Community Engagement Champion
Brookline CDC recognizes the value of community organizing, community engagement, and advocacy as important and effective ways to transform neighborhoods or empower communities that have experienced significant social or economic inequities.
This year, the award recognized Danielle Mendola for her many community programs. In alignment with BCDC’s commitment to affordable housing, advancing economic inclusion, mobility and social justice, this year’s honoree is doing inspiring work to combat Brookline’s well-known affordable housing crisis by driving more inventory, disrupting barriers to access and preventing homelessness for individuals and families, domestic abuse survivors, LGBTQ+ youth, veterans and more.
Ms. Mendola’s commitment to Brookline is both informed and transformative. As Brookline Housing Authority’s Resident Services Program Director, she and BHA’s leadership have been ready partners with the Brookline CDC on a range of programs. Together Danielle championed a health and wellness program for BHA residents, championed a first-time homebuyer’s program, led a back to school and holiday gift card pilot, advocated for recreational resources for disadvantaged youth, hosted book drives as well as supported Brookline CDC on a range of individual requests for assistance. Her commitment to community engagement is evidenced by her ability to motivate her team to engage with the community, getting residents to join the boards of nonprofits, leveraging resources from the nonprofit and business community and engaging residents in important civic conversations.
Economic Development Champion
Brookline Community Development Corporation Developer Award celebrates what truly makes Brookline great – the passion, creativity and diversity of our community development leaders.
This year’s Community Developer recipient has all made dramatic contributions to the economic, social and cultural life of the communities we serve – from inspirational buildings to dedicated organizations and developing leaders, Brookline CDC honors Amy Schectman for helping to make Brookline thrive.
As 2Life’s President and CEO, Amy has done the near undoable in Brookline, created a community. Called the Brown Family, it offers income based and market housing. Walk into the property and you feel at home. But to assemble the stakeholders and financing has been an exceptional feat and demonstrates what can be done in Brookline. Amy made this possible because of her expansive problem solving skills, wealth of experience and genuine commitment to affordable housing, economic development and social and racial equity. BCDC believes that Ms. Schectman has provided Brookline with a roadmap for future affordable and mixed income development. For these reasons, we are extremely honored to recognize Amy’s substantial development and civic contributions to Brookline.
Volunteerism is the glue that holds Brookline together. Whether we are discussing town meetings, select board, school committee or Brookline CDC. Volunteering has allowed BCDC to better connect to our community and make it a better place. James Dyalchand-Ericson has proven a tireless, creative, thoughtful and generous volunteer, helping Brookline CDC to complete work that was in some ways beyond reach.
James is an exceptional person. His communication style has helped build relationships within the community and contributed to supporting others to do the same. He helped inform the development and delivery of activities, projects or services by bringing in new opinions, ideas or approaches. Whether we were planning a Section 8 conference for landlords, the gala, wellness programming or assisting unhoused families, he always brought a fresh perspective. He helped us to be nimble and change direction when we did not have the ear of younger people. He worked efficiently and effectively to complete assignments on or ahead of schedule. He inspected our properties and attended meetings to create new housing. He set up data systems to identify property owners. He conducted housing research and produced a range of useful demographic data of use to BCDC. You could give him an assignment and it would get done well. This gala is a testament to his hard work. Also, no task was too small for James. He runs errands faster than you can contemplate what to do with the information once received. Finally, James is simply a delight to be around. He made coming to work a joy.
BCDC’s experience with James has taught it the true value of volunteerism and expanding one’s view of community.