Thursday, December 16, 2010


Last week, Essex Heritage founding President Tom Leonard fell seriously ill. His condition has begun to stabilize and he has made some improvement. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom and his family as he works toward recovery. In the interim, Tom’s popular blog will take a well-deserved break. We look forward to Tom and his blog’s return soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

ENHC Travel Program, New Chamber Chairman, NSES Colaboration,


Salem Rotary Club Presentation Focuses on ENHC Travel Program

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, I provided a brief but complete update to the Salem Rotary on the current activities of Essex Heritage. I was not the primary presenter at the meeting but was provided a block of time by President Bill Kielbasa to update the club on the Essex Heritage travel program being offered in conjunction with Collette Vacations. The audience at Rotary seemed to be a perfect group to present information to regarding the trip to the Northern National Parks. I provided some information on that initiative and spent a few moments speaking about Essex Heritage’s current efforts to attract both business and personal memberships. I also provided some general information on the Border to Boston Rail Trail program and the Scenic Byway initiative that passes directly by the front door of the Historic Hawthorne Hotel where the Rotary meeting was being conducted. All the information was well received and this is a business group that has supported the efforts of Essex Heritage in the past and seemed to be a receptive audience.

The primary speaker that day spoke of a program that has always been one of my primary interests. When I served at the Salem Five Bank, I had responsibility among other duties for the Community Reinvestment Act and the banks role in helping to see that needed affordable housing was being developed in the region the bank served. The Executive Director of the recently created North Shore Community Development Coalition provided an update on the merger between Salem Harbor Community Development Corporation and the Beverly Affordable Housing Coalition, and how that merger benefits the region. Information was provided on two new residential real estate projects being developed in Beverly that will add almost one hundred new units of affordable housing to the three hundred unit’s already in place and managed by the new coalition. If any additional information on the coalition is needed visit

North Shore Chamber Annual Meeting and Installation of New Chairman

On Tuesday evening, I along with four hundred other business leaders from this region attended the annual meeting of the North Shore Chamber. The event was held at the Crown Plaza in Danvers and the evening marked the start of the term as Chairman of the organization of John Hall of Salem Five Bank. John is one of the senior officers at my former employer, and he has been a valued member of that organization since before I retired. I worked closely with John before my retirement and in the last decade he has distinguished himself with his tireless work to support this region. He has served as past President of both the Salem Partnership and the Salem Rotary, and I am most certain that he will provide great leadership to this most important regional organization. His acceptance speech on Tuesday evening focused on the need for this business organization to speak with a clear and consistent voice in the region and to promote the importance of that business community to the area. Essex Heritage wishes John well as he leads this organization over the next year. We are certain that under his leadership that the Chamber will prosper and the region will be the beneficiary.

The speaker at the Chamber event was Peter Meade, who has also held a number of regional roles including the leadership of the New England Council and several large businesses in the area. Peter was also a talk show host for many years on a large regional radio network, and he provided some insight into the recent election results and how they might be interpreted in the time ahead. At the present time Mr. Mead is leading the effort to build the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate that will be constructed on a site at Columbia point adjacent to the Kennedy Presidential Library and will have ties to the nearby University of Massachusetts campus. Mr., Meade provided an overview of the Institute and the role it will play to highlight the work of Senator Kennedy and how it will play an important role in the education of the next generation of leaders.

North Shore Elder Services Board Meeting Approves Collaboration

Just prior to the NS Chamber dinner that I attended as a guest of the North Shore Elder Services that organization held a board meeting offsite at the hotel where the dinner was scheduled. I have recently joined the Board of this organization that provides such wonderful services to the elders of this region, and my education into the depth of the services provided continues to grow. One of the primary purposes of the November Board meeting was to hear and then vote on a proposal that North Shore Elder Services is about to undertake with Greater Lynn Senior Services, that serves Greater Lynn and five contiguous communities and Senior Care, Inc. that represents the area that covers nine communities from Beverly to Cape Ann.. The three organizations when considered collectively cover nineteen of the thirty-four communities in the region formally known as Essex County. The only part of this region not to be covered by the proposed collaboration discussed this week is the area in the northern part of the county in the Merrimack Valley area from Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury over towards Lawrence and Haverhill, and that is a very large region. . The discussion at our meeting was led by the Director of Planning for Greater Lynn Senior Services, who most certainly got our attention when she indicated that for virtually all organizations, if they do not reinvent themselves every ten to fifteen years then they run the risk of becoming irrelevant. The proposal that was presented and that was then considered and approved to move forward certainly qualifies as a re-invention of sorts.

The three local organizations have provided a formal submission to the Commonwealth’s Executive office of Elder Affairs that helps fund this initiative that indicates that for their respective territories that they intend to develop formal collaboration mechanisms to be identifies under a single program named Performance Plus Partners. The program will identify cost effective and regionally coordinated delivery of three important services currently provided independently by all three agencies. During this process the three agencies will retain their local identities but will look to coordinate services in the areas of quality assurance, enhanced information and referral and provider contracting functions. A commitment has been made by the three agencies to jointly explore the design and detail of best practices that will;

· Support program innovation and excellence

· Promote cost-savings in the allocation and delivery of services

· Foster interagency supports that eliminate redundancies

· Develop evidence based rigor as cornerstones of all programs

· Ensure the transfer of proved expertise and state of the art training and technology across each agency

The concept as presented was endorsed enthusiastically by the board and a positive vote to begin that process was taken. The board will play a role in the management of this endeavor as at all subsequent board meeting progress in the collaborative efforts will be outlined and confirmed. Essex Heritage has long held and encouraged collaboration in all of our efforts, and this is a wonderful initiative that will likely bear substantial fruit in the future for the three agencies and the region. The agencies believe that in the not to distant future, some of the efficiencies created will even begin to benefit the individual Councils on Aging in the nineteen communities within the scope of the program. Since our inception we have encouraged collaborative efforts in and between communities and organizations in this region and we applaud this initiative that will certainly benefit the many seniors in this region.

Regional High School Football Results

Getting three of the four teams that represented this region into the MIAA Super Bowl finals seems pretty positive to me. All three will get to show off their talents in Foxborough at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, between mid morning and late into the evening. Let’s hope we have success again on Saturday, and bring at least a couple of titles back to the region.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. You can also contact me directly if you wish information on the August 2011 Travel opportunity to the Northern National Parks sponsored by Essex Heritage. I am signed up for and will be helping to lead the trip, and I hope that you will consider joining me on that trip. Thank You. Tom Leonard