GLCF Awards $150K in Additional Grants to Address Mental Health Needs

LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) announced it deployed a new round of COVID-19 related grants, providing an additional $150,000 to seven nonprofits in Greater Lowell addressing mental health needs. These grants were part of the latest round of distributions from the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
Grants were determined through a competitive process with community members serving on the selection committee. GLCF solicited applications from nonprofits and local programs addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in Greater Lowell.
“GLCF received more than $700K in grant requests for this cycle – the needs are enormous as the community deals with the mental health implications of COVID-19,” said GLCF president & CEO Jay Linnehan. “We are grateful to our volunteer selection committee that used their collective expertise to review many worthy applications to make some hard decisions relating to grant funding.”
The seven nonprofits receiving grants to address mental health needs are:
  • Adolescent Consultation Services (Cambridge) for Direct Mental Health Services for Court-Involved Children in Greater Lowell - $25,000
  • Alternative House (Lowell) for Support for Child Survivors - $15,000
  • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Billerica for Club Social Worker - $50,000
  • International Institute of New England (Lowell) for Lowell Refugee Youth Mental Health Initiative - $30,000
  • ThinkGive (Concord) for SEL program expansion to five Greater Lowell sites serving under-resourced youth in 2022–2023 - $5,000
  • UTEC (Lowell) for Improving mental health for proven-risk adolescents - $20,000
  • Westford Health Department for applying under the shared grant service NorthWest Coalition (Lowell, Westford, Acton, and Dracut) Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings - $15,084
Among the grants funded, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Billerica received a grant to support a club social worker. “Mental Health is often overlooked, young people, today, more than ever, are facing pressures, stress and other mental health issues, post pandemic,” said Michelle Vichot, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Billerica for Club Social Worker. “We are so grateful to GLCF for their impactful generosity as we work on this critical issue together.”
Additionally, International Institute of New England received a recent $30,000 grant for their program: Lowell Refugee Youth Mental Health Initiative. “IINE has special programming for refugee youth and this grant support of our Lowell Refugee Youth Mental Health Initiative will allow us to add new strategies and resources to better support their healing from experiences of forced migration and other early traumas,” said Alexandra Weber, LICSW, Senior Vice President, International Institute of New England. “GLCF's support will allow us to better educate staff, youth, and parents on risk and protective factors to promote youth emotional well-being.”
Since March of 2019, through grants from the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and the Massachusetts COVID Relief Fund, the foundation has supported more than 140 local nonprofit organizations with grants totaling over $7 million. 
Established in 1997, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) is a philanthropic organization comprised of more than 400 funds dedicated to improving the quality of life in 21 neighboring cities and towns. With financial assets of more than $55 million, GLCF annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students. It is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from Foundation staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $35 million to the Greater Lowell community.
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Parker School Opens 2023-24 Enrollment Season

DEVENS: Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School announced the enrollment season for the 2023-2024 academic year is now open. Parker is a free public charter school open by lottery to students entering grades 7, 8 and 9. Applications can be submitted online at until February 1, 2023. The lottery will be held on February 7, 2023 at 4pm. All application, lottery, and enrollment regulations, as outlined in the enrollment policy will be followed.

In addition, Parker has limited openings in grades 7 and 9 for mid-year entry during the current (2022-23) school year. There are no openings in grade 8 for the 2022-23 school year at this time. Applications for the current school year can be submitted online and will be accepted until January 4, 2023. If more applications are received than there are available spaces, a lottery will be drawn on January 12, 2023 at 4pm. Enrollment offers will be made with an intended start date of the first day of second semester (January 24, 2023).

Parker Charter School educates 400 students in grades 7-12 from more than 40 towns in Massachusetts. Founded in 1995, Parker is committed to the principles of progressive education—inclusive community, low student-teacher ratio, project-based learning, and promotion based on mastery of core intellectual skills. Learn more at Sign up for an information session at

FINANCIAL FOCUS: What to Know about Sustainable Investing

December 6, 2022
You may have heard about “sustainable investing.”  But if you're not familiar with it, you may have some questions: What does it involve? Is it right for me? Can I follow a sustainable investing strategy and still get the portfolio performance I need to reach my goals?

Sustainable investing can be defined in different ways, with different terminologies. However, one way to look at a sustainable approach is by thinking of it as investing in a socially conscious way which may involve two broad categories: environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and values-based investing.

As its name suggests, ESG investing incorporates a broad range of environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, along with traditional financial measures, when making investment decisions. This approach may have a neutral impact on performance because it maintains a focus on managing risk, traditional fundamental analysis and diversification. Here's a quick look at the ESG elements:

    • Environmental – Companies  may work to reduce carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy, decrease pollution and conserve water resources.
    • Social – A business  may promote gender and pay equality within its workforce, and maintain positive labor relations and safe working conditions for employees.
    • Governance – Companies distinguished by good governance may institute strong ethics policies, provide transparent financial reporting and set policies to ensure it has an independent, objective board of directors.

You can pursue an ESG investing approach through individual stocks, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which hold a variety of investments similar to mutual funds, but are generally passively managed – that is, they do little or no trading. As an ESG investor, you don't necessarily have to sacrifice performance because ESG investments generally fare about as well as the wider investment universe. Some investments may even gain from the ESG approach. For example, a company that invests in renewable energy may benefit from the move away from fossil fuel sources.

Now, let's move on to values-based investing. When you follow a values-based approach, you can focus on specific themes where you may choose to include or exclude certain types of investments that align with your personal values.

So, you could refrain from investing in segments of the market, such as tobacco or firearms, or in companies that engage in certain business practices, such as animal testing. On the other hand, you could actively seek out investments that align with your values. For instance, if you’re interested in climate change, you could invest in a mutual fund or ETF that contains companies in the solar or clean energy industries.

One potential limitation of values-based investing is that it may decrease the diversification of your portfolio and lead to materially lower returns due to narrowly focused investments, prioritization of non-financial goals and too many exclusions.

Ultimately, if you choose to include a sustainable investing approach, you will want – as you do in any investing scenario – to choose those investments that are suitable for your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.

If sustainable investing interests you, give it some thought – you may find it rewarding to match your money with your beliefs.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA. - Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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Holiday Events at The Brush Art Gallery & Studios

LOWELL: The Brush Art Gallery & Studios is located in a former silk manufacturing building in the Lowell National Historical Park and was the first to have open working artist studios.  It was originally founded by the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission of the US Department of the Interior in 1982, and just celebrated its 40th anniversary in August. There are museum quality exhibitions, educational programs, and collaborations with many other non-profit groups.  There are currently eleven artists who produce paintings, illustrations, photography, jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, quilts, and handwoven items.
The Annual Members' Exhibition includes artist members of The Brush Art Gallery & Studios and the New England Sculptors Association.  This year, small works were encouraged because they make great gifts.  The free exhibition runs through December 23, with a reception on December 10, from 2-4pm.  Refreshments will be served.
On December 9, from 11am-2pm, the annual Soup & Shop will be held.  Enjoy a hot cup of a variety of home-made soups while you walk around and view the open studios and meet the artists.
On December 17 and 18 from 12-4pm, the annual Sugar & Spice Holiday Marketplace will be held.  Enjoy cookies and pick up any last minute gifts you may have on your list.
The Brush Art Gallery & Studios is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is supported by the Lowell National Historical Park.  They are located behind the National Park Visitor Center in Downtown Lowell at 256 Market Street.  The gallery is handicap accessible and validated parking is available at the HCID Parking Garage, located off Dutton Steet.  For more information, please call (978) 459-7819 or visit
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Theater Lovers - Join MRT Ushering Team!

LOWELL: If you enjoy live plays with professional actors, consider becoming a volunteer usher at the Merrimack Repertory Theater. It's an opportunity to meet great people, see great shows for free and receive complimentary ticket vouchers to share with friends. Volunteers are also invited to seasonal parties and special events. Ushering volunteers must be 16 and older, willing to wear black and white and to usher at least two performances of their choice of the many day and evening times. Free parking provided and no need to drive to Boston for top quality entertainment. You are invited to usher once to try it out! Learn more by visiting or contact House Manager John Dyson at for more information.
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Supporting Someone with a Mental Health Condition?

The Family to Family course from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) could prove helpful to you. This is a free, evidence-based, weekly, eight-session virtual course for family members and friends of individuals living with mental health conditions. Topics include understanding the symptoms of mental health conditions, learning about treatments and therapies, practicing communication and problem-solving skills, creating a positive team approach, and self-care. Importantly, the course offers family members the invaluable opportunity of open conversation and mutual support in a stigma-free environment. The class is taught by NAMI trained family members from the local NAMI Central Middlesex affiliate. The course will meet Mondays via Zoom, starting January 16, 6-8:30pm.  Registration is required. Go to for additional information, the registration link, and more course offerings. To converse with one of the teachers, contact Patti at; (978) 621-1065 or Lindsay at; (781) 864-7003.
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Annual Holiday Concert at Chelmsford Senior Center

NORTH CHELMSFORD: Ring in the season with the Chelmsford Community Concert Band as they present a program guaranteed to fire up your holiday spirit.  Led by director Eric Linsner, they will close out their 50th year of performing for Chelmsford’s community members with a festive concert at 2pm on December 11, at the Chelmsford Senior Center at 75 Groton Road.  
This year’s concert will feature a solo vocal performance by Emily Caissie, a junior from Tyngsboro High School, and select songs performed jointly with the Carlisle Community Chorus.  The Carlisle Community Chorus is directed by Amanda Kern and is in its 12th year.

The band members will also share holiday sweets, baked goods, and drinks throughout the show.  This is a fantastic opportunity for families to enjoy live music together in a relaxed atmosphere.  Admission is always free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help support expenses like the band’s rehearsal space and sheet music purchases.  Suggested donations at the door are $10 for children and seniors and $20 for others.

