Faces of WID- April 2021


Name: Laura Alpert
Title & Organization: Vice President of Philanthropy, Boston Arts Academy Foundation
WID Role: Member
Hometown: Swampscott, MA
Lives Currently: Moving to Quincy in spring 2021
Education: Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University, Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Brandeis University
Hobbies: Tennis, Walking, Piano, Singing, Visiting Museums, Dining Out, Cooking
When and how did you join the development field? What path brought you to your current role?

My father, whose career at Mass General Hospital has spanned more than 50 years, thought that development would be a great fit for me. Within a year after graduate school, I worked in development at Partners Health Care (now Mass General Brigham), and then at The Dimock Center in Roxbury, followed by Pine Street Inn. I started in marketing/public relations/communications within development teams, then transitioned to roles encompassing communications and development when I moved to Upstate New York. Since 2007, I’ve held a variety of VP of Development and Senior VP of Development roles while leading teams of up to six professionals. I returned to Boston in 2018 to work once again with Denella Clark, President of Boston Arts Academy Foundation and my former colleague at The Dimock Center. It’s a great joy to support the students and alumni at Boston Arts Academy, the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts.

Is there someone who has shaped or influenced your career in development? If so, in what way?
My career was shaped by the many professionals with whom I worked over the years, including Denella Clark; Shepley Metcalf, Maryellen Horgan Currier, and Anne Malone, formerly of Pine Street Inn; and several leaders in Upstate New York. Their vision, ingenuity, devotion to donors, commitment to mission, quest for improvement, success with building teams and diversifying revenue, and leadership by example helped me to become a leader and mentor who consistently learns and grows.
Tell us a bit about the organization for which you currently work and why fundraising is important to the mission?
As Head of School Anne Clark says, “Talent is everywhere in the city of Boston, but opportunity is not.” That’s what makes Boston Arts Academy so special and Boston Arts Academy Foundation so essential. Boston Public Schools funds Boston Arts Academy’s core academic curriculum. Boston Arts Academy Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization that partners with individual and institutional donors to invest in arts faculty and equipment, Health & Wellness, STEAM (STEM+Art), full inclusion services, and more—everything that makes the school and students unique and successful. Boston Arts Academy students come from all 23 Boston neighborhoods. 84% are Black or Latinx. Many students are economically disadvantaged. 

Artistic passion and talent demonstrated through an arts audition or art portfolio submission are the only criteria for admission to Boston Arts Academy. For six straight years, 97% of each graduating class has been accepted to college, and many Boston Arts Academy alumni become first generation college students.

Donations to Boston Arts Academy Foundation support an arts-intensive and college preparatory education as well as life-changing opportunities comparable to the Walnut Hill School of the Arts in Natick—at no cost to Boston Arts Academy’s students or families. Boston Arts Academy Foundation’s donors can take great pride in the accomplishments of Boston Arts Academy’s 480 students and 1,700 alumni, who are leading and innovating in Greater Boston and beyond.

As Boston Arts Academy prepares to open its state-of-the-art school building across from Fenway Park in 2022, the number of students will immediately increase to 500 and eventually grow to 600. The new school building will not change the school’s funding formula. BAA
Foundation will continue to seek private funding to support a growing student body and new programs.

As we reflect on the past year combating the COVID-19 pandemic, what is your biggest takeaway either personally or professionally?
I think we all cringe a bit when I hear the word “pivot”, but that’s exactly what we’ve done, over and over again. Adaptability, creativity, and teamwork seem to be valued more now than ever before. Teams that work together to overcome obstacles and focus on providing meaningful experiences that connect donors with the mission will remain successful. Organizations that successfully adapt to a hybrid environment, incorporating virtual and in-person experiences for donors, and allow employees to lead and lean into their strengths, will be the most successful, and probably will have high
employee retention. 
Why did you join WIDGB? How has the WIDGB community supported you either throughout the pandemic or before?
I attended several WID events in Upstate New York—two of my staff were the local WID chair and vice chair. When I moved to Boston, I sought out WIDGB, and our former Boston Arts Academy Foundation teammate Heather Lonks Minty was on your Board. I attended WIDGB events before the pandemic, but I recall joining during the pandemic. I have a list of development metrics on my wall about how to double fundraising revenue, comparisons of donor lifetime value, and more from a WID presentation in 2019, and I refer to it daily.

Describe your biggest development success story to date Or Can you share with us an inspiring development story from your career?
When I moved to Upstate New York in 2002, I interviewed at a child welfare agency that was hiring a grant writer. Since I had communications, marketing, and public relations experience, I shared my portfolio and explained that I also could help to increase the organization’s visibility. I was hired as Development Coordinator for Communications and served as a Director and in two Vice President roles over nearly nine years. Our team quadrupled both media coverage and fundraising revenue. It was fun to apply everything I’d learned while continuing to grow.
Share this post:

Comments on "Faces of WID- April 2021"

Comments 0-0 of 0

Please login to comment