Family Services Announces Campaign to Build Change

Event speaker Mariela Arias with Chief Program Officer Aida Castro.

LAWRENCE, MA —Family Services of the Merrimack Valley (Family Services) launched the public phase of its Campaign to Build Change at a kickoff celebration at the North Andover Country Club on September 22, 2022. The campaign will fund capital renovations of their central building, located at 430 N Canal Street in Lawrence, MA, and establish an Impact Fund for crisis response, program innovation, and professional development. The $3 million comprehensive campaign has raised over $2.3 million to date, more than 75 percent of its goal.

“The purpose of this campaign is not just to complete needed capital repairs and renovations, but to strengthen our foundation as an organization, literally and figuratively,” said Family Services CEO Elizabeth Sweeney. “Our clients deserve to have a space that feels warm and welcoming. Reaching our campaign goal will help us continue providing our much-needed services to the community in a brighter, revamped space that we can all be proud of.” In addition to improving the look and feel of the space, renovations will also result in enhanced safety and security, accessibility, and energy efficiency.

Guests at the kickoff celebration heard from Mariela Arias, a Lawrence mother who had been a client of Family Services and who now works as a staff member in the organization’s youth mentoring department. After sharing a story marked by poverty, homelessness, physical and mental health challenges, and parenting crises, Arias reflected that “Family Services and their staff is one of the reasons I am standing here today. My children and I were not only part of Family Services’ mentoring program, but also their parenting classes and counseling center. They believed in me. They invested in me and my children and made sure we didn’t give up.”

Many philanthropic individuals and organizations have lent their support to the Campaign to Build Change including a local entrepreneur and his wife, who have agreed to match campaign donations up to $150,000.

Other lead donors to the campaign include Lynne Capozzi and Don Bulens, Dick and Lolli Sumberg, the Amelia Peabody Foundation, the Stevens Foundations, Richard & Nancy Haak, Stephen & Catherine DeSalvo, the Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation, Ted Lowrie & Kathy McShane, the Moderna Foundation, Pentucket Bank, Kathy Stevens, and Brad and Noni Yount. The kickoff event was sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Credit Union and LCW CPAs.

“Our gift is an investment in Family Services’ future,” said Dick Sumberg, Andover resident and Honorary Chair of the campaign. “I know that our support will have a real and lasting impact and that the lives of so many families will be improved for years to come.”

Through their 20+ programs, Family Services aims to empower and support children and families of the Merrimack Valley to help them reach their full potential. Some of the programs provided to the community include young adult parenting, youth development, and youth mentoring. More information on the campaign can be found on the Family Services website at

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