The Chelmsford Community Band has a 60-piece Concert Band and a 20-piece Jazz Ensemble made of dedicated volunteer musicians and they have been bringing live musical performances to this community for 50 years.  Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and find them online at

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Protect Financial Accounts From “Cyberthieves”

November 29, 2022
Cybercrime is booming. In 2021, the FBI reported that cybercriminals scammed nearly $7 billion from Americans — a figure slightly higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Switzerland for that year, according to research organization World Economics. How can you protect yourself from cyberthieves? Here are some suggestions that can help:
  • Watch out for “phishing” attempts. You may receive emails that appear to be from a legitimate firm, requesting information your financial institution would never request online — confirmation of an account number, password, Social Security number, credit card number and so on. These notes can look official, often incorporating a firm’s logo, so pay close attention to what’s being asked of you.
  • Think twice before clicking or downloading. If you are suspicious about a communication, don’t click on a link or download an attachment — instead, go to your financial firm’s website or use their app to verify they sent the information or request.
  • Become adept with passwords. Use a different password for each of your accounts and change your passwords regularly. Of course, maintaining multiple passwords can be confusing, so you might want to consider using password management software, which generates passwords, stores them in an encrypted database and locks them behind a master password — which is the only one you’ll need to remember.
  • Use your own devices. Try to avoid using public computers or devices that aren’t yours to access your financial accounts. If you do use another computer, clear your browsing history after you log out of your account.
  • Be cautious about using Wi-Fi when traveling. When you’re on the road, you may want to use public hotspots, such as wireless networks in airports and hotels. But many people don’t realize that these hotspots reduce their security settings to make access easier, which, in turn, makes it easier for cyberthieves to intercept your information. In fact, some hackers even build their own public hotspots to draw in internet-seekers in an effort to commit theft. So, if at all possible, wait until you can access a trusted, encrypted network before engaging in any communications or activity involving your financial accounts.
  • Don’t give up control of your computer. Under no circumstances should you provide remote access to your computer to a stranger who contacts you, possibly with an offer to help “disinfect” your computer. If you do think your device has an issue with malicious software, contact a legitimate technician for assistance.
  • Know whom you’re calling for help. If you need assistance from, say, a customer service area of a financial institution, make sure you know the phone number is accurate and legitimate — possibly one from a billing or confirmation statement. Some people have been scammed by Googling “support” numbers that belonged to fraudsters who asked for sensitive information.
  • Review all correspondence with your financial services provider. Keep a close eye on your account activity and statements. If you see mistakes or unauthorized activity in your account, contact your financial institution immediately.

Advanced technology has brought many benefits, but also many more opportunities for financial crimes. By taking the above steps, and others that may be needed, you can go a long way toward defending yourself against persistent and clever cyberthieves.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Preston Carbone, Westford, MA  -, Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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Annual Holiday Faire and Festival at Aldersgate

CHELMSFORD: The Aldersgate United Methodist Church CHelmsford Faire and Festival on December 2 and 3 offers a celebration of holiday cheer with delicious homemade food, beautiful wreaths and other greenery, crafts, jewelry, a silent auction, and much more. A children’s area will provide a fun and safe place for kids to make their own crafts and decorate cookies while the grown-ups shop. Aldersgate is located at 242 Boston Road (Route 4). For more information, contact the church office at (978) 256-9400 or or visit or Hours are Friday, 1-8pm, and Saturday, 10am-2pm. Bidding for the silent auction ends at noon on Saturday.

Houses for Hunger Needs Gingerbread Builders!

CHELMSFORD: Houses for Hunger needs gingerbread builders of all skill levels for the 100 Houses for Hugner Gingerbread Village & Marketplace 2022: Fairytale Magic at All Saints’ Episcopal Church.  In support of St. Paul’s soup kitchen in Lowell, you can help create a display of 100 gingerbread houses or designs to combat hunger in the city. The more houses created – the more magical the village!

Step 1: Register your building at;
Step 2: Build & decorate a house design of your choice;
Step 3: Drop off at All Saints’ by December 2.

You can choose to keep your house or raffle it off at the event on December 3 froom  1-5pm, and December 4 from 3-7pm.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Time for New Year’s Financial Resolutions

November 22, 2022
It’s that time of year when many of us promise ourselves we’ll go to the gym more, or learn a new language, or take up a musical instrument, or any number of other worthy goals. But this year, when making New Year’s resolutions, why not also consider some financial ones? Here are a few to consider:

Don’t let inflation derail your investment strategy. As you know, inflation was the big financial story of 2022, hitting a 40-year high. And while it may moderate somewhat this year, it will likely still be higher than what we experienced the past decade or so. Even so, it’s a good idea to try not to let today’s inflation harm your investment strategy for the future. That happened last year: More than half of American workers either reduced their contributions to their 401(k)s and other retirement plans or stopped contributing completely during the third quarter of 2022, according to a survey by Allianz Life Insurance of North America. Of course, focusing on your cash flow needs today is certainly understandable, but are there other ways you can free up some money, such as possibly lowering your spending, so you can continue contributing to your retirement accounts? It’s worth the effort because you could spend two or three decades as a retiree.

Control your debts. Inflation can also be a factor in debt management. For example, your credit card debt could rise due to rising prices and variable credit card interest rate increases. By paying your bill each month, you can avoid the effects of rising interest rates. If you do carry a balance, you might be able to transfer it to a lower-rate card, depending on your credit score. And if you’re carrying multiple credit cards, you might benefit by getting a fixed-rate debt consolidation loan. In any case, the lower your debt payments, the more you can invest for your long-term goals.

Review your investment portfolio. At least once a year, you should review your investment portfolio to determine if it’s still appropriate for your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. But be careful not to make changes just because you feel your recent performance is not what it should have been. When the financial markets are down, as was the case for most of 2022, even quality investments, such as stocks of companies with solid business fundamentals and strong prospects, can see declines in value. But if these investments are still suitable for your portfolio, you may want to keep them. 

 • Prepare for the unexpected. If you encountered a large unexpected expense, such as the need for a major home repair, how would you pay for it? If you didn’t have the money readily available, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments or retirement accounts. To prevent this, you should build an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses — or a year’s worth, if you’re retired — with the money kept in a low-risk, liquid account. 

These  resolutions can be useful — so try to put them to work in 2023.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor James Normington, AAMS, Westford, MA - Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Holiday Open House and Kitty Angels Fundraising Weekend November 5 & 6

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AMHERST, NH: Mark your calendars! Treasures Antiques, Collectables & MORE!, located at 106 Ponemah Road will be hosting their 32nd Annual Holiday Open House and Kitty Angels Fundraising weekend on November 5 and 6. Festivities for the weekend will run both days from 10am-4pm and include Holiday inspired shopping, raffles and entertainment. This annual event has been a mainstay in the community since 1991 and features Kitty Angels, Inc. along with several live musical entertainers, including: Wildwood, Jeff Damon, North Sound Duo, Jensing and Sunset Rhythm!

This Holiday and Fundraiser event is pet and kid friendly and will offer special sales for all, inside and out. B’s Grumman Grub offers a unique array of hot and cold food, as well as several beverages. A petting zoo with horse and pony rides will be provided by Mapledell Farms of Townsend. and Trading Faces, LLC, a face painting, body art and airbrushing professional with their remarkable “Transformation Station.” The weekend will also showcase some artists and artisans, crafters, professionals and specialty food vendors. Look for artist Lori-Ellen Budenas of Respect the Wood!, a creator of abstract paintings, coasters, trivets and more, Baboosic Lake Gourds, Heart’s Design Jewelry, Happy Cat Creations, Vinyl Revival, Dusty Finds, SoGo Metal Art, Anthony Acres, Damsel in Defense, Color Street, Baby Snuggz, Heavenly Goddess, Fudge & Stuff, Fiber Art by Eve Huston, Custom Care Designs, Gubbies Boutique and many more.

Treasures will also be offering a number of fun and exciting raffles, with prizes donated by local and national businesses. These prizes will include a Hotel get-a-way weekend at Homewood Suites by Hilton/Nashua, a “Chain-sawed” green frog carving, created by Sara of NorthStar Sculptures/Chainsaw Chix, an ARUBACAT cat tree and other cat and dog related items, jewelry, specialty food packages, and an assortment of other fun and exciting prizes.

Kitty Angels, Inc., a no-kill cat shelter is made up of all unpaid volunteers and is dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned cats and furnishing them with treatment for injuries or other health issues. These cats are then placed into life-long, loving “forever homes” with compatible owners. All necessary steps are taken to ensure the wellbeing of the cats, including spaying and neutering and providing rabies, distemper and other necessary vaccinations. They are a non-profit, charitable corporation and all donations are fully tax-deductible with every penny of each donation going directly to the care of these cats.

Please join Treasures and Kitty Angels, in friendship and the spirit of giving and sharing the Holidays. For more information, visit and

FINANCIAL FOCUS: COLA is Sweet for Social Security Recipients

October 24, 2022
If you receive Social Security, you’ve probably already heard that your checks in 2023 will be bigger – considerably bigger, in fact. How can you make the best use of this extra money? Here’s what’s happening:

For 2023, there’s an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits – the largest increase in 40 years. Also, the monthly Medicare Part B premiums are declining next year, to $164.90/month from $170.10/month, which will also modestly boost Social Security checks for those enrolled in Part B, as these premiums are automatically deducted.

Of course, the sizable COLA is due to the high inflation of 2022, as the Social Security Administration uses a formula based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). So, it’s certainly possible that you will need some, or perhaps all, of your larger checks to pay for the increased cost of goods and services. But if your cash flow is already relatively strong, you might want to consider these suggestions for using your bigger checks:

Reduce withdrawals from your investment portfolio. When you’re retired, you will likely need to withdraw a certain amount from your portfolio each year to meet your expenses. A boost in your Social Security may enable you to withdraw less, at least for a year. This can be particularly advantageous when the markets are down, as you’d like to avoid, as much as possible, selling investments and withdrawing the money when investment prices are low. And the fewer investments you need to sell, the longer your portfolio may last during your retirement years.

Help build your cash reserves. When you’re retired, it’s a good idea to maintain about a year’s worth of the amount you’ll spend from your portfolio in cash, while also keeping three months’ of your spending needs in an emergency fund, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. Your higher Social Security checks could help you build these cash reserves. (Also, it’s helpful to keep another three to five years’ worth of spending from your portfolio in short-term, fixed-income investments, which now, due to higher interest rates, offer better income opportunities.)

Contribute to a 529 plan. You could use some of your extra Social Security money to contribute to a tax-advantaged 529 education savings plan for your grandchildren or other family members. 

