This year has been challenging for Life Science Cares as the coronavirus continues to fuel poverty, racial and socioeconomic divides. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s the power of people and community. We’d like to thank every single individual, member and nonprofit partner in our Greater Boston network. Thanks to you, 165 companies provided 2,500 volunteers with opportunities that generated 3,250 volunteer hours and $350,000 in donations to our nonprofit partners in Massachusetts. Below are a few more highlights from our year in review.
Life Science Cares kicked off 2020 by introducing our latest nonprofit partners—27 organizations committed to providing basic needs, educational supports and opportunities for people in need. We hosted our annual January Mixer and began to make connections between member companies, engaged employees and partner organization staff. The LSC Council of Champions hosted our first ever Pedaling for a Purpose indoor cycling event and we rallied the industry to wear PJs to work as part of a pajama drive. We rolled out the Spring Into Action volunteer calendar and were gearing up for a year of impact.
When the pandemic hit Massachusetts in March, we quickly launched a multi-faceted COVID-19 relief effort to help Greater Boston neighbors facing challenges during the crisis. More than 600 area biopharma executives and employees rallied to raise an initial $1.8 million that has since been granted to organizations providing food, shelter and medical care. Thirty-three nonprofits received between $5,000 and $125,000 each in relief grants.
We also hosted From the Frontlines—a webinar series offering a real-time look at what organizations and agencies were dealing with as we saw food & housing insecurity increase across the region.
Continuing to multiply our financial contributions with manpower, Life Science Cares partnered with local hospitals to recruit individuals with clinical and medical training and those who could help in non-clinical settings on the frontlines. And, we created virtual volunteer opportunities for individuals and families, ranging from mentoring STEM students and rising college graduates to collecting food and clothing donations. We will continue to leverage multifaceted partnerships with grantees to help ensure residents’ health and safety as the pandemic and its impacts linger.
In June, 37 college students were placed in entry-level positions at 22 life science companies across Massachusetts as part of Project Onramp. The biotechnology workforce development program matches undergraduate students working with Bottom Line with paid summer entry-level internships, which often lead to full-time employment. Created and sponsored by four of the nation’s leading life science organizations headquartered in Massachusetts – MassBio, MassBioEd, Life Science Cares and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center – the program is designed to help bridge the opportunity gap for underserved and minority students while building a pipeline of local and diverse talent in the life science industry. Students mostly worked and networked remotely but feedback from students & employers was overwhelming positive.
In October, we hosted our annual Impact Breakfast fundraiser. The 2020 event, held virtually, raised $605,000 to support our end-of-year grant making to a network of nonprofits providing basic human services, education and economic sustainability programs across Greater Boston. As a result, we were able to award $755,000 in grants to 27 social service organizations for a second year. The 2020 award distribution has brought our collective member organization’s four-year giving total to more than $3.8 million.
In November, we were honored to co-host the 2nd annual Life Science & Healthcare Nonprofit Organizations Pitch Challenge, a competition to showcase and grow awareness for nonprofit organizations operating in our ecosystem. Five Massachusetts-based nonprofits pitched their missions and models to an expert panel of judges who have life science and nonprofit industry expertise. Science Rehashed was crowned the Challenge Winner, earning a free one-year MassBio membership and a $2,500 award courtesy of Life Science Cares. Runners up included Our Odyssey and BUILD Boston.
As we move into 2021, we look forward to expanding our reach and impact nationally, opening Life Science Cares affiliates in San Diego and San Francisco. We’ll launch a new www.LifeScienceCares.org designed to better showcase the creative ways our member companies and volunteers come together to give back. We’ll grow Project Onramp and launch a new career conversations program—One to One. We’ll host a hackathon designed to help bring industry expertise to a challenge posed by our partners at Pine Street Inn. We’re planning a second Virtual Impact Breakfast, a fun new community-building event in Summer 2021 and, fingers crossed, the popular Mini Golf for Good tournament back in the courtyard at Tech Square next fall.
We remain committed to finding new and creative ways to leverage our industry’s tremendous talent, treasure and time to tackle society’s greatest social issues.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!
Sarah, Christine & Amber