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How the Yawkey Foundation has been one of Hale’s most enduring partnerships

In 2004, old power lines fanning out to various buildings caused a small brush fire at Hale. Thankfully the damage was not extensive, but it highlighted the challenges of aging infrastructure. Nonprofits—especially those with large physical plants like Hale—often struggle with asset depletion: Buildings and equipment wear down, and over time, upkeep gets costlier. In this case, over a mile of power lines needed new poles and upgrades—no small task, and certainly no small expense.

The Yawkey Foundation’s Impact

In stepped the Yawkey Foundation. Trustees visited the site, provided valuable knowledge and experience, and funded the repairs. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but it was essential. In many ways, the work reflected Tom and Jean Yawkey’s belief that one should “do what is right. Do it quietly. And don’t expect praise for being kind.” 

Even so, praise is deserved, as we greatly appreciate the Foundation’s support. Replacing power lines is just one way Yawkey has supported Hale over the years. More than two decades ago, the Yawkey Foundation began recognizing Hale Summer Camps‘ impact on children in Greater Boston. Initial grants seeded a campership fund to ensure those in need could experience Hale’s 1,100+ acres of adventure.

And over the past two decades, investment by the Yawkey Foundation in significant capital needs—from power lines, to sewer repairs, to dam maintenance, to several key building projects—resulted in important improvements that make many of our programs possible today. Its long history of support for essential projects like these has quietly made Yawkey one of Hale’s most transformational donors.

Working Toward Shared Goals

The overlap between our respective missions is clear. Whereas Yawkey (like its founders, Jean and Tom Yawkey) strives to “make significant and positive impacts on the quality of life for children, families, and the underserved,” Hale believes “nature, education, and recreation inspire us to learn, empower us to lead, and challenge us all to create a world in which people, place, and purpose are united.” We share a deep commitment to improving lives by delivering high-quality programs.

The Foundation’s most recent gift of $250,000 is funding design, site preparation, and infrastructure upgrades for a new lodge at Hale. The facility will feature a dining hall and learning spaces that will address inequitable food service, make overnight programs possible, and provide space for more education programs. The lodge will enrich Hale’s work, and it will be just one of many ways Yawkey has impacted the tens of thousands of children who frequent our programs.

Partnerships are a hallmark of Hale, and we’re thankful for the Yawkey Foundation’s enduring commitment to our community.