Why ICycle: Matt Pritchard of HomeStart

ICycle 2016 - Matt Pritchard

Matt Pritchard, Executive Director of HomeStart, with O’Neill and Associates’ Ann Murphy, Cayenne Isaksen and Jennie Hardin at ICycle 2016

One of my favorite things in the world is watching someone stop what they are doing to support another person who is suffering.  On a chilly day this past February that is exactly what 320 people did, and it was incredible! Those 320 individuals do not include the countless others who stopped what they were doing as they walked by, and decided to donate to this incredible cause. This is just one reason why ICycle.

Tonight, more than 1,200 people in Boston will fall asleep on a sidewalk or on a cot in a shelter because they’ve experienced a crisis and suddenly found themselves homeless.  At some point, most people I know have asked themselves the question, “How can I make a dent in a person’s homelessness?  Is there any way for one person to provide meaningful help?”  HomeStart has provided folks with an answer to those questions, and it is a resounding, “Yes!”

One way that HomeStart has answered this question is with ICycle: an outdoor spinning marathon where individuals and corporate teams raise money and ride on a spinning bike, outside, in the winter, to show solidarity with and support people who are homeless and find themselves living outside.  When those 320 people braved the cold and the elements in February, they made a practical and tangible dent in the ongoing problem facing our city. The simple act of riding a bike, with the fundraising support from others, made it possible for HomeStart to provide the service that will permanently end a person’s homelessness, and many people (who they will probably never know) will celebrate because of their help. And that is why ICycle.

Now, as the season’s change and our weather inevitably begins to get warmer, it is just as important as ever for us to remember our 1,200 neighbors who are experiencing the greatest suffering. Our goal at HomeStart is to serve all of them. Simply put, the more people who are willing to brave the cold and stop what they are doing to ride in ICycle in years to come will help us to do that!  That is why ICycle.

Last year, HomeStart permanently housed 680 people who were living on the streets or in a shelter in Boston and Cambridge.  By doing so, HomeStart very quietly and under almost every radar changed Boston and Cambridge’s public spaces and dramatically reduced trauma and suffering of our most vulnerable residents.  Every night on Boston’s streets and in shelters, people will fall asleep hoping that, tomorrow, they will be able to find a HomeStart advocate- because they know that HomeStart can – and does – permanently end cycles of homelessness for so many. And that is why WECycle.

So with this, on behalf of our 1200 beautiful and hurting neighbors, I’d like to give 1200 cheers to all this year’s riders who were willing and able to stop what they were doing to support another person who is suffering! Someone whose name they may never even know. Thank you so much, and I heartily look forward to seeing you again next year!

Matt Pritchard

Executive Director, HomeStart

Why ICycle: OA’s Jennie Hardin

Director of Marketing Jennie Hardin Participates in HomeStart's ICycle

Director of Marketing Jennie Hardin Participates in HomeStart’s ICycle

A typical day for me often starts with a spin class. So today, like many others for me, started with a spin class. But this wasn’t a typical day and this certainly wasn’t my typical spin class.

Rather than walking to my gym down the street, I packed my bag and headed downtown to One International Place to hop on a spin bike – outdoors – and participate in HomeStart’s 9th Annual ICycle event.

I was merely one rider among the 320 participants and 25 teams that took time out of their day to brace the elements, in an attempt to begin to understand what it could be like to live without a home in New England’s unpredictable winter weather. Many commuters with bewildered looks passed by as I was spinning, some stopping to offer a cheer of encouragement and others even donating a few dollars to support the cause. From the blasting music and the energetic riders to the camera crews and the large dancing sports mascots, ICycle is certainly a sight to behold and one that is hard to overlook.

However, as I was spinning, I was reminded of how often homeless men and women on the streets are overlooked and how many commuters do not typically stop to offer a word of encouragement or some spare change to those in need. I’m guilty of it too; after a long day at work, sometimes all I want to do is return to my warm, welcoming apartment to relax. In my haste, I rush by the man on the street who’s sat outside all day and who doesn’t have that warm, welcoming apartment to return home to like I do. Sometimes, I don’t even think to offer a simple greeting or see if I have a few dollars to spare.

Now that I’ve stepped off the bike, caught my breath and gone about my typical day, my hope is that for every person who participated in, or supported, ICycle in some way, those same people – myself included – will offer a gesture of support to one of the thousands of homeless people who often go unnoticed.

This is why ICycle – to remind myself and others that it’s the men and women who are often overlooked and who do not have a roof over their heads who need our support and encouragement more than anyone. ICycle because one hour outside in the New England winter is nothing compared to what many people endure day in and day out. ICycle because there are too many people living in homelessness and it’s past time that we work together, as a community, to find permanent solutions.

About HomeStart

HomeStart is a non-profit organization whose mission is to end and prevent homelessness in Greater Boston by assisting individuals in obtaining permanent housing and settling into the community, and by developing strategies to address systemic barriers to housing placement.  For more information, visit www.homestart.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

Why ICycle: OA’s Cayenne Isaksen

ICycle 2016Tomorrow morning I will get up, head into Boston and begin my day by hopping on a spin bike – outside – in front of One International Plaza to support the 9th Annual ICycle event for HomeStart.

Cayenne Isaksen, Director

Cayenne Isaksen, Director

Weather reports currently show temperatures in the low 40s paired with wind and rain. But that isn’t stopping the 320 riders and 25 teams who are coming out to ride in order to raise money and awareness for HomeStart. All of us riding know that one hour outside in cold or rainy weather is nothing compared to what the men and women living in homelessness face every day and every night.

HomeStart is a local non-profit organization in Boston that is working incredibly hard to help end homelessness, by first preventing it. They have helped save over 3,000 families and individuals from losing their homes, while offering stabilization services to assist them in obtaining and maintaining permanent housing. Of those receiving stabilization services, 96 percent remain housed one year later. Their efforts are not only admiral and heartwarming – they are working.

