Upcoming Events

LZF Weekly Office Hours

Is your organization in immediate need of someone who can help you in answering a burning question or serving as a sounding board?

Each Friday, LZF volunteer, Deborah Seidel, a lawyer and seasoned non-profit professional with a 40 year career in the non-profit sector, will offer virtual office hours to LZF grantee partners. She has served as an Executive Director in various national, state, and local volunteer organizations, and has served as a board member, board president, advisor, and direct service volunteer with a variety of organizations. Deborah has counseled non-profits in a range of management areas including board roles and responsibilities, planning, fundraising and volunteer recruitment, retention and supervision. Currently, she volunteers her time and expertise with Wildflower, Temple Israel of Boston and The Lenny Zakim Fund.

Office hours will be on Zoom from 10 am to 12 noon in 30-minute increments. LZF is happy to arrange Spanish and ASL interpretation with sufficient advanced notice. All conversations between Deborah and the grantee partner organization are and will remain confidential. Sign up here by every Thursday at 12:00 pm.


Spring Seminar Series

Event Fundraising in a Post-Pandemic World

March 15, 2023, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Presenter: Allison Picott, Executive Director, The Lenny Zakim Fund

After more than two years of virtual and socially distanced fundraising events, nonprofits are eager to get back to the business of in-person fundraising events. Many organizations, however, have experienced challenges in planning and hosting cost-efficient, successful fundraising events that not only meet their fundraising goals, but also help to grow the visibility of their organization by attracting new people who have the capacity to make impactful gifts. This seminar will offer suggestions on ways in which small organizations with limited budgets can host a successful fundraising event.

Event Fundraising in a Post-Pandemic World will be held in person at The Lenny Zakim Fund Office, 33 Arch Street, 26th Floor, Boston. LZF is happy to make special accommodations for those grantee partners who wish to participate, but for whom traveling to Boston would be a hardship. Spanish, ASL, and CDI interpretation will be provided.

Register here


Fun with Finances: A Hands-On Introduction to Nonprofit Financial Management 

Co-Presenters: Meredith Smith, Streamlined Accounting Strategies and Robin Carton, Kayak Consulting Group

This three session series is based on the premise that while your programming is critical – without sound financial policies and procedures you may have no funds to carry out your work. Over the course of this series, participants will learn about the basics of financial management while embracing concepts like the chart of accounts, budgeting, forecasting reasonable personnel and program costs. Each session will include several supporting articles for reference, a hands-on activity and an assignment that reinforces the session’s key concepts.

Session 1 (Thursday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) will review the key components of financial management that every organization should be using. Participants will take a deep dive into the Chart of Accounts, which is the system for organizing your financial management and the foundation upon which all other components are built.

Session 2 (Thursday, May 4, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) focuses on all aspects of budgeting. Topics will include a look at the core elements of an annual budget, strategies for addressing potential shortfalls, and ways to include new programming or aspirations.

Session 3 (Thursday, May 18, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) includes a combination of forecasting personnel costs for the coming year along with best practices for creating a detailed program budget.

Fun with Finances will be held in person at The Lenny Zakim Fund Office, 33 Arch Street, 26th Floor, Boston. Each session with involve small group work and direct, one-on-one interaction with Robin and Meredith. There will also be opportunities for attendees to meet and get to know one another. LZF is happy to make special accommodations for those grantee partners who wish to participate, but for whom traveling to Boston would be a hardship.

In order to get the most benefit out of Fun with Finances, it is strongly encouraged that participants attend all three sessions.

Sign up is available on a first come, first serve basis. Space is limited to 40 people. Spanish, ASL, and CDI interpretation will be provided.

Register here


Passing the Baton: Peer Non-Profit Leaders Share Their Advice for a Successful Leadership Transition

Presenters: Toni Elka, Founder and Executive Director of Future Chefs

Alphonse Litz, Founder and Executive Director of Boston Explorers

Date: April 27th, 9am-10:30am
Crestwood Advisors
One Liberty Sq, Boston, MA 02109

A successful leadership transition at a nonprofit organization is similar to running and winning an Olympic 4x 100 meter relay race: it is all about the baton pass. It must be clean and precise and requires a lot of practice – or in the case of a nonprofit organization planning – to get it right. Otherwise bobbles – including dropping – of the baton are most likely to happen resulting in a loss of momentum for your organization.

Come listen and learn from a panel of former LZF grantee partner organization leaders who recently completed, are in the process of, or are planning leadership transitions within the next couple of years. Each panelist will talk about their respective experiences, including what they wish they had known before starting the leadership transition process.

Come listen and learn from a panel of former LZF grantee partner organization leaders who recently, are in the process of, or are planning leadership transitions within the next couple of years. Each panelist will talk about their respective experience, including what they wish they knew before starting the leadership transition process.

Passing the Baton will be held in person at The Lenny Zakim Fund Office, 33 Arch Street, 26thFloor, Boston. LZF is happy to make special accommodations for those grantee partners who wish to participate, but for whom traveling to Boston would be a hardship. Spanish, ASL, and CDI interpretation can be provided upon request.