Contribute to charitable organizations. You might want to use some of your Social Security money to expand your charitable giving. Your generosity will help worthy groups and possibly bring you some tax benefits, too.

While it’s nice to have these possible options in 2023, you can’t count on future COLA increases being as large. The jump in inflation in 2022 was due to several unusual factors, including pandemic-related government spending, supply shortages and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s quite possible, perhaps even likely, that inflation will subside in 2023, which, in turn, would mean a smaller COLA bump in 2024.

Nonetheless, while you might not want to include large annual COLA increases as part of your long-term financial strategy, you may well choose to take advantage, in some of the ways described above, of the bigger Social Security checks you’ll receive in 2023. When opportunity knocks, you may want to open the door. 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Gerald Breen, Acton, MA -
Edward Jones. Member SIPC.
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GLCF Annual Celebrate Giving Event Highlights the Power of Philanthropy with Awards and Panel

LOWELL: Recently, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation hosted its annual Celebrate Giving event at UTEC. The event featured panelists: Nancy Huntington Stager, President & Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Bank Foundation; Sophy Theam, Trustee of the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation and DEI and Leadership Program Specialist at Enterprise Bank; John Flanagan, Senior Director, Westford Corporate Citizenship for Red Hat; and Siddhi Shah Cheong, Head of Strategy Development, MilliporeSigma and representing the Shruti N. Shah Memorial Scholarship Fund. The panel moderated by GLCF’s president and CEO Jay Linnehan, discussed creating change in the community, the transformational effect of giving time, talent, and treasure, and the future of philanthropy.

WinnCompanies. a proven housing partner in the greater Lowell community, received the 2022 GLCF Business Philanthropy Partner Award for their exemplary work collaborating with people during the pandemic to help keep them in their homes, treating them with respect and dignity. Lawrence H. Curtis, the President and Managing Partner of WinnDevelopment and member of the Board of Directors of WinnCompanies accepted the award.

The 2022 Steven Joncas Community Connector Award recipient was Bopha Malone, of Bedford, Interim Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell. The award recognizes an individual or organization in our community that has advanced the power of philanthropy in Greater Lowell. Malone’s dedication to serving local nonprofits was highlighted with this award.

This year, the inaugural GLCF Newell Flather Legacy Fund Grant was awarded to Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA) for Health Access Programming in Lowell. The  Newell Flather Legacy Fund was established by the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation in 2022 at GLCF to support nonprofit projects focused on the arts, immigrant, and refugee communities, and/or advancing equity and inclusion in the city of Lowell. CBA received a grant of $12,500 for their program.

To learn more about the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, visit

PHOTO: Lawrence H. Curtis, the president and managing partner of WinnDevelopment, with GLCF’s Jay Linnehan, received the 2022 GLCF Business Philanthropy Partner Award at GLCF’s Celebrate Giving event.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: When Should You Adjust Your Investment Mix?

November 15, 2022
There are no shortcuts to investment success – you need to establish a long-term strategy and stick with it. This means that you’ll want to create an investment mix based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon – and then regularly review this mix to ensure it’s still meeting your needs. In fact, investing for the long term doesn’t necessarily mean you should lock your investments in forever. Throughout your life, you'll likely need to make some changes.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and there’s no prescribed formula of when and how you should adjust your investments. But some possibilities may be worth considering. For example, a few years before you retire, you may want to re-evaluate your risk exposure and consider moving part of your portfolio into a more risk-averse position. When you were decades away from retiring, you may have felt more comfortable with a more aggressive positioning because you had time to “bounce back” from any market downturns. But as you near retirement, it may make sense to lower your risk level. And as part of a move toward a reduced-risk approach, you also may want to evaluate the “cash” positions in your portfolio. When the market has gone through a decline, as has been the case in 2022, you may not want to tap into your portfolio to meet short-term and emergency needs, so having sufficient cash on hand is important. Keep in mind, though, that having too much cash on the “sidelines” may affect your ability to reach your long-term goals.

Even if you decide to adopt a more risk-averse investment position before you retire, though, you may still benefit from some growth-oriented investments in your portfolio to help you keep ahead of – or at least keep pace with – inflation. As you know, inflation has surged in 2022, but even when it’s been relatively mild, it can still erode your purchasing power significantly over time.

Changes in your own goals or circumstances may also lead you to modify your investment mix. You might decide to retire earlier or  later than you originally planned. You might even change your plans for the type of retirement you want, choosing to work part-time for a few years. Your family situation may change – perhaps you have another child for whom you’d like to save and invest for college. Any of these events could lead you to review your portfolio to find new opportunities or to adjust your risk level – or both.

You might wonder if you should also consider changing your investment mix in response to external forces, such as higher interest rates or the rise in inflation this year. It’s certainly true that these types of events can affect parts of your portfolio, but it may not be advisable to react by shuffling your investment mix. In the first place, nobody can really predict how long these forces will keep their momentum – it’s quite possible, for instance, that inflation will have subsided noticeably within a year. But more importantly, you should make investment moves based on the factors we’ve already discussed: your goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and individual circumstances.

By reviewing your portfolio regularly, possibly with the assistance of a financial professional, you can help ensure that your investment mix will always be appropriate for your needs and goals.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Alan Bell, Littleton, MA - Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

Mosaic Lowell – Creative Economy Plan Release & Barr Foundation Announcement

LOWELL: Members of Lowell’s arts and cultural community, gathered recently to celebrate the launch of the much-anticipated creative economy plan, Mosaic Lowell. The event, held in the Hall of Flags at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, marked the completion of a two-year planning process that focused on extensive community engagement and public outreach. The event also announced a $1M commitment from the Barr Foundation to support the plan’s implementation. 
The Barr Foundation was the premiere sponsor of the planning initiative, and their additional support helps ensure that the implementation phase is off to a running start. 
San San Wong, Director of Arts and Culture for the Barr Foundation, said: “At Barr, we believe that arts and creativity are essential for vibrant, vital, and engaged communities. I particularly love the Mosaic principle of DREAM BIG! Lowell has a plethora of dreamers. And, importantly, Lowell has many leaders committed to making those dreams a reality. So, to support this next phase in your journey, we’re pleased to announce a grant of $1 million to support the initial three years of Mosaic Lowell.”
Jay Linnehan, President and CEO of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, which serves as the fiscal sponsor of Mosaic Lowell, added, “This plan can transform Lowell’s cultural economy and help elevate the City as a vibrant destination for many, both near and far.”

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Avoid Becoming a ‘Burden’ on Grown Children

October 24, 2022
Here’s an interesting statistic: Some 72% of retirees say one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their families, according to a 2021 survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones. Both before and during retirement, what steps can you take to avoid burdening your loved ones in the future? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Build your retirement savings. The greater your financial resources, the less likely it becomes that you’d ever have to count on your grown children for financial support. You may have access to a 401(k) or similar retirement plan at work, so take advantage of it. Even with an employer-sponsored plan, you also may be eligible to contribute to an IRA. In addition to offering a variety of investment options, a 401(k) and IRA provide potential tax advantages. And once you do retire, be careful about how much you withdraw each year from your retirement plans and other investments.
  • Plan for health care costs. Once you are retired, health care costs will be a significant expense. You may have Medicare, but you'll also want to consider your need for supplemental health insurance to cover traditional medical costs. And you’ll want to consider another potential health-related expense: long-term care. You may never need the services of a home health aide or a stay in a nursing home, but no one can predict the future.
Medicare does not cover most costs for long-term care, which can be quite high. In 2021, the annual national median cost for a private room in a nursing home was over $108,000, while the median cost for a full-time home health aide was nearly $62,000, according to a survey by Genworth, an insurance company. You may want to consult with a financial professional on strategies for protecting yourself from these costs.
  • Create necessary legal documents. If something were to happen to you, and you didn’t have the appropriate legal documents in place, your loved ones could be placed in a bind, both financially and emotionally. That’s why it’s a good idea to create documents such as a durable financial power of attorney, which lets you name someone to manage your finances if you became incapacitated, and a durable power of attorney for health care, which allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t make them yourself. You’ll want to work with a legal professional to develop the documents appropriate for your needs.
  • Evaluate your housing needs. As you enter retirement, you may want to evaluate your living situation. Could you downsize to a smaller home, or perhaps a condominium or apartment? Not only might you save money with such a move, but you could also end up relieving your grown children of the responsibilities and hassles involved in clearing out and selling your home should you become unable to do so yourself during the later years of your retirement.

By taking these measures, along with others, you can go a long way toward maintaining your independence and putting yourself in a place where you won’t burden your grown children.  And that’s a good  place to be.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Alan Bell, AAMS ® - (978) 486-1059. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

LWV Hosts Candidates Forum

The League of Women Voters Acton-Area, Concord-Carlisle and Chelmsford will host a Candidates Forum for the 14th Middlesex District State Representative. The 14th Middlesex District Representative represents residents in portions of Acton, Concord, Chelmsford and all of Carlisle.
The forum will be held at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center, 1276 Main Street in West Concord on October 11 at 7pm. It will be recorded and available on public access channels in the 14th Middlesex District as well as League YouTube channels: and
The League of Women Voters is eager to help voters learn more about the candidates running in the November 2022 Election and provide a non-partisan forum for all candidates to be heard. The event is part of our mission to encourage the active and informed participation of all citizens in government and the electoral process. The forum is free and open to the public.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Here’s Your ‘Recession Survival’ Checklist

October 17, 2022

It’s unfortunate, but recessions are a fairly normal part of the economic landscape. When a recession occurs, how might you be affected? The answer depends on your individual situation, but regardless of your circumstances, you might want to consider the items in this recession survival checklist:
  • Assess your income stability. If your employment remains steady, you may not have to do anything different during a recession. But if you think your income could be threatened or disrupted, you might want to consider joining the “gig economy” or looking for freelance or consulting opportunities.
  • Review your spending. Look for ways to trim your spending, such as canceling subscription services you don’t use, eating out less often, and so on.
  • Pay down your debts. Try to reduce your debts, especially those with high interest rates. 
  • Plan your emergency fund. If you haven’t already built one, try to create an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid account. 
  • Review your protection plan. If your health or life insurance is tied to your work, a change in your employment status could jeopardize this coverage. Review all your options for replacing these types of protection. Also, look for ways to lower premiums on home or auto insurance, without significantly sacrificing coverage, to free up money that could be used for health/life insurance. 
  • Keep your long-term goals in mind. Even if you adjust your portfolio during times of volatility, don’t lose sight of your long-term goals. Trying to “outsmart” the market with short-term strategies can often lead to missteps and missed opportunities.  
  • Don’t stop investing. If you can afford it, try to continue investing. Coming out of a recession, stock prices tend to bottom out and then rebound, so if you had headed to the investment “sidelines,” you would have missed the opportunity to benefit from a market rally.  
  • Revisit your performance expectations. During a bear market, you will constantly be reminded of the decline of a particular market index, such as the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But instead of focusing on these short-term numbers, look instead at the long-term performance of your portfolio to determine if you’re still on track toward meeting your goals. 
  • Assess your risk tolerance. If you find yourself worrying excessively about declines in your investment statements, you may want to reevaluate your tolerance for risk. One’s risk tolerance can change over time — and it’s important you feel comfortable with the amount of risk you take when investing. 
  • Keep diversifying. Diversification is always important for investors — by having a mix of stocks, mutual funds and bonds, you can reduce the impact of market volatility on your portfolio. To cite one example: Higher-quality bonds, such as Treasuries, often move in the opposite direction of stocks, so the presence of these bonds in your portfolio, if appropriate for your goals, can be valuable when market conditions are worsening. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification cannot guarantee profits or protect against all losses in a declining market.) 

