High Points from 18 Years at the Community Foundation

With the announcement of Community Foundation President/CEO Philip Grzewinski retiring this year,  we highlight some of his experiences, and  touch on some of his proudest accomplishments on the job.


When he looks back at some of the high points of his 17-year career as President of the Community Foundation, Philip Grzewinski doesn’t have to look very far. In fact, three of his most memorable achievements happened this past year:


Saving Lives with the LUCAS

It’s easy to see why Grzewinski is so proud of the LUCAS Initiative, which is literally saving lives by providing first responders with LUCAS3® automated chest compression devices. The Community Foundation helped the Pepperell Fire Department obtain the $15,000 device in 2017. After it was used to save the life a heart attack victim, the Foundation expanded the initiative to include 14 more communities in central Massachusetts in 2018.

“The equipment is expensive, but what price do you place on one life?” says Grzewinski. “When we heard about the first save in Pepperell, we were just so amazed and delighted, and it was a no-brainer to buy the equipment for the rest of the region’s first responders.”


Building a Bridge for Sober Living

Grzewinski is also eager to highlight a 3-year grant made to Gardner Athol Area Mental Health Association (GAAMHA) because it is providing a bridge for both the organization and its beneficiaries. GAAMHA is using the grant to construct a sober living facility in Fitchburg for people who are transitioning out of residential treatment programs. The facility is expected to be operational this year and self-funded by 2021.

“The housing provides a very safe environment for those who are in recovery and want a stable place to live and continue on their path to sobriety,” says Grzewinski. “The grant itself is catalytic in nature, because it gets the organization to the point where it can apply for additional funding and collect rent.”


Taking Steps to Strengthen Literacy

The Community Foundation made another multi-year commitment by funding the Early Literacy Innovation Zone, an initiative that provides children in 15 central Massachusetts towns with access to Footsteps2Brilliance®, a breakthrough bilingual literacy app. Grzewinski says the Community Foundation was so impressed with results from a pilot of the program in Fitchburg schools that they eagerly expanded it.

“With the initial grant, we could not believe the results that were achieved. It honestly seemed almost too good to be true,” says Grzewinski “We realized if it worked for one community, we could make it work for our region.”


About the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts


The Foundation supports the community by giving grants and distributions in the areas of health and human services, education, environment, animal welfare and arts and culture.  We are a non-profit organization, dedicated to helping donors establish permanent endowment funds – benefiting the community forever and creating a lasting legacy for fund holders.

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Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts

Helping donors do good work… FOREVER




649 John Fitch Hwy
Fitchburg, MA 01420


Phone: 978-345-8383
Fax: 978-345-1459
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