On the agenda at the Tuesday, March 14 meeting of the Wellington Village Council was a discussion regarding the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Village of Wellington and the Wellington Community Foundation.
Barry Manning, newly elected chair of the foundation, took part in the presentation, as did Assistant Village Manager Ed De La Vega, who shared some of the past accomplishments that the village has made by partnering with the foundation and encouraged the council to renew the MOU for another five-year term.
The MOU agreement formalizes the partnership between the village and foundation to support the needs of the community. It gives the village an opportunity to partner with a nonprofit organization, assess the needs of the community and be able to address those in need together. Where the village meets its limits, the foundation can come alongside to help accomplish many projects crucial to the community.
Manning, who has been a member of the Wellington Community Foundation’s board since its inception as an independent organization, said he was honored to represent the foundation as its newly elected chair. He added that he looks forward to working with everyone at the village to continue serving the Wellington community with a specific focus on helping seniors, children and veterans in need.
The foundation recently held its annual election of officers. With the position of chair vacant since the December passing of Tom Wenham, Manning was elected the new chair of the board of directors on a unanimous vote, along with Vice Chair Jim Sackett, Treasurer Hope Barron and Secretary Terri Kane.
“It was an honor to serve alongside Tom Wenham since the inception of the foundation as an independent organization back in 2016,” Manning said. “I know that I speak for our entire organization when I say that Tom Wenham’s leadership will be missed, but the board of directors will continue to carry on the mission that Tom worked so diligently on for our community and residents in need.”
Councilman John McGovern thanked the foundation members for their services, good works and partnership with the village. He reminded those in attendance how hard he and then-Councilwoman Anne Gerwig fought to keep the organization alive and put members on the initial board.
“This is very much more than we could have hoped for, and the community is blessed to have you,” McGovern said.
Vice Mayor Michael Drahos agreed and acknowledged that there is much more work to be done, and he looks forward to accomplishing it together. Councilwoman Tanya Siskind added that the relationship has grown, and she looks forward to seeing what the next five years will bring.
Mayor Anne Gerwig said she appreciates the Wellington Community Foundation’s flexibility and thanked the board members present for serving as the village’s right hand to help when needed.
Village Manager Jim Barnes later shared that he was pleased to report that the council unanimously approved the renewal of its MOU with the Wellington Community Foundation.
“This MOU continues and builds on the great partnership between the village and the foundation for projects that make our community a great hometown,” Barnes said.
Manning said that he looks forward to working on many projects together in the future.
“As we continue to expand our initiatives and create more opportunities to serve our neighbors in need, we look forward to the ideas and planning that will come out of our upcoming visioning session,” he said.
With the recent decision of longtime Director Mickey Smith to step down from the board, and the passing of Wenham, there were two seats to be filled on the board. Recently nominated to the current board were two longtime Wellington residents — former Mayor Robert Margolis and business owner and community philanthropist Herta Suess. They have joined current directors Joanna Boynton, Michael Gauger, Donald Gross, Dr. Gordon Johnson, James Seder, Pam Tahan and Maggie Zeller, in addition to the officers named above.
The Wellington Community Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past seven years, but the organization will not stop there. The plans are set in motion to make this year’s upcoming annual fundraiser — Red, White & Blue Jeans “A Salute To Our Heroes” — a record-breaking event.
For more information on the organization, and to learn how you can become part of helping your neighbors in need, visit www.wellingtoncommunityfoundation.org.