A recession accompanied by a bear market is not pleasant. But by taking the appropriate steps, you can boost your chances of getting through a difficult period and staying on track toward your important financial goals. 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA  -, Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Chelmsford Art Society Showcases Patricia Nolan-Brown

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Art Society is pleased to showcase Patricia Nolan-Brown as the first featured artist headlining at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts on October 12 at 7pm. Her creativity includes juried oil paintings, book publishing, podcasts, and is the creative genius behind several inventions, notably the rear facing carseat mirror for kids. She is a prolific international collected painter who received her BA in Art from FSU, and now works out of her Western Avenue studio in Lowell. Patricia will be demonstrating her distinctive art styles for artists, art lovers, inventors, and welcomes the general public for a Q & A in person at the CCA demo that night. For more information, visit
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Resettlement Fund Provides Critical Support to Afghan Refugees 

LOWELL: Melissa Marrama’s initial efforts to assist Afghan refugees started modestly. Last summer and fall, the Andover financial planner rallied members of area mosques to collect household items for Afghani families newly housed in Lowell-area hotels. Now, thanks to grants from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation’s Afghan Resettlement Fund, Marrama has developed a network of individuals, businesses and religious organizations throughout the Merrimack Valley focused on helping more than 400 local Afghan refugees adjust to life in the United States.

Working through the Andover Islamic Center, Marrama assists refugee families and individuals living in Greater Lowell locate permanent housing, enroll in schools, line up transportation, learn English, and find jobs.

“Our generous donors who gave to the GLCF Afghan Resettlement Fund provided area nonprofits with the critical support needed to help welcome and resettle our new Afghan neighbors,” said Jay Linnehan, GLCF’s President and CEO. “This grant funding complemented the work of local nonprofits and expanded our community’s capacity to meet the needs of Afghans who fled their homeland to come to the U.S. seeking safety.”

“I’m not a resettlement agency,” stressed Marrama. “I’m trying to build support systems for these Afghan families. My thing is, when I help them, I help them as a group.”

For 25 years, Marrama had done charity work by writing checks. “But during the COVID-19 pandemic, I started volunteering and encouraged others to volunteer,” she said.

In August 2021, Marrama got a call from Patricia Coffey, Director of Community Relations at UMass Lowell, asking if she could help collect household items for newly arriving Afghan refugees. “So, I put out calls for help to my own mosque and other mosques,” she explained. “I thought we’d just do it quietly.”

But a story about their efforts ran in a local newspaper and Marrama’s phone started ringing. “We got calls from Jewish temples, Christian churches, local businesses, and community organizations – they all wanted to help. I would post on Facebook that we needed 50 microwaves or 50 sets of sheets, and the items would just come in.”

At first, Marrama brought everything she collected to resettlement agencies for distribution. But once the refugees arrived in Lowell, she began making home visits and asking them directly what they needed. “I got very close to these families,” she said. “Now, I’m in close contact with 90 percent of them.”

The local refugees fall roughly into two distinct group, she explained. The first group consists of single men who worked with the U.S. military. The second group is made up of large families -- married men who came over with wives and often six to eight children.

“Some of these men were military pilots, trained by U.S troops,” said Marrama. Others were military maintenance workers, journalists, or medical workers, she added. They come from all over Afghanistan, from many different walks of life. And the vast majority don’t speak English.

With the GLCF grant funds, Marrama helps the refugees work toward achieving three key milestones: learning English, earning a driver’s license, and finding a job.

“The biggest challenge is learning English. To get a driver’s license, you must be able to read road signs” she said. “I have airplane pilots who have never driven a car before!”

Marrama has helped many Afghans enroll in driving schools. Once they earn their licenses, they can better travel to and from work – and drive other refugees on the weekends. “I tell all the drivers we have assisted, ‘I will help you, but you need to help others by joining our network.’”
Through her local connections, Marrama has also generated a variety of other goods and services. “We work with companies like Timberland, which just gave us 86 pairs of boots for our men working in factories,” she said. The Bike Connector, a Lowell nonprofit, has donated free bikes -- often the first means of transportation for these refugees, Marrama explained.

“And a number of local businesses have reached out to us with job offers,” she said. “Recently Vicor Corp. hired 25 Afghans to make chips for electric vehicles. Plus, we were able to provide technology to help Afghani pilots training to be pilots here in the U.S.,” Marrama said. And Staples and Leap Year Publishing have donated school supplies for the kids.

However, Marrama realized the youngest refugees needed special attention. “These kids have no sense of normalcy,” she said. “They have been uprooted from their country, lived for months in refugee camps around the U.S., then moved here. They’ve lost their sense of play and how to have fun.”

So, she connected with Leah Okimoto, founder of the Lowell-based nonprofit Aaron’s Presents, who helped arrange playdates with the refugee children.

“Aaron’s Presents works with local students in grades 4-8 to give them the opportunity to do whatever they want to do -- as long as it benefits somebody else,” explained Okimoto. Last winter and spring, middle-school volunteers from Lowell Community Charter Public School elected to arrange fun activities with the Afghan children, to make them feel welcome, she said.

“We were simply trying to bring an afternoon of joy and fun to these kids,” Okimoto said. “We did about 20 projects this past school year, mostly playdates with our middle-schoolers and the Afghan kids. And we’ll continue arranging them this fall.
“Because of the language barrier, we couldn’t have done it without Melissa,” added Okimoto. “She knows many of these families and made the initial introductions.” And both groups of children benefited.

“It has been so amazing to see how just playing transcends language,” she said. “At the beginning of these playdates, the kids might gather in a circle and pass a ball around in a park. Within minutes, they just start playing together.

“It’s really impactful for our middle-schoolers,” said Okimoto. “They are learning that ‘Yes, these children are from a different country, but they’re just like us. All they want to do is play and be happy and make friends.’ Kids just instantly get that through in-person experiences like this.”

To learn more about GLCF’s Afghan Resettlement Fund, visit:

FINANCIAL FOCUS : How Should You Pay for Short-term Financial Goals?

October 3, 2022

As you go through life, you will likely have long- and short-term financial goals. But how will your strategies for meeting your long-term goals differ from those needed for your short-term ones?

If you’re like most people, your biggest long-term goal is achieving a comfortable retirement. And for this goal, a common strategy is putting away money in tax-advantaged retirement vehicles, such as your 401(k) and IRA.

So, how should you go about preparing for shorter-term goals, such as a family vacation, home renovation, wedding or major purchase?

For starters, determine what your goal is, how much you can spend on it and when you’ll need the money. Even if you can’t pinpoint a precise amount, you can develop a good estimate. Of course, the sooner you start this process, the better off you’ll be, because you’ll have more time to save.

Your next decision involves the manner in which you save for your short-term goal. Specifically, what savings or investment vehicles should you use? The answer will be different for everyone, but you need to make sure that your investments align with your risk tolerance and time horizon. And you’ll want to ensure, as much as possible, that a certain amount of money is available for you at the specific time you’ll need it.

If you aren’t able to save enough to reach a short-term goal, you have other options — you can borrow what you need, or you can potentially sell investments to cover the cost. How can you decide which choice is best?

To help make up your mind, you’ll first want to consider some of the most common borrowing options: credit cards, home equity loans, personal loans and margin loans. (A margin loan lets you borrow against the value of investments you already own). How might each of these loans fit into your overall financial strategy? Will the repayment schedule work with your cash flow and budget?

You’ll then want to compare the costs and benefits of borrowing, in whatever form, against selling investments. For example, if you can borrow at a lower interest rate compared to the return you think you can get from your investments, borrowing might be a reasonable choice. You’ll also need to consider other factors, such as your credit score, taxes, fees associated with selling investments and time needed to repay debts. If, for instance, selling investments will trigger a large amount of taxes, borrowing might be preferable. You’ll also want to consider whether there’s a penalty or high costs associated with selling investments. In addition, if you have a long time horizon for a loan, you may want to sell investments to avoid paying interest for a longer period of time, and thus driving up the overall cost of borrowing.          Finally, keep in mind that you may have built an investment mix designed to align with your goals and risk tolerance. If you were to sell any of these investments to meet short-term needs, you would want to consider the need to rebalance your portfolio to maintain your desired asset allocation.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to paying for short-term goals. But by carefully evaluating your options, you can make the choices that are right for your needs.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Alan Bell, Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

CHELMPEX 2022 September 24

CHELMSFORD: Chelmsford Stamp Club will be holding their annual stamp show, CHELMPEX 2022, on September 24 from 9am-3pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, 170 Old Westford Road. There will be multiple dealers, Fish Bowl, door prizes & more. For collectors of U.S. & Worldwide postage stamps, Postal History, Postal Stationery & First Day Covers, supplies & ephemera. Free admission & free parking. For additional information, contact Linda Gilmore 978-256-2256 or

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Should you Stick with Index-based Investments? 

