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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The directors of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation announced the appointment of Paul Belsito as executive director of the foundation, succeeding Mary Walachy, who has served in the position for the past 23 years. Belsito will begin his new role on June 1.

Belsito most recently worked for the Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester, where he served as president of the Hanover Insurance Group Foundation and assistant vice president for Community Relations. In his nearly eight years at Hanover, Belsito led charitable giving, community relations, and employee giving and service in the company’s efforts to improve the lives of Worcester’s youth.

The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation places special emphasis on programs designed to strengthen schools and propel youth to higher levels of success. One of Belsito’s signature initiatives was supporting the Advancement Via Individualized Determination college readiness program in Worcester Public Schools.

During her tenure, Walachy guided the foundation in establishing several signature initiatives, including Cherish Every Child, the nationally-recognized Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative, the 413families/familias community texting initiative, and the advocacy group Springfield Business Leaders for Education. Most recently, she led the effort to establish and build the innovative Educare Springfield early-education center, which opened in the fall of 2019 near the campus of Springfield College and Brookings Elementary School.

Walachy will continue to represent the Davis Foundation in its role as philanthropic lead for Educare Springfield, the 24th Educare in the country and the first in Massachusetts, through the end of 2020.

“I am honored to join the Davis Foundation to advance our shared goals of improving the lives of children and families in Hampden County,” Belsito said. “In our present time, the commitment of the Davis family has never been more important, and I am excited to expand on the great foundation that Mary and the board have established. The legacy of Irene and George Davis remains vital as we rethink and reimagine how our community can best meet the needs of all of its residents. I am excited to listen, to learn, and build on this legacy in partnership with the board.”

A native of Worcester, Belsito has long been deeply involved in his community, serving on numerous nonprofit boards, including corporator of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, associate trustee of the Nativity School of Worcester, and presently as chair of the board of the EcoTarium. In the last few months, he co-led the city of Worcester’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in support of COVID-19 pandemic response.

Belsito brings a diversity of professional experiences across higher education, politics, and government to the Davis Foundation in addition to his significant experience in philanthropy and community engagement. Prior to joining Hanover, he served in the Office of the President at Assumption College as executive assistant for Government and Community Relations, and as a district director in the Massachusetts State Senate. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management and an MBA, both from Assumption College.

COVID-19 Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation announced a grant of $500,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley, established by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, to provide flexible resources to Pioneer Valley nonprofit organizations serving populations most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Davis Foundation donation is part of the Community Foundation campaign to rally business and philanthropic support for the fund, and is included in the more than $3 million raised to date.

Speaking on behalf of the Davis Foundation, Director Steven Davis said, “these are extraordinary times requiring that business and philanthropy in Western Massachusetts come together to address this unprecedented crisis and its impact on the people of our region. We applaud the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts for their leadership in establishing the COVID-19 Response Fund and are proud to provide these much-needed resources.”

The COVID-19 Response Fund’s grants to nonprofits support the region’s most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, those without stable housing, families needing food, and those with particular health vulnerabilities.

The COVID-19 Response Fund, now over $3 million in donations, has awarded $1 million to nearly 30 local nonprofits serving the immediate needs of the most vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic in Western Mass. For more information about the fund, visit communityfoundation.org/covid19.

According to Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, “the Davis Foundation is a critical resource to our region, and we welcome their generous support of the COVID-19 Response Fund. We appreciate our longtime partnership with the Davis Foundation and their unwavering commitment to our community.”

The Davis Foundation, a private family foundation established in 1970, supports nonprofit organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for those residing in Hampden County, with a particular focus in the areas of education and early literacy. The foundation and the Davis family have historically served as leaders in countless community efforts, and many local nonprofit organizations have come to rely upon the foundation as a source of support for a wide variety of programs and projects.