Eversource’s Judge to host launch of College Bound’s $500,000 push to support at-risk youth in Dorchester

From an earlier fund-raiser gala, from left, Michelle Caldera, vice president of College Bound Dorchester, Mary and Jim Judge, and Mark Culliton, CEO of the non-profit.

Boston Uncornered has set a goal of $500,000 for its annual (and virtual this year) fundraiser that goes a long way in helping to support at-risk youth in Dorchester. Jim Judge, a Dorchester native and president and CEO of Eversource Energy, will chair the June 9 event at which New England Patriot defense specialist Devin McCourty will be honored.

Boston UnCornerned is a program of College Bound Dorchester, a non-profit endeavor founded in 2009 that provides youth with educational and mentoring assistance by focusing on engaging gang-involved youth to become positive leaders in their community.

“I’ve been so impressed with it as an organization that works with the most vulnerable young people in the neighborhood to open up opportunities for education and breaking the cycles of poverty, violence and inequality,” said Judge. “I do think they offer a future to these young people that probably never seemed possible to them before.” 

Boston Uncornered is the nation’s only corner-to-college solution that engages gang-involved individuals— dubbed “core influencers.” College Bound sets the high expectation of a college graduation, trains trusted peer mentors to support youth, and provides a weekly stipend of $400 to give young people the space to pursue opportunities that enable them to turn away from the streets for good.

Born in St. Peter’s parish, Judge and his wife Mary were born and raised in Dorchester. He has served on the College Bound Dorchester board for several years and chaired the fundraiser once before. 

“I still consider Dorchester my home neighborhood,” he told the Reporter on Monday. “I have very strong ties to many Dorchester friends and families and I do take an interest in the success of Dorchester. I think it’s a great, diverse neighborhood that offers opportunity.” 

Although this year’s event will employ a virtual format due to the pandemic, Judge said, “We are working hard to contact potential donors and building support for Boston Uncornered, and we’re really having some success. I’ll miss having the opportunity to thank supporters in person, but I’m confident that we’re going to be able to maintain strong financial support as well as the awareness of the program.” 

Judge added that organizations like Boston Uncornered need support now more than ever.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic and the now public outrage in response to racial discrimination incidents it’s really a pretty unsettled time. College Bound Dorchester and Boston Uncornered are still working to break the negative cycles, and their mission continues, so I’m proud to lend my effort to be a part of it,” he said.  

Mark Culliton, College Bound Dorchester founder and CEO, said that having Judge “in that position gave us the confidence to move forward and work hard. He has always been unafraid and committed to creating opportunity for all in the Dorchester and the Bowdoin communities.”

The $500,000 being sought will directly support the students’ educations and their weekly $400 stipends. Since the onset of the pandemic, College Bound has increased the number of those receiving the stipends to 125, up from the original 45.

Said Culliton: “This is an important fundraising opportunity for us in general, but especially in the time of the coronavirus. It raises about $500,000 for our program, but it’s also a way for people to get close to and understand the young men and women that we’re serving.”  

In 2016, when Judge was named CEO of Eversource, the utility company that serves 3.6 million customers throughout New England, he said that one of his priorities was “that we were going to double-down on our commitment to communities and charities, and we’ve done that.

“We sponsor signature events, but more importantly, our employee volunteerism in communities has doubled and is getting toward tripled,” he said. “Now more than ever organizations like College Bound need our help to have success working with at-risk youth.” 

Judge commended Culliton’s leadership at College Bound. “I’m a big supporter of the work and the mission here. I think Mark is a wonderful leader and we’re not going to disappoint them this year in spite of the challenges that we have,” he said. 

“We’re going to deliver a very successful fundraising event for College Bound.”

Those interested in attending Boston Uncornered’s 2020 virtual fundraiser can register online at: https://uncornered.org/get-involved-2/uncornered-event-2020/register