September 21, 2022
You may have heard that you can simplify your investment strategy just by owning index-based or passive investments. But is this a good idea? You’ll want to consider the different aspects of this type of investment style. 
To begin with, an index-based investment is a vehicle such as a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that mimics the performance of a market benchmark, or index — the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and so on. (An ETF is similar to a mutual fund in that it holds a variety of investments but differs in that it is traded like a common stock.) You can also invest in index funds that track the bond market. 
Index investing does offer some benefits. Most notably, it’s a buy-and-hold strategy, which is typically more effective than a market-timing approach, in which individuals try to buy investments when their prices are down and sell them when the prices rise. Attempts to time the market this way are usually futile because nobody can really predict when high and low points will be reached. Plus, the very act of constantly buying and selling investments can generate commissions and fees, which can lower your overall rate of return. Thus, index investing generally involves lower fees and is considered more tax efficient than a more active investing style. Also, when the financial markets are soaring, which happened for several years until this year’s downturn, index-based investments can certainly look pretty good — after all, when the major indexes go up, index funds will do the same.
Conversely, during a correction, when the market drops at least 10% from recent highs, or during a bear market, when prices fall 20% or more, index-based investments will likely follow the same downward path. 
And there are also other issues to consider with index-based investments. For one thing, if you’re investing with the objective of matching an index, you may be overlooking the key factors that should be driving your investment decisions — your goals and your risk tolerance. An index is a completely impersonal benchmark measuring the performance of a specific set of investments — but it can’t be a measuring stick of your own progress.
Furthermore, a single index, by definition, can’t be as diversified as the type of portfolio you might need to achieve your objectives. For example, the S&P 500 may track a lot of companies, but they’re predominantly large ones. And to achieve your objectives, you may need a portfolio consisting of large- and small-company stocks, bonds, government securities and other investments. (Keep in mind, though, that while diversification can give you more opportunities for success and can reduce the effects of volatility on your portfolio, it can’t guarantee profits or prevent all losses.)

Ultimately, diversifying across different types of investments that align with your risk tolerance and goals — regardless of whether they track an index — is the most important consideration for your investment portfolio. Use this idea as your guiding principle as you journey through the investment world. 
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor: Marshall-Ben Tisdale,Westford, MA  -, Edward Jones, Member SIPC
Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.
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Chelmsford Historical Society Hosts Star Party

CHELMSFORD: Do you love looking at the night sky? Do you wonder about the stars and constellations? Do you wish you could get a closer look at them?  If so, join the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, Chelmsford Land Conservation Trust, and Chelmsford Historical Society for a star party on September 28 from 7-10pm. The event will take place at Sunny Meadow Farm, 168 Robin Hill Road. Admission is free, and equipment will be provided by Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston. The cloud/rain date is Thursday, September 29, 2022. For more information, visit
The Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, Inc. (ATMoB) is an amateur astronomy club devoted to telescope making, observing, and studying the heavens. The ATMoB was founded in 1934. More information is available on their web site at
The Chelmsford Land Conservation Trust’s primary mission is to preserve open space. They are an advocate for land conservation “in our back yard,” and work to encourage interest in Chelmsford’s natural history and heritage.
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Chelmsford’s Grande Dame of Garden Clubs Celebrates 100 Years!

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Garden Club, one of the oldest continuous garden clubs in the region, will celebrate 100 years of civic involvement on October 1, with a Garden Party. Organized in 1922, the club has spent a century focused on town beautification and civic improvement. Within the first few years of starting, the club planted flowers in town center and trees at the library and the new high school.

Since then, the club has been involved in some major projects, including building the gazebo on the North Common, helping to establish the George B.B. Wright recreational area, and most recently the creation of the Chelmsford Public Garden in the Town Center. All of these were
award winning projects.

The Chelmsford Garden Club is actively involved in community outreach. For 70 years members created floral arrangements for the library. For twenty-five years the club provided garden
therapy and holiday projects at the Bedford Veterans Hospital. They also have offered garden therapy at Tewksbury Hospital, and more recently at local centers. For many years members actively supported Arbor Day events at the elementary schools, bringing in Audubon programs, sponsoring poster contests, and distributing over 4,000 seedlings to students. Additionally, the club gave over $10,000 in scholarships to Chelmsford high school students.

Other projects are too many to list, but the town has benefited from the planting of dozens of trees and shrubs, hundreds of flowering plants, and over 15,000 daffodil bulbs. As the club celebrates with a Garden Party at the Barrett-Byam House, whose gardens they helped to restore, they look forward to the next century with enthusiasm for keeping our town green.
People are invited to join the anniversary celebration on October 1, from 2-6pm. Party like it’s 1922 and dance to the Mill City Rags. For tickets and information, visit

GLCF to Host Annual Celebrate Giving Event with Focus on the Power of Philanthropy

LOWELL: On October 26, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) will host its annual Celebrate Giving event in a hybrid format, with limited in-person tickets. The event will focus on the Power of Philanthropy.

This year’s event will feature a panel discussion moderated by GLCF president and CEO Jay Linnehan. Panelists will include Nancy Huntington Stager, President & Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Bank Foundation; Sophy Theam, Trustee of the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation and DEI and Leadership Program Specialist at Enterprise Bank; John Flanagan, Senior Director, Westford Corporate Citizenship for Red Hat; and Siddhi Shah Cheong, Head of Strategy Development, MilliporeSigma and representing the Shruti N. Shah Memorial Scholarship Fund. Highlighting their philanthropic support, panelists will engage in conversation about creating change in the community, the transformational effect of giving time, talent, and treasure, and the future of philanthropy.

The event will also include awarding three 2022 GLCF awards: Business Philanthropy Partner Award, Steven Joncas Community Connector Award, and the Inaugural GLCF Newell Flather Legacy Fund Grant Award.

“We believe that philanthropy is something everyone can and should engage in, as fundamentally, philanthropy is about civic engagement,” said Jay Linnehan, Greater Lowell Community Foundation President and CEO. “This year’s Celebrate Giving will provide an opportunity to showcase a broad range of philanthropists and hopefully inspire others in our community to get involved in this important work.”

Celebrate Giving reception will begin at 5pm and the program will begin at 6pm. Tickets are $100 for in-person; $25 for virtual and need to be reserved by October 25 online at Sponsorships are available.
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Girls Inc. Alum to Lead Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell

Alum, Parent & Board Member Bopha Malone Steps Up to Lead 105-year-old Organization

LOWELL/BEDFORD: Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell (GIGL) is pleased to announce Bopha Malone has accepted the position of Interim Executive Director and has committed to that role for a full year while the Board of Directors conducts a thorough, nationwide search for a permanent leader.  Bopha resigned from her prominent VP position at Enterprise Bank to step up and guide Girls Inc. through a period of building upon strengths while developing new programming, hiring and training staff, and meeting the challenges of post-Covid learning loss head on.
“The GIGL Board is grateful to Bopha for stepping into this critical role and leading during a time of real transformation,” said Jennifer Aradhya, president of GIGL Board. “Her deep connection to Girls Inc. and the Greater Lowell community is unsurpassed and we look forward to working together.”
“Girls Inc. is an extraordinary organization that has nurtured, guided, and empowered girls for more than 100 years, preparing them for their futures and helping them to become the best versions of themselves,” said Jack Clancy, Enterprise Bank CEO. “Bopha has consistently embodied Enterprise Bank’s core value of ‘community’ during her time with us and I am delighted to see her bring her talents to this new role at Girls Inc., an organization she is truly passionate about with a mission she so deeply believes in. She will provide tremendous leadership, passion, and purpose to Girls Inc. and she will make a very positive and meaningful impact and difference.”

Bopha immigrated to the U.S. at the age of eight, and credits caring mentors for helping her get to where she is today. She joined Girls Inc. of Lynn at the age of 15 and worked as a Peer Leader, educating youth about racism, homophobia, and the dangers of tobacco use and gun violence, among other issues.  As a first-generation Cambodian American who benefited from the support and encouragement of others, her passion is to seek opportunities through her roles at the bank and in the community to give back and help others in the ways that she has been helped.
“Girls Inc. played a tremendous role in my life growing up and was instrumental in helping me become the woman I am today, “said Malone. “I am grateful to Enterprise Bank for supporting my involvement with nonprofits over the 16 years I’ve been with them and am honored by the opportunity to inspire the next generation of girls to be strong, smart, and bold as interim executive director for Girls Inc.”

"Girls Inc. provides a sisterhood of support and transformational programs to help girls tap into their inherent power and become the leaders they are intended to be," said Patricia Driscoll, Chief Operating Officer Girls Inc. National. "I have witnessed Bopha's evolution from a girl balancing traditional cultural norms with her new life to an impassioned professional supporting her community, running for Congress, and now leading Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell. She embodies 'strong, smart, and bold,' and her combined lived and Girls Inc. experiences will be a tremendous asset in the development of the new generation of girl leaders. I am honored to be working alongside her."

In addition to helping thousands of people create financial success for themselves, their families, and their businesses, Malone is actively involved with several nonprofit organizations.  She is a trustee of Middlesex Community College, Tufts Medicine (Lowell General Hospital), International Institute of New England, Women Working Wonders and is a member of the Bedford Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce. She lives in Bedford with her husband and two children and serves as a member of the Bedford Select Board.

Veteran’s Memorial Eagle Scout Project Complete

CHELMSFORD: Giving back to the community is one of the core tenets of the Scouting organization, and the penultimate final project for the Scouts is the Eagle Project. Shaun McCluskey of Chelmsford Troop 81 chose for his project to improve the local veteran’s monument. Shaun, who attends Greater Lowell Technical High School hopes to become a plumber after he graduates and use the skills he learned through leadership and management in his future career. This project was the creation of a retaining wall for the lower platform to prevent the hilly background from sliding and causing damage during rainstorms. Further than this he used crushed stone as the backdrop to this wall, while also adding outlining stone bricks to the lower monument, rocks around the donation box, and finally adding a bench to the upper part of the monument.

An eagle project itself goes beyond just the physical work of a project, as it is up to the individual scout to plan, fundraise and lead the entire project themselves. While they do have assistance in this process, it generally falls to the scout to both lead and problem solve with their management skills to ensure that it goes smoothly. One of the most difficult parts to the creation of a project is fundraising. Shaun collected donations through community fundraising and held a fundraising event at Bertucci’s after which he attained the funds to create his project. After all these preliminary steps were completed and the Eagle Scout board approved his project, he was
allowed to start. He is currently on his third day of work and is hoping to finish his project in the coming weeks.

