The fourth annual Aaron Lewis & Friends Benefit Concert, held on June 27, and the third annual Aaron Lewis Invitational Golf Tournament, held on August 9, raised a combined total of $250,000 for the It Takes a Community Foundation (ITAC), a charity founded by Lewis and his wife in 2010. One hundred percent of the proceeds were donated to the foundation, which helps to revive rural communities across New England by providing assistance that strengthens, enriches and preserves local towns. The Lewis’s foundation supports initiatives that improve community life — particularly the lives of children — within rural areas.
“It Takes a Community began when my wife and I joined with neighbors in our small adopted home town to keep the doors of our community school open after state funding was eliminated due to district consolation,” explains Aaron. “It started out as something very personal and close-to-home, but is morphing into something bigger. If we can make a difference in our little corner of Massachusetts, couldn't we give additional worthy organizations in our area a similar leg up?”
Helping to reopen and fund the RH Conwell School as a private community education center was the catalyst and origin of the It Takes A Community Foundation. The school has also been the primary beneficiary ITAC’s fundraising efforts since 2010. However, over the past year the residents of Worthington successfully lobbied the state for special legislation that allows the tax dollars of their town to stay in Worthington rather than be pooled into the regional school system.
Vanessa Lewis was elated to announce to the attendees of the ITAC Charity Golf tournament that, “As of September 2015, our school will once again be a public elementary school for the children of Worthington, Mass.” She went on to explain, “This milestone of self-sufficiency will allow It Takes a Community to continue its growth goals and mission by increasing the number of organizations that receive grant money from the ITAC foundation.” For example, in addition to the R.H. Conwell School, this year’s concert and tournament proceeds are being shared among Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, Greenfield Education Foundation and the YMCA of Hampshire County’s Camp Norwich Improvement Fund.
“We have seen first-hand the necessity for smaller communities to have a voice and to determine their own local needs and priorities,” said Aaron. “My wife and I are extremely happy and proud that the R.H. Conwell School is reopening as a public elementary school and we're excited to expand the foundation and take on new projects.”