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Mayor Walsh announces finalists for 2016 Spark Impact awards

Mayor Walsh and SPARK Boston invite residents to choose from millennial residents making a positive impact in Boston

BOSTON - Thursday, November 17, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and SPARK Boston, the Mayor's millennial engagement program, today announced 15 finalists for the 2016 SPARK Impact Awards. The finalists will be honored and the winners will be announced at the award ceremony on Thursday, December 1st at MassChallenge.

"The 15 finalists for the 2016 SPARK Impact Awards are setting the standard for Boston's next generation of civic leadership," said Mayor Walsh. "They are promoting arts and culture, expanding economic opportunity for all, elevating the voices of Boston's immigrant communities, fighting the addiction epidemic, helping homeless veterans become self-sufficient, and working tirelessly to make Boston a healthy, thriving city. At a young age, they have already made an incredible impact, and I am proud to recognize their passion and dedication to improving Boston's future."

"We are thrilled to announce this slate of finalists for the 2016 SPARK Impact Awards," said SPARK Boston Council Member Tina Natale. "It was incredibly difficult to choose from so many outstanding nominees, but these 15 individuals have truly gone above and beyond to make our city a better place. We are eager to share their stories and let the SPARK Boston community decide who will win the 2016 SPARK Impact Awards."

Mayor Walsh put out an open call for nominations for the 2016 SPARK Impact Awards this summer. A selection committee comprised of SPARK Boston Council members reviewed over 100 nominations in order to select the finalists, whose personal stories can be found on SPARK Boston's website. A round of online voting will determine the winners in each category, to be announced at the award ceremony.

In addition to the award presentation, the event will feature a networking reception with refreshments provided by the Glynn Group, Aeronaut Brewing Co., Archer Roose, Coole Swan and more, a keynote address by award winning filmmaker and arts education advocate Jae Williams, and remarks from City of Boston officials.


Category: Entrepreneurship and Innovation

  • Sarah Pace, nominated for founding TechGen
  • Ian So, nominated for spearheading the Chicken & Rice Guys Foundation and founding of the Boston Asian Entrepreneurship Foundation
  • Noah Hicks, nominated for creating and directing the Bowdoin Bike School

Category: Arts & Culture

  • Raber Umphenour, nominated for securing long-term artist housing in Fort Point
  • Hailey McGee, nominated for founding Emerging Boston Singer-Songwriters
  • Matt Parker, nominated for using poetry as a tool for effective community building and violence prevention

Category: Community Building and Neighborhood Improvement

  • Sherri Snow, nominated for leadership as Executive Director of the North End Music & Performing Arts Center
  • Shavel'le Olivier, nominated for serving as co-Chair of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition
  • Sahar Lawrence, nominated for serving as Chair of the Grove Hall Trust

Category: Activism and Issue Advocacy

  • Mario Paredes, nominated for serving as Centro Presente's youngest board member
  • Andrea Macone, nominated for serving as Chair of UMass Boston's Recovery Task Force
  • Kevin Lilly, nominated for founding Samaritan Steps

Category: Unsung Heroes

  • Portsha Franklin, nominated for her work as a College Success Coach in conjunction with the Success Boston Initiative
  • Taylor Curley, nominated for going above and beyond to support her special needs students at the Mattahunt Elementary School
  • Corina Pinto, nominated for her work as a Community Health Worker at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Clinic

Learn More

Visit SPARK Boston's website to learn more about the 2016 SPARK Impact Awards and join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #SPARKImpact.

About Spark Boston

Boston is home to a large and diverse millennial population. SPARK Boston (formerly ONEin3) is a City of Boston initiative that aims to empower the millennial generation to play a greater role in planning for the future of our city.

SPARK Boston focuses on engaging the next generation of civic leaders and social entrepreneurs in the work of city government. This will shape how the City designs and develops policies, convenes stakeholders for important initiatives and works collaboratively with young people to shape Boston's future. Learn more at

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