At the Boston Harbor Hotel, overlooking Massachusetts Bay, Let’s Get Ready’s 7th Annual New England Gala proved an inspiring fundraiser for the organization as well as a moving celebration of its students’ accomplishments. College-going mentors for the organization, most of whom are alumni of its College Access Program, joined board members, donors, partners, and staff for a dinner featuring speeches that brought the nonprofit’s work into focus.

Board Member Rick Condon addressed the crowd first, extending some words of welcome and reiterating Let’s Get Ready’s mission: to help students from low-income backgrounds, often in the first generation of their family to go pursue higher education, get into and graduate from college with the help of peer mentorship.

Condon also announced a $1.35 million investment to Let’s Get Ready from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The grant builds upon a prior investment by the foundation in 2014


Kathrine Mott, Let’s Get Ready’s CEO, spoke next, emphasizing the unique power of near-peer mentoring to inspire and support students to apply to and succeed in college. She then introduced an Ogilvy & Mather-produced video presentation which told the story of Cinthia Ibarra, who was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania with the help of Let’s Get Ready and then served as a volunteer math Coach. “Though I graduate in 2020, I know that time is of the essence. With continued support from mentors and programs like Let’s Get Ready, my efforts will certainly pay off,” she said.

Next, auctioneer John Terrio took bids for some coveted prizes, including tickets to Red Sox vs. Yankees game, a private dinner with the executive chef at Del Frisco’s Double Edge Steak House, and a tasting dinner for six at La Campania.

The last speaker of the evening was Let’s Get Ready College Access Program alum and Wellesley College student Karissha Gillespie, who had recently finished an internship at Wellington Management, an investment firm and Let’s Get Ready supporter. She spoke of how she met her Wellington colleague, Julie, at a Let’s Get Ready Career Day. “I had never met someone who was so excited to wake up and go to work every day,” said Gillespie, who affirmed that the internship solidified her interest in finance. “And I never would have had that opportunity without Let’s Get Ready,” she added.

Full photo gallery:

Let’s Get Ready wants to thank the following organizations for supporting the 7th Annual New England Gala:

Summa Cum Laude
Kathy & Michael Stack

Magna Cum Laude
Eastern Bank
Catherine & Barry Nearhos
Putnam Investments
State Street Corporation

Liz Bless & Richard Condon
Connors Family Foundation
Fiduciary Trust
Global Atlantic Financial Group
Goodwin Procter
Highland Street Foundation
Jeannette Mitchell
Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Dean’s List 
Colleen Harkness Calhoun
Connell Limited Partnership
McKinsey & Company
The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts (SBLI)
Skanska USA
Boston Global Investors
Maria & John Fowler
gamechange, LLC
Michael Miles
Nutter, McClennen, and Fish LLP
Kate Stephens Pinto
Kathleen Redgate
Lionel Silberman
Kevin Smithson
Meg Brooks Swift
Antonia & Joel Volcy

2017 Gala Committee
Colleen Harkness Calhoun
Rick Condon
John Farina
Jeannette Mitchell
Barry Nearhos
Catherine Nearhos
Kate Stephens Pinto
Kathy Stack
Mike Stack
Meg Brooks Swift