Every morning that I come to work, I get off the T at Haymarket, and every morning I pass men and women who spent the previous night sleeping in a tucked away corner on the sidewalk. And the number continues to grow. That is why ICycle. And, perhaps this year more than any other year, I see more and more young men and women tucked away in these corners sleeping, or sitting with friends hoping for a small donation to help them get their next meal. That is why ICycle. And, because every day I have the great fortune of going home at the end of my day, and that should not be a luxury, it should be the rule. That is why ICycle.

To learn more about HomeStart and the ICycle event, visit www.homestart.org. For more information about O’Neill and Associates’ public relations services, click here

HomeStart Raises a Record-Breaking $548K at 2015 Fall Gala

HomeStart Honorees William F. Boynton, SVP of Morgan Stanley, Joseph E. Corcoran, Founder and Chairman of Corcoran Jennison Companies, HomeStart Executive Director Matt Pritchard, and Honoree Sushil K. Tuli, President and CEO of Leader Bank

HomeStart Honorees William F. Boynton, SVP of Morgan Stanley, Joseph E. Corcoran, Founder and Chairman of Corcoran Jennison Companies, HomeStart Executive Director Matt Pritchard, and Honoree Sushil K. Tuli, President and CEO of Leader Bank

Boston-based nonprofit, HomeStart held its 7th Annual Fall Gala on Saturday, September 19, raising a record $548,000. HomeStart’s Gala celebrated the organization’s tremendous success by gathering elected and appointed officials, business leaders, members of the Boston community, HomeStart supporters, and the HomeStart team together for a night of reflection and recognition. The event recognized the nonprofit’s 21 years of providing permanent housing support services for the homeless population of the Greater Boston Area, and acknowledged a few key individuals who have helped support HomeStart and spread awareness along the way.

Last year alone, HomeStart saved 407 low-income families and individuals from eviction. Since its launch in 1994, HomeStart has found permanent homes for over 6,000 homeless people including veterans, single parents and victims of domestic violence.  This year’s Gala, held at the Westin Boston Waterfront, celebrated HomeStart’s growth, and highlighted the nonprofit’s clear vision and innovative plans to prevent and end homelessness in Boston permanently.

The 2015 Annual Fall Gala, hosted by Janet Wu, news reporter and anchor of WHDH-TV Ch. 7, and member of the HomeStart Advisory Board, recognized three influential HomeStart advocates.  Joseph E. Corcoran, Founder and Chairman of Corcoran Jennison was honored with the Gold Key Award, Sushil K. Tuli, President and CEO of Leader Bank received the President’s Award, and William F. Boynton, Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management was presented with the Trent Hankins Award.

HomeStart is founded on the standards that every person deserves a place to live, and that having a home empowers individuals to make other positive life changes. Working with nearly every shelter in the Greater Boston Area, last year alone, HomeStart placed 658 families and individuals out of shelter or off the streets and into housing.  And, as a result of their wraparound stabilization services, 95 percent of those clients have remained housed when tracked one year later and beyond.

Bill Boynton to be Honored at HomeStart’s Annual Gala

Bill Boynton

O’Neill and Associates‘ client HomeStart announced that it will honor three prominent community and business leaders who are committed to supporting the organization’s mission to end and prevent homelessness. At its Annual Gala on September 19, 2015 at the Westin Waterfront Hotel, HomeStart will present the Gold Key Award to Joseph E. Corcoran, founder and chairman of Corcoran Jennison Companies. The President’s Award will be given to Sushil K. Tuli, President and CEO of Leader Bank. The Trent Hankins award will be presented to longtime board member William F. Boynton, Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. This award is named after former board member, Trent Hankins, who passed away in 2002.

The gala co-chairs include Jeff Conway, Executive Vice President of State Street Corporation, Richard Holbrook, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank, and William Boynton. Longtime HomeStart friend and Advisory Board Member, Janet Wu of WHDH-7 News, will emcee.

“HomeStart has had a fantastic year,” said Matt Pritchard, President and Executive Director of HomeStart. “As we continue to work toward eradicating homelessness in our region, I am thrilled to be a part of this year’s gala honoring Joe, Sushil and Bill, who have been tremendous advocates for our cause.”

William Boynton is an active member of the HomeStart Board of Directors where he serves as the Chairman of the Development Committee and is an indefatigable advocate for HomeStart work to prevent and end homelessness. Mr. Boynton serves as Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management where he provides clients with comprehensive financial services and investment management. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Finance and Resource Economics from the Whitemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. He received advanced portfolio management training from the Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia. Mr. Boynton joined Morgan Stanley in January of 2010 after spending 28 years in the Wealth Management division of UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Over the past 21 years, HomeStart has provided vital solutions to ending homelessness by working to assist individuals and families in finding, maintaining and thriving in housing. Ninety-two cents of every dollar donated to HomeStart goes directly to support four core services: prevention, housing first, housing search and stabilization.

Last year alone, HomeStart saved 658 low-income families and individuals from eviction and homelessness and, of those, 64 were homeless veterans. On average, HomeStart can prevent an eviction for $730, compared with the cost of sheltering that same family at the taxpayers’ expense of approximately $30,000 annually. Since its inception in 1994, HomeStart has found permanent homes for 6,000 homeless people including veterans, single mothers and victims of domestic violence. In addition, HomeStart’s Stabilization Team helps reintegrate each client into the community so they are able to maintain their housing and break the cycle of chronic homelessness. As a result, 95% of clients receiving HomeStart’s stabilization services have remained in their housing one year later.

For tickets and sponsorship information please visit the website or contact Jessica Langer at 617-542-0338 x275 or langer@homestart.org.