Last week, Rep. Edward Philips (D-Sharon) announced he nominated South End’s Ellis Early Learning Vice President Patricia Daniel Keenan with the 2021 Commonwealth Heroine Award for her commitment to improving the quality of life in the neighborhood and beyond.
Keenan is vice president for advancement, community and equity for Ellis Early Learning, a socioeconomically diverse early childhood education center in Boston’s South End.
“Patricia Keenan has been a champion of the nonprofit sector and social justice organizations throughout her 35-year development career,” said Philips. “She has contributed not only to her home community of Sharon but to Boston by serving on nonprofit boards; speaking on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, and serving as a mentor for others in the nonprofit sector, particularly young women of color.”
Keenan has held fundraising leadership positions with organizations including Facing History and Ourselves, YWCA Boston, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, City Year and the WGBH Education Foundation.
Kennan is a graduate of Holy Cross College in Worcester and she and her husband,
Matt, have three grown children, Alexandra, Walker and Xavier and lives in Sharon.
“It is an honor for us to identify extraordinary women from across the Commonwealth,” said the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women in a statement. “We would like to thank our many legislative partners who have recommended and recognized women within their district who perform unheralded acts daily that make our homes, neighborhoods, cities and towns better places to live. These acts of public leadership and volunteerism help advance the status of women and girls in Massachusetts in ways big and small, and the collective effort is meaningful.”
Each year the Commission partners with state legislators to identify women who make outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities. Each legislator is encouraged to submit one woman from their constituency as a means of recognizing their invaluable community contributions.
The Commonwealth Heroines are women who don’t always make the news, but truly make the difference. They are the 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.
The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities. The Commission provides a voice for Massachusetts women and has 19 members who are appointed by the Governor, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Caucus of Women Legislators.