Congratulations 2021 Honorees!
The Jerry Gimmel Loyalty Award
Volunteers are the heart of CaringMatters. However, certain volunteers set the heartbeat. Colleen Luzier is one of those exceptional volunteers whose leadership and dedication creates great impact and positive change. Drawing on an expansive career with nonprofits and as a group facilitator, she first came to the organization to lead an activity for grieving children at Camp Caring. After attending Volunteer Training, she became a volunteer caregiver and Good Grief Club facilitator, joined the Board of Trustees and then became a Board Member. As the Board’s Governance Chair, she took the lead on key endeavors.
Ms. Luzier is also the visionary force, funder, developer and key facilitator of the Bereaved Caregivers Retreat, a program that has been life-changing for attendees. “Our goal is for the Retreat to be transformative for participants,” she said. “We create a safe space to acknowledge loss and vulnerability, to trust their strength and courage, and to allow for the possibility of feeling joy again.”
Ms. Luzier’s support has extended to fundraising auctions, generous event sponsorships, attendance at community education events and representation at community events. Additionally, her profound essay on the Bereaved Caregiver's Retreat was featured in the 2020 Keepsake Book. Ms. Luzier will always be a treasured member of the CaringMatters family as she continues to volunteer as a Trustee and remain engaged with the Caregivers Retreat and other programs.
New York Life
In 2015, CaringMatters was introduced to New York Life (NYL) when their foundation awarded a large, multi-year grant to expand our Good Grief Clubs (GGC) to effectively reach children in under-resourced communities with high quality, culturally appropriate bereavement support services. The grant initiated an enduring partnership between two organizations with a shared passion and dedication to supporting children who, despite their young ages, have faced profound loss and grief. The partnership now includes Board Member, Dominique Duong, Director of Development in the NYL Greater Washington office along with Board Member, Al Johnson, and Trustee, Broderick Young, also affiliated with the NYL Greater Washington office; NYL staff volunteering at our Gala and Camp Erin.
Last year, CaringMatters partnered with the NYL Foundation to deliver impactful film screenings of the documentary, “Speaking Grief.” “New York Life is committed to providing resources and tools to nonprofit organizations doing the critical work of supporting grieving children in communities across the country,” said Ms. Duong. “CaringMatters’ thoughtful, innovative approach to children’s bereavement support puts New York Life’s values and priorities into action.” CaringMatters is honored to continue this important partnership with New York Life and grateful for their support and focus on children’s bereavement.
Community Partnership Award
Montgomery Village Rotary Club
For over 31 years, the Montgomery Village Rotary Club (MVRC) and its members have helped form the foundation of community support, elevating CaringMatters to allow innovative programs to reach more people in need of compassionate support during times of illness, loss and grief. In addition to generous annual donations from MVRC, its members have attended fundraising events, referred clients and volunteers, invited us to speak at their meetings to share information about how we make an impact, and welcomed us as a nonprofit partner of their annual Flags for Our Heroes project.
With plans and tools in hand, several MVRC members even donated their time and talent to complete interior renovations at the Cottage, creating a warm, welcoming environment for our support groups, volunteer trainings and meetings. “Rotarians are committed to service above self,” said long-time MVRC member, Stu Rutchik. “The mission of both the Rotary and CaringMatters are so aligned, making the partnership a natural extension of our work to bring leadership and fellowship to the community.”