Shaun’s motivations for this project in particular are his belief that giving back to military veterans and making them feel that the community is there for them is important. Through his project he wanted to give thanks to those who served their country and honor their memory by
making the park a better place to visit and remember those who gave up their lives. His grandfather’s name is carved into the monument along countless others who served their community through military service. The restoration, beautification, and improvements to the memorial will enshrine the veterans and ensure their memory will live on.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Look Closely at Open Enrollment Choices

September 6, 2022

Once again, it’s the season for football games and back-to-school activities. And if you work for a medium-size or large employer, it will soon be open enrollment season – the time of year when you can review your employee benefits and make changes as needed. What areas should you focus on?

Actually, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to all your benefits. Some of the offerings may have changed from last year — and you might have experienced changes in your own life, too, which might lead you to look for something different from your existing benefits package.

You may want to start with your health insurance. If you’re satisfied with your coverage, and it’s essentially the same as it’s been, you may well want to stick with what you have. However, many employers are increasingly offering high-deductible health plans, which, as the name suggests, could entail more out-of-pocket costs for you. But high-deductible plans may also offer something of benefit: the ability to contribute to a health savings account (HSA). Your HSA contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, so they can reduce your taxable income for the year. Also, your earnings grow tax-free, and your withdrawals are tax-free, provided the money is used for qualified medical expenses. (Withdrawals taken before age 65 that aren’t used for qualified medical expenses are taxable and subject to a 20% penalty; once you reach 65, the penalty no longer applies, although withdrawals are still taxable as income if not used for a qualified expense.)

Your next benefit to consider: Life insurance. Your employer may offer a group life insurance plan, but you’ll want to evaluate whether it’s sufficient for your needs, especially if you’ve experienced changes in your personal situation over the past year, such as getting married or adding a new child. There’s no magic formula for how much life insurance you need — you’ll need to consider a variety of factors, such as your income, family size, mortgage and so on — but it may be necessary to supplement your employer’s coverage with a private policy.

Your employer may also offer disability insurance as a benefit. Some employers’ disability policies are fairly limited, covering only short periods of time, so you may want to consider a private policy. 

Beyond the various insurance policies your employer may offer, you’ll also want to closely look at your 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Typically, you can make changes to your 401(k) throughout the year, but it’s important to make sure your investment selections and contribution amounts are still aligned with your risk tolerance and goals. Also, are you contributing enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered? And if you’ve already receiving the match, can you still afford to put in more to your plan if such a move makes sense for you? 

Your employee benefits package can be a valuable part of your overall financial strategy. So, as open enrollment season proceeds, take a close look at what you already have, what’s being offered, and what changes you need to make. It will be time well spent.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor 
Financial Advisor, Alan Bell, Littleton, MA
Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

Delvena Theater Company: Lizzie Borden and the Forty Whacks at Chelmsford Library

CHELMSFORD: Lizzie Borden took an axe…or did she? YOU DECIDE!
On a scorching hot day in Fall River, back in August of 1892, a heinous crime occurred. Spinster Lizzie Borden was accused, tried, and acquitted for the vicious ax murders of her father and stepmother. This true unsolved mystery has fascinated people for over 100 years. Two people died on that day in 1892, but Lizzie continues to live on in American folklore.

An edutainment production, written by Fran Baron and directed by Joseph Zamparelli the show will feature Lynne Moulton and Joseph Zamparelli. in multiple roles.  The performance includes a mock trial that invites the audience to participate by questioning Lizzie and deciding her guilt or innocence. Did she or didn’t she?

Lynne Moulton has performed several roles for Delvena Theatre including her IRNE nominated Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Sissy in Piece of My Heart and also for numerous other theatre companies in the New England area.  She received her acting training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art under the direction of Sir Robert Palmer and at Trinity Rep Conservatory.  

Joseph Zamparelli is a professional actor, director and producer.  A graduate of Boston College (Psychology/Theater Arts) he went on to the professional training program at Circle in the Square Theater School in NYC.  In addition to commercial film and television work, he is Producing/ Artistic Director of BostonAlive.

The Delvena Theatre Company was founded in 1992 and has performed at various venues, most often at the Boston Center for the Arts.  The company was nominated for five Independent Reviewers of New England awards.  Its production of 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' was on Theatre Mirror's Best List for acting, directing and production.  Presentations of 'Anna Weiss' and 'Beyond Therapy' were included on Theatre Mirror's best play list and 'Blue Heart' was placed on Aisle Say's best list.

The performance runs September 15 at 7pm. Register online at Registration is required. There are 24 seats available.

This production is supported in part by a grant from the Chelmsford Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
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Chelmsford Mothers' Club Kids’ Tag Sale!

CHELMSFORD: Need some new winter gear for the kids? How about books or toys? The Fall Chelmsford Mothers’ Club Kids Tag Sale will be held September 17 from 9am to 1pm at Greater Visions Children's Center on 180 Old Westford Road. It will feature a wide variety of winter clothes and shoes, costumes, accessories, toys and a selection of books for children of all ages and interests. For over 15 years, the Chelmsford Mothers’ Club has held spring and fall tag sales that are among the largest in the area. The Kids' Tag sale is a consignment event and also fundraiser for the Chelmsford Mothers' Club. In addition, some items that are not sold are donated to such local agencies as the Central Food Ministries in Lowell.  Check out a great selection of kids’ clothes, books, toys and so much more! The Entry fee is $2 cash or 1 canned good per adult. With limited space, no strollers are allowed and please leave children at home. Shoppers are asked to bring their own shopping bags. Cash and Major credit cards accepted. Half-price sales begin at 11:30 a.m.  For more info, visit
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Rally Day & Fall Schedule at Aldersgate UMC

CHELMSFORD: Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Chelmsford invites you to join us for Rally Day as they resume their regular worship schedule on September 11. Services are at 8:30am and 10:45am, and Church School classes for children and youth begin at 9:30am. (Adult classes will start September 18).

In addition to other special Rally Day activities, they will have a potluck lunch at noon, during which they will officially welcome new minister, Pastor Bob Jon, and his family to Aldersgate and to Chelmsford.
Aldersgate UMC is an intergenerational church family with diverse programs and opportunities. All are welcome.
The church is located at 242 Boston Road (Rt. 4). For more information, contact the office at (978)256-9400 or, or visit or

GLCF’s Women Working Wonders Fund Awards Six Grants Totaling $52,000

LOWELL: The Women Working Wonders (WWW) Fund, a permanently endowed fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, has announced the recipients of $52,000 in grants. These grants will support local nonprofit programs that empower women and girls to effect positive change in the community.

“Women Working Wonders is proud to support these six organizations in their work to improve the lives of women and girls in Greater Lowell,” said Marci Barnes, Women Working Wonders Fund board president. “This competitive grant process allows us to address significant community needs through collective philanthropy.” 

Recipients of the 2022 WWW grants: 
  • Alternative House - Juntas Crecemos (Support for Spanish-speaking survivors of domestic violence) $10,000
  • Center for Hope & Healing - Self Love and Wellness Program for Women $10,000
  • Megan House Foundation – Metamorphosis (to provide financial support to residents throughout their journey of recovery and transformation) $10,000
  • Mission of Deeds - Furnishing Homes $10,000
  • UMass Foundation - UMass Lowell’s River Hawk Scholars Academy- Rising Women Leaders & Affinity Group $10,000
  • Women Accelerators - Women Accelerators Peer Circles $2,000

Women Working Wonders provides annual grants in three key areas: assist women in transition, provide leadership development, and/or contribute to the beautification of the environment.
Founded in 2004 by a small group of women coming together to form a collective giving organization that focused on women’s issues, the fund has made more than $300,000 in grants to organizations supporting women and girls in the Greater Lowell area. 

One of the 2022 grant recipients, Mission of Deeds, received funding for their Furnishing Homes Program to provide women and children in Greater Lowell with the household items they need.

“Mission of Deeds is honored to have received a grant from the Women Working Wonders Fund,” said Sharon Petersen, Director of Grants, Mission of Deeds. “One of the biggest challenges for people moving from a shelter to permanent housing is the lack of beds, furniture, and basic kitchen items. We give our clients, free of charge, everything needed for a functional, livable home, and we are so grateful for the support from the Women Working Wonders Fund.”

The Women Working Wonders Fund’s Power of the Purse 2022 event, which raises funds to support the annual grants, is scheduled for October 20. For information about WWW Fund and the upcoming event, visit:

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Prepare Yourself for a Long Retirement

August 29, 2022

We all want to live long lives. We all expect to live long lives. But are we financially prepared for this longevity?  Before we get to the issue of preparation, let’s look at a couple of interesting findings from a 2022 survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones:
  • The surveyed retirees said, on average, they expect to live to 89, and they said the ideal length of retirement is 29 years.
  • When asked if they want to live to 100, nearly 70% of the respondents said “yes.” The main reason for this desire for long life? To spend more years with their family and friends.

Of course, none of us can see into the future and know how long we’ll be around. But with advances in medical care and a greater awareness of healthy lifestyles, these aspirations have a real basis in reality.

However, if you’re going to enjoy a longer lifespan, and the extra years with your loved ones, you need to ensure your finances are also in good shape. How can you make this happen?  Here are some basic steps to follow:
  • Save and invest early and often. This may be the oldest piece of financial advice, but it’s still valid. The earlier you start saving and investing for your retirement, the greater your potential accumulation. Consider this: If you began saving just $5,000 per year at age 25, and earned a hypothetical 6.5% annual rate of return, and didn’t take any early withdrawals, you’d end up with $935,000 by the time you reached 65. But if you waited until 35 to start saving and investing, and you earned the same hypothetical 6.5% return – again with no early withdrawals – you’d only end up with $460,000. And if you didn’t start saving until 45, you’d end up with just over $200,000, again given the same 6.5% return. 
  • Be mindful of debt. You may not  want to be burdened with certain debts when you enter retirement. So, while you’re still working, try to reduce unwanted debts, particularly those that don’t offer the financial benefits of tax-deductible interest payments. The lower your debt load, the more you can save and invest for the future.
  • Keep reviewing your progress. It’s important to monitor the progress you need to make toward achieving your goal of a comfortable retirement. Over the short term, your investment balances may fluctuate, especially in volatile financial markets such as we’ve seen in the early part of this year. But you’ll get a clearer picture of your situation if you look at long-term results. For example, have your accounts grown over the past 10 years as much as you had planned? And going forward, do you think you’re in good shape, or will you need to make some changes to your investment strategy? Keep in mind that, if you’re 50 or older, you can make “catch-up” contributions to your IRA and 401(k) that allow you to exceed the regular limits. You may also want to adjust your investment mix as you near retirement to potentially lower your risk exposure.

