WCF’s Co-President Honorary Host of 2018 Unity Breakfast on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Darshna Varia, WCF Co-President, was the Honorary Convener for the 18th Annual Unity Breakfast, held on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to celebrate Dr. King’s vision.  The Breakfast draws hundreds every year, and on January 15, 2018 over four hundred attendees were welcomed with Darshna’s reflections of her own exposure to Kingian thought and action.

Having grown up in Kenya, Darshna described her own introduction to the power of resistance to oppression with the 1990 release from prison of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela. As many Americans may have recalled where they were when Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, she recounted the sense of energy and possibility many in Africa felt when Mandela was freed. She noted that increasingly attendees would remember other visionary leaders, inspired by Dr. King, making it all the more important for each generation to recall his dream, to take stock of the work necessary to make it real, and to recommit itself to the task. She invited all to join her in doing so.

The Watertown Community Foundation has been a financial donor to the World in Watertown, organizers of the Unity Breakfast, since 2012. The Foundation also provides funding to other organizations featured in the program for the event, including the Watertown Public Schools and the Watertown Boys and Girls Club.

Watertown Community Foundation invites applicants for post of Executive Director

The Watertown Community Foundation works to build and sustain a vibrant, close-knit community in Watertown, Massachusetts— now and for future generations. After 15 years of operation, with steadily increasing grant-making, fundraising, and programmatic impact, WCF seeks an Executive Director (ED) to lead it during a period of unprecedented population growth and demographic change in the community we serve.

This half-time position offers the opportunity to shape WCF’s impact in its core focus areas: education, health, arts, and the environment. In partnership with an active and engaged 17-member board, the next ED will be the face of a dynamic and diverse community’s foremost philanthropy, will help craft WCF’s vision, and will oversee its implementation.

Position Description:

The ED is responsible, in partnership with the Board, for the growth and operations of the Foundation, in support of its mission. This includes strategic planning concerning areas of WCF’s community awareness and involvement (visibility), ensuring impact through grant-making and other programs (impact), fundraising (development), and overseeing core administrative functions (operations). The Executive Director is supported by a part-time Executive Assistant.

Candidates should have energy and enthusiasm, coupled with mature judgment, absolute integrity, and a history of community engagement, and should demonstrate competence in the following:

  • Adaptability: Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible, versatile and/or tolerant in a changing environment while maintaining effectiveness and efficiency, including the willingness to work evenings and on weekends when necessary;
  • Relationship-building: Establish and maintain positive working relationships with others, both internally (with Board members) and externally (community members and volunteers), to achieve the goals of the Foundation;
  • Communication: Speak, listen, and write in a clear, thorough, and timely manner using appropriate and efficient communication tools and techniques;
  • Creativity/Innovation: Develop efficient and creative ways to improve the operations of the Foundation, to execute Foundation programs and initiatives, and support the growth of the Foundation;
  • Planning: Determine strategies to move the Foundation forward, set goals, create and implement actions plans, and evaluate the process and results;
  • Organizational Management: Leverage technology to manage and maintain communications, documentation and streamline the activities of the Foundation; and
  • Strategic thinking: Assess initiatives and actions based on trends and conditions in the community, and the mission and resources of the Foundation.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Proficiency with online document management tools such as Microsoft 365 and donor relations management tools such as eTapestry
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the nonprofit sector and familiarity with philanthropy strongly preferred
  • Work experience in an environment that relies heavily on electronic communication and document management strongly preferred


  • This is a half-time position.
  • Salary is $35,000 – $45,000 per year, depending on experience.
  • The ED reports to the co-presidents of the WCF Board.

To Apply:

Please send resume and one page cover letter to execdirsearch@watertownfoundation.org

The Watertown Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public foundation that seeks a diverse pool of candidates.

WCF’s High School Internship Program supports Watertown teens for second year

student-interns-sept-2016What did you do this summer?  For eight Watertown high schoolers, the dreaded first assignment is a little easier this fall. Together they completed over a thousand hours of work as interns for which each received a $1000 stipend under the Watertown Community Foundation’s high school internship program. The program, open to Watertown residents in grades 9-12 attending any school, required at least 20 hours of voluntary work per week for at least six weeks. This was the second year WCF has offered the program, which grew from five students in 2015 to eight in 2016.

What did they do?  Grant recipients were interns in summer education programs, doctor’s offices, veterinary clinics, theater programs and a makerspace.  They were at a language immersion school and non-profit organizations working to alleviate poverty and educate the public about genocide.

What did they learn? Interns developed concrete skills, from operating 3D printers, building and coding robots to running heartworm tests and working with web publishing and design software. They discovered the satisfaction of seeing the effect of their work. An intern at the Watertown Animal Hospital noted “it was such a good feeling to be able to help out with the animals and see their improvements as time went by.” And they practiced some essential skills for virtually any workplace: “I also honed my professional writing skills and became more confident when making calls on the phone.”

What did they experience? Camilla Gana, who interned in a physician’s office went from seeing a medical team assembled and patients prepped for procedures, to observing a routine colonoscopy and then a patient’s death in the Intensive Care Unit. She helped providers working with substance abuse patients and saw a cardiac catheterization and stomach surgery. Jeremy Holt interned at City Mission Boston and saw parts of the city he’d never seen. And Teal Fechtor-Pradines, who worked with special needs students, observed that it “definitely gave me more insight into how to work with these kids, which will help me out a lot in my job after school.”

The students’ experiences could directly aid their educational and job paths, as subject matter for a college application essay or as relevant work experience. Sara Garcia Miller, who was a teacher’s assistant in a language immersion class, explained: “I can use this experience for my future because I’m interested in working with preschoolers.” One student kept a journal and over the six weeks wrote about what she liked, things she was good at and “not so good at to help me for the future.” What did they enjoy? “I personally loved when meeting everyone that they didn’t talk to me like a little kid.”

WCF high school interns were at these placements:

  1. North Shore Physician’s Group- Camilla Gana
  2. ABC Spanish in Motion (Charlestown) – Sara Garcia Miller
  3. Watertown Animal Hospital – Reem Hussein
  4. The Genocide Education Project – Rosdom Kaligian
  5. Watertown Children’s Theatre – Hallie Blitzman
  6. Watertown Public Schools – Special Ed Summer Program – Teal Fechtor-Pradines
  7. City Mission Boston – Jeremy Holt
  8. HATCH MakerSpace – Henry Hartshorn

WCF Co-President David Siegel explained, “Kids have always had summer jobs, but the importance of exposure to different types of work and different fields has grown as high schoolers must increasingly integrate what they learn in school to application in the broader world. We would love to be able to fund more internships, and find more businesses and organizations interested in hosting interns. We see this program as a way to help fire kids’ interests in higher education and careers – and by providing stipends, we can ensure that all families have these opportunities for their children.”


In the photograph, from left to right, are:

Adrienne Eaton (Watertown High School Guidance Counselor) , Rosdom Kaligian, Henry Hartshorn, Lora Sabin (Watertown Community Foundation Board Member), Camilla Gana, Reem Hussein

~ WCF Block Party Grants Available Now

WCF continues to sponsor “Neighborhood Block Parties for Philanthropy.”  WCF will reimburse you up to $200 so you, your family and neighbors can enjoy a festive event.  For more information about WCF’s Block Party Program, go to the Block Party page of our website.