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Swampscott family announces $5 million endowment gift to RAW

Patricia and Bruce Herring, in the Raw Art Works gallery in Lynn. (Rick Ashley)

LYNN — Bruce Herring, longtime board chair of Raw Art Works (RAW), and his wife, Patricia, have announced a $5 million endowment gift to RAW on behalf of the Herring family. This transformative gift underscores the family’s confidence in the youth arts organization and the deep impact RAW and its staff have had on the lives of the kids it serves, Herring said.

“RAW executes on its mission. The people who work there live by that mission. Kids walk in knowing this is a place where they are seen and their voices are heard. We have witnessed the lasting change RAW has had on these youth,” said Herring. “As parents ourselves, Tricia and I really wanted to have a larger and long-lasting impact on youth in our surrounding communities. We believe in the importance and significance of the work RAW does and want to ensure RAW’s sustainability and expanding impact with this gift.”

Herring added, “By creating an endowment, we wanted to provide a base level of funding that will be there year in and year out to help RAW fulfill its destiny. Times are good today, but the economy has cycles and we want to do what we can to make sure RAW weathers the tougher times.”

The Herrings have been deeply involved with RAW for more than 10 years, served on the board and planning committees, co-hosting events, and introducing others to RAW.

As RAW embarks on its fourth decade, this endowment will support existing programming and new initiatives, while providing sustainability and stability for years to come.

To get a better idea of how monumental a gift of this size is, consider these statistics from The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

  • In the past five years, only one Massachusetts-based children and youths nonprofit has received a gift of $1 million or more from an individual donor.
  • In the past five years only nine arts-based nonprofits in Massachusetts have received gifts of $1 million or more from an individual, most of which were major art museums or theater companies. Of those nine gifts, only four were gifts of $5 million or more.
  • In 2017, only seven children and youth nonprofits in the country received a gift of $1 million or more from an individual donor – only one was a gift of $5 million.

This gift allows RAW to ensure that all programming remains free. It also helps RAW continue to attract and retain talented and motivated staff that provide RAW’s youth with consistent support and guidance.

RAW’s mission is to ignite the desire to create and the confidence to succeed in underserved youth. Located in Central Square, RAW offers a variety of free programming from painting to filmmaking, for kids ages 7-19. RAW uses art to ask kids “what is really going on” in their lives, giving them the tools to create in unexpected ways, and envision new possibilities for their future.

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