Hopefully, you will enjoy many years of a healthy, happy retirement. And you can help support this vision by carefully considering your financial moves and making the ones that are right for you. 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor
Financial Advisor, Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA, Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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LIRA Invites Retirees to Fall Semester Classes

LOWELL: The Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA) invites all retirees to join their Fall semester classes (some live, Zoom or hybrid.) A sample of offered Fall classes;  1. Talk by Jonathan Lemire (Politico, MSNBC, AP) on his new book “THE BIG LIE”;  2. Lighthouses & the People Who Kept Them;  3. Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA;  4. Hands on Art Class;  5. The Election of 2022 – A shift in power?;  6. The Most Influential Characters of Literature;  7. Tour of the new Lowell Justice Center;  8. Articles of Confederation – Stronger than a Rope of Sand;  9. UMass Rist Center for Sustainability & Energy research overview; 10. New Refugees & Immigrants in Lowell; 11. America & the Global Economy; 12. Native Americans in Colonial New England; 13. Professor led Tour of the Oak Hill Conservation; 14. Critical Issues in K-12 Public Schools; 15. Great Decisions discussion group as well as Book and Film discussion groups.
Additional classes, detailed descriptions, schedules, and information to join LIRA  Classes begin Sept 12. Yearly membership fee is only $125 or $200/couple. You can take as many classes as you wish. For questions email

River Clean-up Volunteers Needed!

ACTON: OARS needs volunteers to help spread out across the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord river watershed to clean up rivers, streams, ponds and trails! This year marks the 36th Annual River Clean-up which will be hybrid and take place September 16 thru 18. Every year OARS relies on the support of volunteers and local businesses to keep our rivers clean. Local business owners are also encouraged to reach out and find out how company teams can get involved in this year’s clean-up. Visit to find out how to join in!

OARS is a nonprofit, science-based organization whose mission is to protect, improve and preserve the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord River watersheds for all people and wildlife. The watershed includes: Acton, Ashland, Bedford, Berlin, Boxboro, Billerica, Carlisle, Concord, Framingham, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lincoln, Maynard, Marlboro, Northborough, Lowell, Saxonville, Stow, Southborough, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Wayland and Westborough.
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$10,000 Awarded to Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica

BILLERICA: Thanks to the communities’ support, James O’Connell Insurance has officially awarded a $10,000 donation to Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica, a local organization dedicated to enabling all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The $10,000 award will help ensure children are able to attend and enjoy activities that entertain, challenge, inspire and educate them. 
James O’Connell, CEO of James O’Connell Insurance, originally received a $5,000 donation for Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica thanks to a submission process with Liberty Mutual® and Safeco Insurance® through their 2022 Make More Happen Awards. A story of their local partnership was featured on the official Make More Happen microsite,, where James O’Connell Insurance had the opportunity to raise an additional $5,000 by conducting a local awareness campaign for the nonprofit. Together with the community, the goal was met increasing the total donation to $10,000 for Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica! 
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Age-friendly Chelmsford Job Fair August 18

CHELMSFORD: Age-Friendly Chelmsford has announced their first Age Strong Chelmsford job fair in partnership with MassHire of Lowell. This Town effort is led by Lisa Marrone, Chelmsford Business Development, is focusing on the employment domain for the Age-Friendly effort. The event is scheduled for Thursday, August 18th from 10am to 1pm. Employment vendors will be setting up at 9am at the Chelmsford Senior Center and we will be hosting 20 businesses exclusive to Chelmsford.

The first hour of the job fair will give priority to job seekers 50+. We will focus on full-time job opportunities as well as part-time and volunteer positions. We welcome full participation from supporting partners and have been reaching out to agencies such as AARP, MA Healthy Aging Collaborative, Operation ABLE and others. Please contact Lisa Marrone at with any additional help you can offer.
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Become an Adult ESOL or Basic Literacy Tutor!

LOWELL: Have you been looking for a great volunteer opportunity? If you would like to make a difference in the life of an adult with limited English or basic literacy skills, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts at Lowell's Pollard Memorial Library offers free, confidential, one-on-one or small group tutoring on a flexible schedule to adults in the greater Lowell area.  
You do not need prior teaching experience or knowledge of another language. All you need is an open mind, a desire to help an adult improve their skills, and the ability to meet with your student for 2 hours per week! In-person, remote, and hybrid tutoring options are available. Before being matched with a student you also will be required to successfully complete an 18-hour tutor training.  
To learn more, join online via Zoom at an upcoming Volunteer Information Session: 
Tuesday, August 16, 6:30-8 pm 
Thursday, August 25, 12-1:30 pm 
Tuesday, August 30, 6:30-8 pm 
To RSVP to one of the above sessions, please contact Literacy Director, Sarah Miller at, or Literacy Assistant, Mary Hartmann,, or call (978) 674-1541. 

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition's Annual State-wide Against the Tide Multisport Virtual & In-person Events

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is hosting its annual, statewide Against the Tide athletic fundraising events as both virtual and in-person events this summer.  
MBCC will hold its in-person Cape Cod Against the Tide event on August 13 at DCR’s Nickerson State Park in Brewster for the 23rd year. This event will feature a 1-mile recreational and competitive swim, a ½-mile recreational swim, 5K and 10K runs, a 3-mile walk, and a 1-mile USMS sanctioned swim.
Additionally, MBCC is offering participants the option to participate remotely in the Against the Tide August virtual event from August 6–13. The virtual event components include 1-mile recreational or competitive swims, a ½-mile recreational swim, 5K and 10K runs, and a 3-mile walk.
Registration for both the virtual and in-person options is $40 for an individual participant, and $100 for a family registration (up to 5 family members). Participants may register as an individual or as part of a team. Participants are encouraged to raise funds beyond the registration fees, as all proceeds support MBCC’s unique goal of breast cancer prevention. All participants will receive an event t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded for the top swim and run finishers of the in-person events. To learn more about all of the registration options or to make a pledge, please visit the MBCC website at or call 508-246-3047.

Alternative House Partners with Pepperell Police Department

LOWELL/PEPPERELL: Alternative House, through a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation’s Nashoba Health Care Grant cycle, formally announced its new partnership with the Pepperell Police Department. With this funding, Alternative House will continue to intensify and expand the tools necessary to assist survivors of domestic violence in the Pepperell community and surrounding areas. Through this partnership, Alternative House will be able to fund training for officers, town employees and community partners, as well as provide safe housing and other assistance to survivors. This funding will also allow Alternative House to provide financial assistance to survivors to fulfill their basic needs.

Alternative House has provided comprehensive domestic violence services in the Greater Lowell area for over 40 years. Founded in 1978, Alternative House has served thousands of survivors of domestic violence. The agency provides not only emergency shelter and 24-hour crisis hotline services, but access to temporary safe housing, transitional/ permanent housing, legal advocacy, supervised visitation services, community/ housing advocacy, support groups, youth and teen programming.

Alternative House also offers daily access to case management, safety planning, and support around goal setting, financial empowerment and job/educational placement.

“This funding will allow us to expand our law enforcement partnership services which include ongoing training and education, moving and relocation planning, financial assistance, lethality assessment work, and community outreach. It is a critically important program to the survivors of domestic violence that we serve,” said Alternative House Executive Director Maria Crooker-Capone. “We know that fleeing an abusive situation is extremely traumatic and overwhelming for families and individuals, and through this program, we can provide them the step-by-step support they may need.”

“We look forward to working with Alternative House,” Chief Scott said. “This partnership helps to fill a void for domestic violence services in our area and connect survivors with the resources they need. Thank you to the Alternative House and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.”

The mission of Alternative House is to facilitate the creation of a society in which violence and oppression will no longer exist. As a means to this end, we offer access to shelter, support, children’s programming, legal, housing, and community advocacy for all victims of domestic violence (and their children) who seek our help.

We are committed to the empowerment of all victims toward self-sufficiency. We do not discriminate against any race, class, culture, age group or sexual orientation. In addition, we provide community education and support to reform societal attitudes that permit violence and oppression against anyone.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Market decline offers buying opportunities

July 27, 2022

The financial markets have gotten off to a rocky start this year. What’s caused this volatility? And does it present opportunities for patient investors?

First of all, several factors are behind the market volatility, including the war in Ukraine, higher inflation, rising interest rates and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while these factors may be specific to the recent market decline, volatility itself is a common feature of the investment environment. In fact, history shows that corrections of 10% or more happen about every year, and declines of 15% or more have happened every other year, on average. Furthermore, while 2022 has thus far been challenging for investors, it was preceded by a long period of strong markets, with the S&P 500 averaging more than a 20% return over the past three years. 

Knowing the typical frequency of market volatility and reviewing the results of the past few years may make the current situation seem less shocking. But you don’t have to simply “ride out” the downturn – because a down market may give you the opportunity to buy more investment shares at good prices. Specifically, you can expand your holdings in companies that have good growth prospects due to strong management and products or services that provide sustainable competitive advantages. And this type of opportunity is important, because one of the keys to building wealth is to increase the number of shares you own in your various investments and hold them for the long term. While the market will always fluctuate, the long-term trend has been positive, particularly for well-diversified portfolios built with quality investments.       

