SPRINGFIELD — The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts’ trustees of the Order of William Pynchon announced their selection of four local residents as recipients of this year’s Pynchon medal.
“Our choice of these four remarkable individuals represents a collective concern and dedication to the past, present, and future of our region,” said Mary Shea, chairman of the Pynchon trustees.
Slated to receive the Advertising Club’s Pynchon Medal on Oct. 18 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke are: Craig Carr, one of the original incorporators of the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield; Sally Fuller, a tireless advocate for early childhood literacy; Robert McCarroll, a noted historic preservationist; and Ronald Weiss, who was instrumental in the creation of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
The Advertising Club confers the Order of William Pynchon and the Pynchon Medal upon citizens of Western Mass. who have rendered distinguished service to the community. Recipients are nominated each year by members of the community, and are chosen by unanimous decision of the Pynchon trustees, who are Ad Club’s current and five past presidents.
Since 1991, Springfield’s Ronald McDonald House has hosted more than 12,500 families from around the globe, and since that time, Craig Carr has been maintained a consistent and dedicated commitment to the organization. In his letter nominating her for the Pynchon medal, Jack Dill, himself a Pynchon medalist (2016), noted that “there is little doubt that, without Craig’s formative and ongoing commitment, this facility, of such great importance to so many families, would neither exist nor have prospered over the past 30 years.”
Carr established the initial relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities and helped organize the founding board of directors for the house and played an integral part in engaging Shriners Hospitals for Children and Baystate Health with the project. She was instrumental in raising the $2.3 million needed to establish the local Ronald McDonald House, and has been a tireless advocate for the house ever since. She is also secretary of the Ronald McDonald Charities Board of Western Massachusetts and Connecticut.
It should come as no surprise that the daughter of a high-school English teacher would value literacy. Or that before she spent more than a decade working with the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation on childhood-literacy projects such as Cherish Every Child and the Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative. Sally Fuller has also been an active volunteer at local family- and community-oriented organizations such as WGBY, the Springfield Mentoring Partnership, the Pioneer Valley Girl Scout Council, Square One, Springfield School Volunteers, and the Ronald McDonald House.
The Cherish Every Child initiative aims to prime Springfield children for success as they entered kindergarten. Under her leadership, this was accomplished by creating an environment where educators, business leaders, elected officials, and others worked together, to, in part, ensure quality education for children under age 5, improve services provided to families, and create beneficial health programs for those children and their families.
Robert McCarroll has been described as the “protector of Springfield’s built environment,” and indeed, over the past four decades, with a career as city planner, and long-time volunteer with the Springfield Preservation Trust, Springfield Historical Commission, and Mattoon Street Arts Festival, he has worked tirelessly to make a measurable difference in the quality of life in Springfield while promoting the city he loves.
As a member of the Springfield Planning Department, he was instrumental in the creation of five of Springfield’s local historic districts, protecting more than 1,000 buildings; later as a member of the Springfield Historical Commission, he spearheaded the creation of four additional districts. He also successfully fought to preserve several historic buildings at the site of the MGM Springfield casino. He has instituted house tours, walking tours, and programs, as well as lecturing and leading public meetings introducing residents to the value of Springfield’s built environment and the economic benefit from its restoration and preservation.
For more than 30 years, Ronald Weiss has applied his talents to issues confronting area civic, artistic, charitable, economic, and religious organizations, and worked toward creating viable solutions that benefit the entire region.
Along with area banking, business, and civic leaders, Weiss formed the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts in November 1990. He authored the trust agreement that formed the foundation, creating a unique structure that allows the foundation to directly receive, administer, and distribute funds, and also allows financial institutions that are private foundation trustees to remain as trustees after their foundations become part of the community foundation. Since its founding, the foundation has grown to include total assets of more than $150 million, with nearly 2,000 contributions totaling $10.7 million in 2017. Foundation distributions in 2017 included $2.1 million in scholarships and loans to 800 students, and nearly 1,500 grants totaling $6.9 million.