2023 was a year of change for the Ellis South End Neighborhood Association. Stacy Koeppel, our Executive Director, resigned — that was tough but we are proud of how we tackled that challenge and in the end we were able to implement much of our strategic plan. We added Jasmine Murray (Jazz), our Administrative Coordinator, and we successfully made the transition (thank you Kevin Mulcahy and Jasmine Murray) to a new and more efficient membership database. Beth Harris, Board President, and the Executive Committee made changes to our insurer, accountant, banking and budgeting process that has Ellis streamlined and up to date with the latest best practices. These back-end challenges needed our focus and now leave us nimble and ready to move forward.
What makes Ellis a great neighborhood is the feeling that you belong and that you belong whether you live here, work here, or go to school here. The job of the Neighborhood Association is to bring these groups into proximity and provide opportunities to connect. Here are a few things ESENA did to make that happen in 2023: Our collab with Life Alive/Down Under Yoga; the DEI luncheon for our non-profits,(thank you Revolution Hotel and all our great cooks in the neighborhood); our visit with Mayor Wu; The Ellis Pumpkin Patch; wine tastings (thank you Neighborhood Wines); our progressive dinner (BIG thanks to all our fantastic SE restaurants); 400 wreaths hung on our streets (thank you Gibson/Sotheby’s, Steve Cohen Team, Skanska, Hingham Savings Bank).
Outreach is another key aspect to cultivating that neighborhood feeling. In 2023 ESENA supported teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day at Ellis Early Learning, put a delicious pot-luck lunch together for all the non-profits in our footprint, collected pajamas and books for kids in foster homes and state care, helped in the garden at Mel King Academy, stocked two Little Diverse Libraries with kids and adult books and awarded almost $12,000 in scholarship money to The Ben Franklin Cummings Institute students (thank you John Alekna and the scholarship committee).
We want to thank everyone who volunteered in 2023 on projects big and small. Volunteering is where it's at and that's another key to making a great neighborhood. We love meeting new people so a BIG thank you to everyone who signed up and showed up!
Heading into 2024, we are already super excited by what's to come. Our Board of Directors is planning more informative community meetings this year and we kicked off this initiative with our State Representative Aaron Michlewitz. On April 9th, we will be hosting city managers to discuss electricity, composting, and recycling (This event will be held in the Music and Movement Room at Ellis Early Learning, 66 Berkeley Street at 6 pm.) We will be hosting some small new member cocktail events throughout the spring, drinking more wine, and in early June (details almost finalized!) we will be having a whopper of a fundraiser so keep an eye out for the save the date!
As always, we want to stress that there are no prerequisites to volunteering and getting involved. No matter your age or whether you have kids to bring along, a full-time job, or can only work from home, we welcome all sorts and we’re excited to find a place for you to help out. Contact us with an email, sign up next time you see a call for helpers, or come to an event and check us out or check us out on Facebook or Instagram.
See you in the neighborhood!
The ESENA Executive Committee
The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association: P.O. Box 170731, Boston, MA, 02117