McNulty Honored for Reviving the Bellingham Educational Foundation
Jun 30, 2016 06:00AM ● Published by Kenneth Hamwey
Cindy McNulty at the State House with Rep. Kevin Kuros
When Cindy McNulty gets involved with a cause, her passion for whatever the endeavor involves is clear, bright-shining and intense. On June 22 at the Statehouse, the 18-year Bellingham resident was honored as an unsung heroine by the Mass. Commission on the Status of Women for her role in resurrecting the Bellingham Educational Foundation (BEF), a non-profit organization that raises thousands of dollars to support the educational needs of the school district.
Each year the Commission accepts nominations from across the state for women who make outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities. The honorees are nominated by state legislators for unnoted yet valuable community contributions. McNulty was nominated by State Representative Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge) for the 8th Worcester District, which includes the towns of Bellingham, Uxbridge, Blackstone and Millville.
McNulty received her award at a ceremony in the Hall of Flags at the Statehouse along with about 90 other women from the state’s other legislative districts. The 52-year-old McNulty was humbled and flattered by the recognition.
“It’s inspiring to know that there’s an opportunity to acknowledge women who’ve made an impact on their community,” McNulty emphasized. “I’m a bit uncomfortable with the publicity that goes with the award, but I’m thrilled that the BEF was highlighted. I’m energized by working with people to do things that have a huge impact on our teachers and students. If you’re excited, it makes the effort more enjoyable, and if you surround yourself with people who share your passion, then it’s amazing what can be accomplished.”
McNulty helped bring the BEF back to life five years ago after a lengthy dormant period. During the first four years, when she was president, the group raised and awarded grants amounting to $72,500. Now, in year five, and going forward, the board of directors is aiming to raise $50,000. McNulty firmly believes that objective can be reached by partnering with local businesses and inviting the public to an annual “impact night” where it can learn more about the history of the BEF and how it supports and assists educational activity.
“Money from the BEF has provided iPads to the eighth-grade history classes and also to students at the elementary level,” said McNulty, who works as the association director of membership sales at the YMCA. “We’ve also assisted with providing technology for children with developmental needs and many others. Faculty members and administrators are encouraged to apply for grant funding every year and submit their applications to the BEF for review.”
McNulty, who has two daughters attending Bellingham High, said she strived to bring the BEF back to life “with people who wanted to be part of the solution instead of lamenting the status quo.” As she says, “I got tired of reading about teaching staffs being reduced or programs being eliminated.”
Rep. Kuros obviously admired McNulty’s desire to roll up her sleeves to create positive change. “Each year,” he said, “I try to nominate someone who’s worked selflessly for her community. Cindy’s work to revitalize the Bellingham Educational Foundation has positively impacted the school system by supporting programs and initiatives that may otherwise not have been possible. I’m delighted to see her honored by the Commission.”
A native of Plainville, CT, McNulty graduated from high school in Plainville, then enrolled and graduated from Simmons College in Boston, majoring in economics. For 13 years, she worked for Fidelity, leaving to raise her daughters (Lindsay, 16; and Paige, 15). Working later for New England Country Club in sales and event planning, she then joined the YMCA and manages the membership sales team in offices in Franklin, Foxboro and North Attleboro.
Besides spending her leisure time with her husband, Kevin, and daughters, she enjoys playing golf. Before she got the BEF up and running, McNulty was president of the South School PTO for two years, then spearheaded the fund-raising for South as well as the middle school. She also volunteers for various efforts at her church and for the high school lacrosse booster club.
McNulty’s positive approach to all her endeavors is the spark that makes her tick. In her world, every day is Christmas because she’s focused on giving, not receiving. The Mass. Commission on the Status of Women clearly defines the attributes it values when selecting its nominees, and McNulty personifies all of them.
According to the agency’s website, “The unsung heroines are women who don’t always make the news, but truly make the difference. They are women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community has them.”
McNulty no doubt has been the glue that repaired the BEF and helped it regain viability--and she likes the connotation.
“It’s a catchy phrase,” she noted. “In my case, the glue is about connecting the right people with the BEF. Being the glue is all about inspiring people to get involved.”