Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility RELEASE: The Arc of Massachusetts to Hold Building Brighter Futures Gala and Auction on Thursday, April 7 - The Arc of Massachusetts Skip to main content
WALTHAM, MA (March 15, 2022): The Arc of Massachusetts will be holding its annual celebration of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism on Thursday, April 7. The Building Brighter Futures Gala and Auction will take place at The Westin Waltham Boston, starting at 6:00pm with a cocktail hour and entertainment and dinner and program beginning at 7:00pm. Chris McKinnon will be returning as the event’s emcee.
The program features the screening of the short film “What Was It Like?” in which eight young adults with IDD and autism and their parents discuss how their children have surpassed expectations. Following the film, McKinnon will moderate a discussion among three panelists: Gyasi Burks-Abbott, a self-advocate with autism; Cindy Haddad, who has a sibling with IDD; and Julie Heffernan, mother of a young adult with Down syndrome.
Through the screening of this film and the discussion that follows attendees will learn how to build brighter futures for individuals with IDD and autism. This community has always had to be strong, resilient, and persistent always had to be strong, resilient, and persistent – even more so during the pandemic. As we look forward to better days ahead, this remarkable community inspires us to build a future that is inclusive and equitable and brighter for all people with IDD.
“We are so excited to be back together in person, celebrating the brighter futures that we can make possible for individuals with IDD and their families,” said Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc of Massachusetts. “This pandemic has shown us just what the future could look like for this community if we don’t come together now to make sure those futures are fully inclusive, equitable, and accessible.”
Sarkissian added, “The Building Brighter Futures Gala and Auction is an opportunity to share the stories of how individuals with IDD and their families have overcome so much, from low expectations to social isolation to the pandemic itself. We hope attendees will feel as inspired as we are by the endless strength of this community, and that they will come away believing that, with the necessary supports, services, and advocacy work, the future truly is bright.”
Musician Stefano Micali will provide entertainment during the cocktail hour. An online auction featuring artwork, catered dinners, sports memorabilia, and much more will be open to all starting Friday, April 1. In addition, The Arc will hold two raffles for concert tickets to see Lady Gaga and Paul McCartney.
This event is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year and is critical to sustaining the advocacy and programs of The Arc of Massachusetts. Top sponsors include Tracy and John Atkinson; PwC; Raytheon; People’s United Bank; Scott and Julie Borchardt; Affinia Financial Group; EY; KPMG; and Vinfen.
Sponsorship opportunities and a limited number of tickets are still available. Visit to learn more
About The Arc of Massachusetts
For 67 years, The Arc of Massachusetts has been working to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, and their families. We fulfill this through advocacy for community supports and services that foster social inclusion, self-determination, and equity across all aspects of society. To learn more, visit, follow @TheArcofMass on Twitter, or join our Facebook community.

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