Grand Marshals— ‘Covid Healthcare Heroes’


It takes a town to respond to and contain a pandemic. Over the past 18 months, Wellesley has successfully mitigated the community spread of COVID-19.

Wellesley residents have been vaccinated, worn masks when and where necessary, kept informed, and volunteered their time and effort to aid the most vulnerable among us. Town departments, most notably the Office of the Select Board and the School Department, collaborated effectively with the Board of Health and the staff of the Health Department.

Above all, it takes leadership and public health expertise to continue building resilience as we move out of this pandemic. Wellesley is fortunate to have a knowledgeable, dedicated, and experienced elected three-member Board of Health, including Shepard Cohen, Marcia Testa Simonson, and Linda Oliver Grape. The Board sets policy, issues orders and advisories, and oversees and supports the Health Department staff. Together with an outstanding Health Director, Leonardo (Lenny) Izzo, this public health team provides exemplary leadership.

The Department’s public health professionals and administrators have extensive public health knowledge, excellent skills, and uncompromising caring and compassion. They include public health nurses, Supervisor AnnMarie McCauley and Ashley Denton, plus several per diem nurses; two caring and competent Social Workers: Supervisor Joyce Saret and Wanda Alvarez; excellent Supervisor Vivian Zeng and Jessica Cliff, plus the highly skilled Cheryl Lefman, Community Health Coordinator. Essential to all their achievements is the support they receive from the genuinely outstanding Department Administrator, Deadra Doku Gardner.

Since the Spring of 2020, they have worked tirelessly, in many cases 24/7; educating the public, keeping abreast of ever-changing science and executive orders, maintaining communications with Federal, State, and regional public health agencies, responding to residents’ concerns, providing direct support and assistance, contact tracing and much more.

While acknowledging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, it is always the boots on the ground of the local public health agencies on the frontlines that are ultimately responsible for the health and well-being of the community. Wellesley is indeed fortunate to have a genuinely exceptional local public health board and staff.

The Board of Health & Staff, The Community Fund for Wellesley’s COVID 19 Relief Fund (CCFW COVID 19), Sewing COVID Help Group, Wellesley Police and Fire Departments

CFFW COVID-19 Relief Fund – Program Summary: 

The Community Fund for Wellesley’s COVID Relief Fund was created in partnership with the Wellesley Select Board to identify and address community needs during the coronavirus crisis. With the support and generosity of its neighbors, CFFW was able to grant over $125,000 in emergency relief funding in critical areas. The COVID Relief Fund was made possible entirely by neighbors caring for their neighbors, and CFFW is incredibly grateful for the community’s support throughout the pandemic.

Grants were made to support the following areas of critical need:

Food Insecurity – creation of Wellesley restaurant delivery program providing hundreds of hot meals to seniors, isolated & medically at risk. Grocery gift cards for food insecure residents.

Health Care & Mental Health – iPads & other technology to support improved communication for nursing home residents & their care givers & families. Creation of online, professionally led support groups & resource materials to address pandemic related mental health needs.  Transportation support for seniors to vaccination centers.  Gift cards to purchase emergency supplies for residents with COVID.    

PPE – KN95 masks & materials for creation of masks for seniors, medically at risk, students and Wellesley Police Dept as part of the ‘Mask Up’ program.  Over 5000 masks/pieces of PPE were provided/created.  Hand sanitizing stations for local businesses as part of the business districts’ reopening.

Education – remote learning materials, arts & crafts supplies, biweekly lunch program for at-risk WPS students.  Customized ‘COVID’ student backpacks for hybrid learning.  

Youth Employment – creation of Green Shirts youth employment program, support for youth sports coaching/mentoring jobs.

Community Engagement & Recreation – support to create COVID-safe Mobile Movie Nights, provide summertime splash pads for youth, support downtown art shows.

Community Fund for Wellesley (CFFW) COVID-19 Relief Fund Team – 2020-2021

Community Fund for Wellesley:Town of Wellesley:
Jamie Ebersole, Chair Don McCauley, Planning Dir
Ellen Gibbs, GrantsAmy Frigulietti, Asst ED 
Wendy Paul, VC MarketingStephanie Hawkinson, Communications Dir
Beth Shedd, MarketingMaura Renzella, Youth Commission/Housing Authority
Mike Stephens, VC GrantsBeth Sullivan Woods, Select Board

Foundation for Metrowest:
Mary Crowley, Operations Dir
Brandi Griffin, Communications 

Community Fund for Wellesley (CFFW) – Community Board (current)

Mike Stephens, Chair
Ellen Gibbs, Vice ChairWendy Paul, Vice Chair
Sree BalamurugeshLiz Cua, Clerk
Johanna CahoonTom McGovern
Tina ChenBeth Shedd
Lisa Novakoff
Mary Beth Mahoney, Nominating 
May 18th & 19th, 2024