MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Aspire Gala Supports Essential Autism Spectrum Programs

On Thursday, March 30, 2017, MassGeneral Hospital for Children will celebrate its 17th annual Aspire Spring Gala and aim to raise more than $2 million to support Aspire, the hospital’s highly successful, therapeutically-based program of the Lurie Center for Autism. Aspire helps children, teens and adults with high cognitive autism spectrum disorder or a related social profile develop the skills necessary to live full, independent lives.

Aspire programs include a college mentorship group and a young adult internship program. The program also supports more than 17 area school districts and conducts educational workshops that train more than 1,000 professionals and parents each year on meeting the complex needs of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder.

Around 800 guests are expected to attend the cocktail reception at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston that will feature live music from the Berkshire Hills Music Academy Performance Troupe and a luxury key game offering one-of-a-kind prize packages that include tickets to Hamilton on Broadway and a meet-and-greet with the cast and tickets to U2 and Coldplay at Gillette Stadium later this year.

This year’s theme, “Dear Aspire,” highlights letters written by Aspire participants, parents, staff and internship hosts about the impact the program has had on their lives. Back Bay-based Rafanelli Events will bring the theme to life with large-scale pencil displays and a coloring wall.

The 2017 Aspire Spring Gala Committee includes Stephanie and David Long, Timothy Sweeney, Terry and Tom Hamilton, Kerridan and Michael Crowe, Ann Marie and Daniel Gross and Kim and Eric Karofsky. Together, this passionate group has worked towards shining a light on how Aspire helps many who fall on the autism spectrum pursue careers and lead full lives.

Former Aspire intern will introduce event co-chairs David Long, chairman and chief executive officer of Liberty Mutual Insurance and trustee of Mass General, Tim Sweeney, president of Global Consumer Markets at Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Scott McLeod, PhD, executive director of Aspire. Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Mass General, will address guests at a pre-event reception.

“The gala is always a big moment for Aspire,” says Scott McLeod, PhD, executive director of Aspire. “But this big moment is a celebration of thousands of little moments. Those moments when we see a smile. A nod. A look of recognition, a connection that’s made, a relationship that’s started. These are the small victories that collectively form the true meaning of Aspire.”

Aspirational Sponsors of this year’s gala include Copart, ExamWorks and Liberty Mutual Insurance, with each company donating $150,000.

Visit to learn more about Aspire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.