History and Timeline
FriendshipWorks’ mission is to reduce social isolation, enhance quality of life, and preserve the dignity of older adults in Greater Boston. We have more than thirty years of experience recruiting, training, and placing volunteers to provide support and assistance to elders.
FriendshipWorks (originally MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers) was founded as a model program in 1984 with a three-year initial grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This original grant funded a network of religious congregations and social service agencies with a mission to decrease the isolation of elders and disabled adults and prevent unnecessary institutionalization and enhance their quality of life.
The original MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers caregiver coalition was supported by congregations, religious organizations, and senior service providers across Boston and Brookline. Many continue to lend their support today.
Throughout its history, FriendshipWorks’ mission has remained constant as its services have expanded to meet growing needs. In 1987, we were a founding member of the National Federation of Interfaith Caregivers. It has since served as a replicable model for 1300 similar programs across the United States.
In 1991, FriendshipWorks separated from its founding agency and became an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. After two office moves, FriendshipWorks settled into its present 105 Chauncy Street office in 2003.
FriendshipWorks has won numerous awards over the years. In 1999, Gov. Paul Cellucci proclaimed November 21 as MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers Recognition Day. In 2005, Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston Commission on Elderly Affairs awarded us the Edward L. Cooper Award for Outstanding Neighborhood Based Senior Service Agency.
In 2014, FriendshipWorks celebrated its 30th year of service to elders in Boston and Brookline.
Since its inception, FriendshipWorks has assisted over 23,400 Boston-area elders, providing almost half a million hours of donated care. This represents a value of more than $10,442,500 worth of care.
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gives seed money to Back Bay Boston Aging Concerns for their friendly visiting program called MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers
- MATCH-UP partners with two Boston Housing Authority Buildings; residents are invited to weekly coffee hours
- First Advisory Committee forms from participating congregations and organizations
1984-1987 – Fordham University Third Age Center studies MATCH-UP and the other 24 Robert Wood Johnson pilot programs; find it a very cost effective and successful model
- MATCH-UP takes over transportation programs from Boston Aging Concerns
- MATCH-UP becomes Founding member of the National Federation of Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers whose goal it is to develop other interfaith volunteer caregiver programs throughout the country (the name is later changed to Faith in Action National Network)
1989 – United Way funds $45,000 to Boston Aging Concerns and keeps MATCH-UP services in community
- Boston Aging Concerns cuts MATCH-UP from its budget; MATCH-UP is offered free housing at Hale House
- Boston Foundation gives supporting grant to help MATCH-UP become a stand-alone agency
- First MATCH-UP Board of Directors formed and bylaws created; Sr. Madeline Gallagher is elected 1st Board President
1992 – MATCH-UP is incorporated
1994 – Elders in the Arts benefit is held in celebration of MATCH-UP’s 10th Anniversary
1998 – Tufts Health Plan funds MATCH-UP’s access community education program: What’s Up Doc
1999 – MATCH-UP celebrates 15th year and receives recognition from Gov. Cellucci and Mayor Menino
2001 – MATCH-UP partners with Sherrill House and launchs Jamaica Plain Chapter focused on Spanish speaking community
2002 – MassAging grants MATCH-UP a Certificate of Merit for collaboration with Sherrill House
- MATCH-UP partners with Animal Rescue League and launches PetPals nursing home visitation program
- Robert Wood Johnson grants funding to start Strong For Life exercise program.
2004 – MATCH-UP chosen out of 1,000 Faith in Action programs to attend U.S. Congress Tricaucus meeting on minority services
- MATCH-UP celebrates 20 years of service
- First Jamaica Plain Elder Care Network meeting
- MATCH-UP receives Edward L. Cooper Award for outstanding work with neighborhood based senior services
- Photojournalism exhibit displayed throughout Boston and at National Hall in Washington D.C.
- Recognition of services from Sen. John Kerry
- 1st AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer joins MATCH-UP
- MATCH-UP is highlighted in Promise to Mary, a book by Dr. Paul Jellinek about Faith in Action programs
- MATCH-UP receives Beverly Foundation’s STAR Search Award for its senior transportation service.
- MATCH-UP is awarded Commonwealth Corps grant; adds 3 Commonwealth Corps Members in Jamaica Plain
2008 – 2012 – Executive Director, Janet Seckel-Cerrotti, serves as acting president of the National Volunteer Caregiving Network
2009 – MATCH-UP celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a symposium and celebration at Northeastern University
- MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers becomes FriendshipWorks.
- The National Center on Senior Transportation awards a grant funding research to evaluate the Medical Escort program.
- FriendshipWorks facilitates the Congregational Connections for Elders, bringing together 13 faith communities to discuss keeping elders engaged in their congregations
- FriendshipWorks is awarded the Beverly Foundation STAR Award for Excellence
- FriendshipWorks organizes and facilitates the JP Elder Care Network’s series of bilingual workshops on senior transportation options
- Board of Directors undertakes a strategic plan to double our service and impact in the next 3 to 5 years
- FriendshipWorks created a staff position to focus on research and evaluation
- FriendshipWorks expands the Friendly Visiting Program, hiring two full-time program coordinators.
- FriendshipWorks launches a vision and hearing impairment specialty
- Initiates formal consultations to communities outside the Boston area to support the creation of interfaith volunteer caregiving programs
2014 – FriendshipWorks celebrates its 30th year with its My Friend, My World Gala.
- FriendshipWorks opens a neighborhood office in Allston/Brighton, located within the Presentation School Foundation Community Center.
- Initiates MusicWorks, a pilot program launched in collaboration with Goddard House.
- Successfully hosts first annual walk-a-thon: FriendshipWalks, raising over $60,000
- Opens a neighborhood office in the South End, located within Union United Methodist Church.
Coming in 2017 – Low-Vision: Will You Know it When You See it?, our first forum for professionals serving low-vision elders.