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Bridgewell raises $355,000 to assist people with disabilities

Mark Kennard, former director of community services at Bridgewell accepts the Visionary Leadership Award at Bridgewell’s 2018 Imagine the Possibilities gala alongside Robin Sutherland, chair of Bridgewell’s board of directors and former state Rep. Steven Walsh, president and CEO of Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.
Mark Kennard, former director of community services at Bridgewell accepts the Visionary Leadership Award at Bridgewell’s 2018 Imagine the Possibilities gala alongside Robin Sutherland, chair of Bridgewell’s board of directors and former state Rep. Steven Walsh, president and CEO of Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association. (Courtesy image)

BOSTON — Mark Kennard, who provided addiction treatment help in Lynn and other communities for more than 35 years, and former state Rep. Steven Walsh were luminaries at Bridgewell’s March gala.

The 2018 Imagine the Possibilities celebration at the Fairmont Copley Plaza raised nearly $355,000 to support people with disabilities and other life challenges. Kennard, who retired from the social and human services nonprofit in December 2017, received the Visionary Leadership Award for his career as a pioneer and advocate for people suffering from substance use disorder.

Kennard was introduced by Walsh, president and CEO of Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.

Kennard is the former executive director of Project COPE, an organization that provided community-based prevention, education and treatment services to individuals and their families struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Project Cope merged with Bridgewell in January 2014.

“I am honored and humbled to have received the Visionary Leadership Award,” said Mark Kennard, former director of community services at Bridgewell. “As more people struggle to find a path to treatment and recovery, we as a community need to show more compassion and provide treatment options for those who are suffering with substance use disorder.”

More than 360 people attended the 10th annual gala with the amount raised representing a 15 percent increase over last year’s effort. To date, the annual galas have raised just under $3 million in generous donations. This year’s gala exceeded Bridgewell’s fundraising goal.

“Bridgewell is thrilled to have honored Mark at this year’s gala,” said Kelly J. Martin, Bridgewell president and CEO. “Mark has been a role model in our organization and the community for decades and deserves the highest accolade. We thank Mark, the people of Bridgewell and our supporters who not only helped to make the gala such a success, but have made Bridgewell everything it is today.”

Imagine the Possibilities was emceed by award-winning WCVB-TV reporter Karen Anderson. The evening featured Bridgewell’s “60 Years, 60 Stories” storytelling series that celebrates the lives of the people it serves in celebration of this milestone year.

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