100!) from Charity Navigator America’s largest independent charity evaluator. To learn more about JFS, visit