On Saturday March 26th, City Year New Hampshire honored Harvard University Professor Robert D. Putnam with the Lifetime of Service award at City Year’s annual Starry Starry Night Benefit Gala co-chaired by Lew Feldstein, former President of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and David Cassidy, Senior Vice President at Eastern Bank.

On hand to present the Lifetime of Service Award to Professor Robert D. Putnam was Senator Kelly Ayotte, who said “Dr. Putnam’s work is a must-read for all policy makers.”  Senator Jeanne Shaheen sent her congratulations and Governor Maggie Hassan was also in attendance and said “Education is the most important thing we do in our democracy.” 

Professor Robert D. Putnam was chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in revealing and building awareness of a growing gap between rich and poorer children in America that he has deemed “the opportunity gap.” This opportunity gap is the subject of his newest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.

“We are seeing a growing gap […] between our rich kids and our poor kids and it’s on our watch,” stated Putnam. Putnam also went on to express that the work that City Year AmeriCorps members do every day is a prominent example of how we as a community, state and nation can eliminate the opportunity gap portrayed in Our Kids, saying “City Year is one of the best tools against the opportunity gap that I know of.”

Throughout the evening guests learned of City Year’s work and impact in the Manchester School District as well as the organization’s rich culture and leadership training. City Year New Hampshire AmeriCorps members treated guests to a power greeting and table talks. Executive Director Pawn Nitichan said to the audience of more than 300 guests "I hope that you take pride in being here, being a part of our community, our village, because we cannot do it alone. And together, with our differences, but more importantly, with our shared humanity, we must and will build a brighter future for our children.”

This year’s event was made possible by generous support of City Year’s National Gala Sponsor Bain Capital, Platinum Star Sponsors Senator Martha Fuller Clark and Dr. Geoffrey Clark, Eastern Bank, Lyophilization Services of New England, and Perspecta trust, as well as Gold Star Sponsors, Brady Sullivan, CCA Global Partners, CitySide Management, Comcast NBCUniversal, Woolsey & Bea Conover, Dartmouth Hitchcock, Fiduciary Trust Company, Great New Hampshire Restaurants, Northeast Delta Dental, People’s United Bank, The Topol Family Fund, The University of New Hampshire, and The Wine’ing Butcher.

Past honorees include Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Bill Shaheen, Senator Judd Gregg and Kathy Gregg, Governor John Lynch and Dr. Susan Lynch, Mayor Ted Gatsas and Cassandra Gatsas, Paul and Sandra Montrone, Hank and Alison Stebbins, Lew Feldstein, Ruth Griffin, Tom and Lisa Raffio, Clark and Anne Dumont, Bonnie Newman, and The Timberland Company.

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