Of course, while it is a good idea to boost your share ownership at favorable prices, you still want to be strategic about it, rather than just buying whatever seems to be the biggest bargain. In reviewing your existing portfolio, can you identify any gaps that could be filled with new investments? Are there opportunities to further diversify your holdings? By owning different types of stocks, bonds, government securities and other investments, you can help reduce the impact of volatility on your portfolio. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification can’t guarantee profits or prevent losses in declining markets.) Or, if your portfolio has become “unbalanced” in some way, you could also use this time to rebalance it back to its original long-term targets. You might also consider setting up a systematic investing program in which you invest the same amounts in the same investments on a regular basis, such as monthly. When prices go down, you’ll automatically buy more shares, and when prices rise, you’ll buy fewer shares. (However, systematic investing does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss and you’ll need to be willing to keep investing when share prices are declining.)
Before this year, average annual returns have been solid for about a decade, which makes it somewhat easy to forget about normal market volatility and may have led to overly optimistic performance expectations. So, it would not be surprising if your initial reaction to the current downturn is one of concern. But by viewing the current investment environment as a chance to add quality investments at attractive prices, you can help yourself develop a behavior that can serve you well throughout your life as an investor.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Greater Lowell Community Foundation Awards Multi-year Water Resources Grants

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LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) awarded $45,000 in grants to three local nonprofits for three-year $5,000/year

GLCF Water Resources Initiative Grants. The GLCF Water Resources Initiative Grants for nonprofits that support water-resources projects, with a preference for organizations whose primary mission is to protect, improve and preserve the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord (SuAsCo) River, Merrimack River, or Nashua River watersheds.

“These multi-year grants fund incredible nonprofit organizations that protect our valuable area water resources. Water-related projects supported include biological conservation, habitat restoration, and clean-ups,” said GLCF President & CEO Jay Linnehan. “These grants are made possible from a 1998 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust to GLCF. The Foundation was able to create an endowed fund to protect the water resources in Greater Lowell.”

Among the grantees was the Merrimack River Watershed Council, who received a grant to support their Clean Water for Greater Lowell Program. “Through a multi-year commitment from GLCF, the Merrimack River Watershed Council will continue to grow our capacity to fill gaps in water quality data, analysis, and solutions in Greater Lowell,” said Matthew Thorne, executive director of Merrimack River Watershed Council. “Although the Merrimack River, which provides public drinking water for the City of Lowell, is much cleaner than when we began our work in the 1970s, we have significant challenges with contamination issues that are as critical as ever to address.”

The following nonprofit organizations received three-year $5,000/year funding:
For more information on the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, visit

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Strengthen Your ‘Three-legged Stool’ for Retirement

July 18, 2022

For many years, Americans provided for their retirement needs through three sources: employer-sponsored pension plans, Social Security income, and savings and investments accumulated through employer plans or individual accounts – the so-called “three-legged stool.” But today, that stool is shakier than it used to be. What can you do to strengthen it?

To begin with, all three legs of the stool are facing challenges. Let’s consider them:

• Employer pensions – A generation ago, workers employed in many companies could count on a set monthly pension income to help them through their retirement years. Today, pensions – also known as defined benefit plans – are mostly found in public sector employment, as most private-sector employers have replaced their pensions with 401(k) and similar plans. These plans can be quite effective at helping build resources for retirement, but they do place most of the responsibility for saving on the employee.

• Social Security – Social Security has come under financial pressure because the workers-to-retirees ratio has declined significantly, according to the Social Security Administration’s 2021 Board of Trustees Report. A number of proposals have been brought forward on how to improve the long-term financial security of the Social Security system.

• Personal savings and investments – In terms of building savings and investments for retirement, the picture is somewhat mixed. The national savings rate has increased in recent years, but more than half of American workers still say their retirement savings are not where they should be, according to a 2021 survey from Bankrate, a personal finance website. And the same survey found that just over half of investors with a 401(k) or IRA have taken early withdrawals – that is, they withdrew money before they retired. Furthermore, we may be waiting too long even to begin saving/investing for retirement. A survey from Age Wave and Edward Jones found that respondents began saving for retirement at an average age of 38, but the majority said they should have started saving a decade earlier.

You have options for improving some parts of your own three-legged stool. For example, no matter what happens to Social Security, you can still decide when to start taking payments. You can begin collecting benefits as early as 62, but your monthly checks will be larger if you wait until your “full” retirement age, which will likely be between 66 and 67. You can even delay taking benefits until they “max out” at age 70.

As for a pension, you can’t control what’s available to you through your employer, but you can create your own retirement income stream by contributing as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plan and by increasing your contributions whenever your salary goes up. And you can also contribute to an IRA or other investment vehicle to further boost your retirement funds. Try to leave these accounts intact until you need them for retirement. This will be easier if you’ve built an emergency fund, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account, to pay for unexpected costs, such as those resulting from a major car or home repair.

The three-legged stool may not be as universal as it once was – but you can still construct a sturdy structure to support your retirement needs in the future.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Chelmsford Military & Veterans Appreciation Cookout!

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Military Community Covenant Task Force is sponsoring a free cookout in appreciation of active, reserve, National Guard, veterans and their families on Tuesday, August 9. The event will take place from 5pm to 7pm at the Chelmsford Elks Lodge at 300 Littleton Road. Cheeseburgers, hotdogs, watermelon, chips and soft drinks will be served. A cash bar will be available. The general public is welcome to attend to meet and support our local military members.

The Chelmsford Military Community Covenant was established by the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen in
2009 in partnership with Hanscom Air Force Base as a formal effort to support military families living in Chelmsford. The primary purpose of the program is to make Chelmsford feel more welcoming for military families and veterans by drawing upon a support network of volunteers and contributions from the local business community. For more information or to volunteer with the Task Force, please visit
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Shirley Wang Wins Prestigious P.E.O. Scholar Award
Wang is one of only 100 scholars within the U.S. and Canada to receive award

CHELMSFORD: Shirley Wang, a Ph.D. student in clinical psychology with a secondary field in computational science and engineering at Harvard University, is one of 100 doctoral students within the U.S. and Canada selected to receive a prestigious $20,000 P.E.O. Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood.  Of these 100, Wang is one of only 17 to receive the distinction of being chosen as an Endowed or Named Scholar.  Wang was selected as the Wilma Leonard Turner-Marie Turner Endowed Scholar for 2022-23. She was nominated by P.E.O. Chapter AI of Chelmsford.

The P.E.O. Scholar Awards program, established in 1991, provides substantial merit-based awards for women of the U.S. and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university.  Wang is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of The College of New Jersey. She was a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the National Institutes of Health F31/NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship, the Outstanding Student Researcher Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, and the Early Graduate Student Researcher Award from the American Psychological Association, among many other honors.
Wang has published over 40 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and given over 30 talks at national and international conferences. At Harvard, Shirley has served as a teaching fellow for an introductory statistics course, for which she received the Certificate of Distinction & Excellence in Teaching. She has also mentored numerous senior thesis students and undergrad research assistants, for which she received the Spotlight Mentor Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (as the first graduate student ever to be nominated for and receive this award). Her Ph.D. research examines why people engage in actions that are harmful to themselves, including eating disorder behaviors, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicide. Her unique approach is to apply mathematics and computational modeling to better understand these issues and help predict who needs intervention immediately. From inequality of opportunity to mental health issues, her research and interventions have the potential to save lives and change the futures of countless individuals, their families, and communities.
Chapter AI has been a part of the Boston Area P.E.O. community since it was organized in 1980.

P.E.O., a Philanthropic Educational Organization, has been celebrating women helping women for more than 150 years. Since its inception in 1869, the nonprofit organization has helped more than 119,000* women pursue educational goals by providing over $398 million* in grants, scholarships, awards and loans. Through membership, the P.E.O. Sisterhood has brought together more than half a million women in the United States and Canada who are passionate about helping women advance through education while supporting and motivating them. In addition to the educational philanthropies, the P.E.O. Sisterhood provides a framework of support and community for all members.

What started with a bond of friendship among seven women in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is now one of the oldest women’s organizations in North America with close to 5,800 chapters.  To learn more about P.E.O., its powerful educational philanthropies and see stories of women who have benefited from the programs, visit
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NETSCOUT Awards $15K in Community Grants with Greater Lowell Community Foundation

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LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization comprised of over 390 funds, currently totaling over $59 million, dedicated to improving the quality of life in 21 neighboring cities and towns, announced that NETSCOUT SYSTEMS, INC., (NASDAQ: NTCT), a leading provider of cybersecurity, service assurance, and business analytics solutions, has awarded its Heart of Giving community program’s $15,000 grant through the Greater Lowell Community Foundation to Hidden Battles, Challenge Unlimited and The Edinburg Center.

Hidden Battles, of Lowell, who received the $10,000 grant works to preserve the healthy minds of veterans, firefighters, police officers and first responders who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, job-related stress, traumatic brain injuries and the struggles of entering back into civilian life after discharge from the military. The organization offers treatment and counseling through confidential meetings among clients and interactive workshops.

The annual grant program builds relationships with nonprofit organizations and engages employees in learning about service opportunities in the communities of Greater Lowell. This year an additional $5,000 in grant funding was distributed to Challenge Unlimited in Andover and The Edinburg Center in Bedford.

“Connecting philanthropic businesses and individuals to the needs of their communities is at the heart of GLCF’s work. We are proud to be in the 8th year of the NETSCOUT Heart of Giving Community Grant at the Greater Lowell Community Foundation,” said Jay Linnehan, president and CEO, Greater Lowell Community Foundation. “We are grateful for NETSCOUT’s continued commitment to supporting local nonprofits and addressing needs in our community.”

“Through this unique program with GLCF, we can provide financial support to local organizations while empowering our employees to participate in the philanthropic process and build strong relationships in the community through volunteer service,” said Michael Szabados, chief operating officer at NETSCOUT. “With the prolonged impact of COVID-19 taking a huge toll on mental health, especially for caregivers and care providers, we are pleased to support the important work of all three organizations through these grants.”

“Hidden Battles Foundation would like to thank NETSCOUT for awarding us this grant that will facilitate quality, activity driven, mental health programs to veterans, first responders, nurses, and their families. We would also like to recognize GLCF for their hard work and assistance during the grant process,” said Scott Hyder Hidden Battles President and Founder. “The program funded will be focused on post-COVID PTSD and family reconnection activities based on a three-tier mental health model: individual, couple and family.”

Established in 1997, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) is a philanthropic organization comprised of more than 400 funds dedicated to improving the quality of life in 21 neighboring cities and towns. With financial assets of more than $55 million, GLCF annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students. It is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from Foundation staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $25 million to the Greater Lowell community.