Boston – Last night State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) received the 2014 Legislative Achievement Award from the Jewish Community Relations Council/Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations (JCRC/MAJF) during an awards ceremony in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House.
“We are thrilled to honor Senator Ben Downing with the JCRC/MAJF Legislative Achievement Award during this year's reception," said Ellen Segal, Co-Chair of the Legislative Reception. "Senator Downing is a remarkable presence in the Massachusetts Senate. His leadership on behalf of policies to lift people out of poverty, such as the Bridges to College program and Transitions to Work, run by JVS, sets a high standard for our public officials and we are grateful for his partnership."
The JCRC/MAJF Legislative Reception is an annual celebration of the contribution of their partners in government, advocacy and the community. Awardees are chosen based on their work on a wide variety of shared priorities including economic recovery, social services and support for Israel.
During the Fiscal Year 2014 Senate budget debate Downing partnered with JCRC/MAJF to secure funding for an adult college transition service initiative, known as the Bridges to College program. Administered by JVS, Bridges to College is a free, 23-week college preparation program designed to help low-income and entry-level workers develop the necessary skills to succeed in college.
"It's an honor to be recognized by JCRC/MAJF,” said Downing. “I accept this on behalf of my colleagues and staff who have worked with me, as a team, to create the Bridges program and take other steps to create opportunity for every resident of Massachusetts. Clearly, we have more work to do and I look forward to doing that work, shoulder to shoulder, with JCRC."
State Representatives Carolyn C. Dykema (D- Holliston) and Michael J. Moran (D- Brighton) were also named Legislative Achievement Award winners last night. Additionally, Blake Webber, chief of staff for State Representative Aaron Michlewitz received the Legislative Staff Achievement Award and Robert L. Beal was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
MAJF is a statewide government affairs office that works to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish community and elected officials and personnel in key government departments; advocate for issues of concern to the community; and, helps its members access public funding to provide services to its clients.
JCRC promotes a society that reflects the best of American and Jewish values – in Greater Boston, Israel and around the world – by convening and mobilizing the Jewish community. Through advocacy, organizing, service and partnerships, JCRC pursues social justice, ensures a vibrant Jewish community, and builds a network of support for Israel. JCRC is part of CJP’s network of learning, caring and social justice.
JVS has been helping people secure financial independence through educational and employment services for 75 years. Each year, JVS empowers more than 21,000 individuals through more than 36 services that guide clients on a pathway to meaningful employment; some of which include educational testing, skills training, English for Speakers of Other Languages, job search training, career counseling, Adult Basic Literacy and Adult Diploma Program instruction, citizenship education and financial literacy.