More than a year ago—you know, when we were “coming out of the pandemic”—there was a lot of talk about the new normal. Yet, as a society, we find ourselves continuing to learn from a year of lockdown and the ongoing racial reckoning. We are still adjusting to what it looks and feels like to live and play in a world with an ongoing pandemic. Every day, we hear from our nonprofit partners that they are still working on the frontlines to ensure the most vulnerable members of our community have access to the resources they need. And so, while we haven’t quite made it to that “new normal,” we’re continually reminded of the centrality of kindness, compassion, and generosity—and how the life science industry and Boston’s nonprofit ecosystem beautifully exemplify these indispensable traits. So, as we look ahead to 2022, perhaps we’ll reach the “new normal” or perhaps we’ll have to innovate and adapt. In a world that is still riddled with uncertainty, what we know, is that we can accomplish amazing things when we come together to truly make a collective impact.
We have recommitted, with even more urgency, to harnessing the resources of the life science industry to alleviate poverty and combat its impacts on our community.
Here’s how we did this year:
- Building on our deep relationships with community organizations, we’ve pitched in, partnered up and figured out new and innovative ways to quickly get support to the people that need it.
- Fueled by the passion of the life science industry and all the people in it, we’ve pivoted to volunteer virtually, remotely and socially distanced.
- With a learning mindset and a listening ear, we asked how we can leverage the power of our industry to achieve equity. Then, we made a plan to do just that.
Our impact by the numbers:
- $755K invested in 27 nonprofit partners
- 102 life science companies engaged
- 2,377 volunteers
- 5,300+ total hours volunteered
- $222,000+ worth of goods donated to nonprofit partner organizations
- 189 members on our Board of Advisors
- 96 Corporate Partners
It’s been a really busy year and you can read more about that below. For now, this is our new normal. Take time off over the holidays and be ready—we’ll be ringing your (Zoom) doorbell soon to ask for your help.
Life Science Cares kicked off 2021 by launching two new affiliates, positioning LSC as an organization that can organize and engage our industry on both coasts. Operating now in Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego & the Bay Area, we have collectively invested close to $6 million in community partnerships. We will continue to expand into cities where there is profound need and where there are resources and manpower in place to support nonprofits locally.
Here in Boston, we redoubled our efforts to support the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on families and communities. As work-from-home policies and hybrid and remote learning models continued into the new year, we re-launched our 1,000 Laptop Challenge, this time to address an ongoing digital divide. Donated devices from area biotech companies were distributed to students & families in need through Tech Goes Home, a nonprofit that empowers communities to access and use digital tools to overcome barriers and advance lives, to help shrink the digital divide exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
We joined our friends at Food For Free, the Biogen Foundation and Alexandria Real Estate Equities to launch the Just Eats Grocery Box program, which provided 3,000 area families with fresh food items and staples like rice and beans each week.
And, still facing social distancing and other safety protocols, we took our volunteer engagement to Zoom, running the first Life Science Cares Hackathon, a competition bringing life science industry expertise to a challenge posed by one of the organization’s nonprofit partners. Employee teams from three companies pitched ideas for how to scale Pine Street Inn’s iCater job training program and social enterprise to serve more meals to people in need. The Hackathon gave us another example of how we can leverage industry members’ skills and expertise to help neighbors in our community.
On April 27, 2021, exactly five years to the day after Life Science Cares was incorporated, the LSC Boston flagship published an impact report—Building Collective Impact, a celebration of the generosity and commitment of literally thousands of people who have joined Life Science Cares’ efforts since our founding. The report showcases the outcome of some of LSC’s earliest investments in our community partners and the impact we can have.
In May, we hosted our second annual virtual Impact Breakfast fundraiser, topping previous fundraising records to reach more than $700,000 raised. Keynote speaker Afdhel Aziz talked about the “purpose revolution” and called on industry to live our purpose each and every day. Watch the highlights here.
Summer means summer internships and Project Onramp came back strong to bridge the opportunity gap for underserved and minority students! In June, 127 college students performed in entry-level positions at 71 life science companies, some in-person, some remote and some hybrid. About half of our students worked in labs, while the other half worked in a variety of departments, like marketing, manufacturing, communications, finance, business strategy, patient advocacy, HR and clinical operations. They networked online, met with mentors on Zoom and finished the summer with an incredibly inspiring virtual Showcase. After a five-month process collecting feedback from students, employers, supervisors and other key stakeholders, we’ve got a three-year Strategic Plan to serve more students—and serve those students more deeply—in the years to come.
We also welcomed new team members this year. With the addition of Dr. Kelly Brawn, Head of Programs and Community Engagement, Bailey Katsumata-Smith, Partnerships Manager, and Yefei Jin, Strategic Projects Advisor & Doctoral Resident, we arepoised to support even more engagement and impact.
We were thrilled to partner with Luke Timmerman, as he lead 20 life science leaders 23 miles through the White Mountains, ultimately raising $735,000 to benefit our mission via the Timmerman Traverse. Later in September, we hosted our Mini Golf for Good tournament, welcoming hundreds of our friends and champions back to Tech Square, in-person, for a friendly round of mini golf.
At the annual meeting of the LSC Board of Directors, we elected new board leadership in Chair Abe Ceesay and Vice Chair Robert Urban, and we added Chip Clark to the board. Founder Rob Perez stepped into a role chairing the LSC Steering Committee, which oversees and coordinates activities of all the affiliates. This was a significant step for the organization and sets us up for long-term sustainability and growth here in Boston.
We also made final grants out of the LSC COVID-19 Response Fund—investing the remaining $550,000 in efforts to provide vaccine education and access to low-income communities—often the areas hardest hit by the pandemic—as well as continuing to address an increase in need for food and other basic needs. Read more about our partnership with Get Out The Vaccine, who pair BIPOC healthcare providers with field volunteers to reach more residents in Chelsea, Boston, Brockton and Lowell.
We launched One-to-One, a platform connecting students underrepresented in the industry with career exploration opportunities and strong professional networks In our first session, 30 meetings have taken place between students and industry volunteers. We’re excited to build on that success when school is back in session in January.
With the Watertown Community Foundation and four Watertown-based life science companies, we launched the Watertown STEM Education Fund, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to creative partnerships that build stronger communities & industry connections. The soon-to-be-announced grants will fund science, technology, engineering & math programming in the Watertown Public Schools.
We wrapped up the year with hundreds of our #HolidayHelpers, collecting food, clothes, care kits, toys and other critical items for our neighbors in need. Check out our Twitter feed for scenes from the festivities (and some killer ugly sweaters!)
Soon after the new year, we’ll introduce you to our 2022-2023 nonprofit partners, an impressive group of organizations having outsized impact on their communities. With these new partners will come new volunteer engagement opportunities, new calls for time & talent, and new requests for donated goods. Trust us, this cohort of partners is fun, innovative and FULL of ideas. Stay tuned for details.
We’re planning a hybrid (fingers crossed!) Impact Breakfast to celebrate our collective impact and will host the popular Mini Golf for Good tournament back in the courtyard at Tech Square next fall. We’ll continue to connect companies, employees and organizations for maximum impact.
Buckle up, LSC Network of Good. This is our new normal!
Sarah, Kelly, Bailey, Yefei, Lila & Michelle