Register here

Bridge Builder

Healing from the Inside Out: Building Bridges of Understanding and Empathy Between Those Who Have Caused Harm and Those Impacted by Harm and Their Families to Break the Cycles of Violence, Incarceration, and Recidivism


Wednesday, May 10, 2023
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST
The Boston Foundation
75 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116

“Hurt people, hurt people.” – Yehuda Berg

As part of The Lenny Zakim Fund’s Bridge Builders series, we hope you will join us for this special convening of nonprofit and civic leaders who are each taking creative approaches in their work with incarcerated individuals, those whom they have harmed, and their families to break the cycles of violence, incarceration, and recidivism. The inspiring work being done both within and outside the prison system to address the individual and systemic harms, including those who have caused harm, those impacted by it, and their families will be the focus of this panel discussion.

Attendees will come away with a better understanding of the importance of building bridges of understanding and empathy between those on both sides of the harm and their families leading to transformational healing and forgiveness, with the goal of breaking the cycles of violence, incarceration, and recidivism.


Armand Coleman, Founder and Executive Director of Transformational Prison Project
Ruth Rollins, Founder and Executive Director of We Are Better Together Warren Daniel Hairston Project
Sheriff Steve Tompkins of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department

Allison Picott, Executive Director
The Lenny Zakim Fund

Panelist Bios:

Armand Coleman, Founder and Executive Director
Transformational Prison Project

Armand Coleman is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Transformational Prison Project (TPP), whose mission is to provide spaces where those who have been harmed and those who have done the harming can come together and engage in dialogue—to build understanding and empathy toward those who have been victims of violent crime. TPP is committed to understanding individual harms and the systemic harms that affect communities, more specifically communities of color.

TPP was founded in 2013 in MCI-Norfolk, Massachusetts’ largest prison, which houses the nation’s oldest population of men serving life sentences. TPP was birthed from the experiences of Armand and a small group of his fellow inmates who were also serving life sentences. It was during their exploration of the meaning of restorative justice that they found it to be a healing and transformational process and believed that other incarcerated men and women could benefit. TPP is a former grantee partner of The Lenny Zakim Fund having been a grant recipient from 2018 to 2022.

Armand has over ten years of experience developing and leading Restorative Justice (RJ) programming. While incarcerated, he co-founded the Youthful Offender Coalition for those who committed their crime under the age of eighteen and Men Exploring Their Own Obstacles which addresses toxic masculinity, rape culture, and sexism.

Following changes in Massachusetts’ criminal youthful offender law that led to Armand’s release from prison, he assumed the role as TPP’s executive director in 2021. In addition to being a lead facilitator and circle keeper at TPP, Armand leads restorative justice circles and mentors’ youth through Roxbury District Court’s CHOICE Program. He is the Volunteer Development and Community Outreach Coordinator at Communities for Restorative Justice. He is a former coordinator for the Bridge Project at Everyday Boston, where he also volunteers. He is also a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Roundtable on Racial Disparities in Massachusetts Courts and facilitates circles for first-year law students at Harvard Law School. Armand was recently named an Represent Justice Ambassador.


Ruth Rollins, Founder and Executive Director
We Are Better Together Warren Daniel Hairston Project

Ruth Rollins is the Executive Director and Founder of We Are Better Together Warren Daniel Hairston Project (WAB2G), an organization that connects women and girls affected by homicide and incarceration to interrupt the cycles of violence and victimization, foster healing, and promote unity while challenging systems.

WAB2G was founded in 2017, after the murder of Ruth’s son, Danny Hairston, and the incarceration of her second son. She experienced the grief, shame, and stigma of losing a child and being a parent of children causing disorder in the community. Ruth realized that addressing the trauma of her past is essential to the healing process and though there were services available for homicide victim families (survivors), no services were available to mothers who lost loved ones to incarceration. Ruth found her voice and founded the organization to honor her son’s legacy, engage and empower mothers on both sides of gun violence in the healing process. She is committed to using her expertise in service to help mothers heal and ensure that no families have to suffer in silence.

Ruth has been a domestic violence advocate for over 20 years, and has developed curriculum with the Boston Public Health Commission on Community Harm, removing the stigma surrounding families of victims and families of love ones causing harm who are traumatized by gun violence. Her community leadership and deep connections in the community make her a powerful force for peace. She is also a co-founder for Operation LIPSTICK (Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing) and is nationally recognized as a leader in addressing gun violence and community violence.

WAB2G has been a grantee partner of The Lenny Zakim Fund since 2020. In 2022 Ruth completed LZF’s Transformational Leadership Cohort (TLC) Program, an intensive 16-month capacity building program specifically designed for small grassroots organizations and led by people from historically-excluded populations.


Steven Tompkins, Sheriff
Massachusetts Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department

Steven W. Tompkins, a member of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department since 2002, was appointed to serve as the Sheriff of Suffolk County on January 22, 2013 by Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. He was subsequently elected Sheriff in 2014 and has been twice re-elected in 2016 and 2022. As Sheriff, Tompkins manages all operations at the Suffolk County House of Correction, the Nashua Street Jail, and the Civil Process Division. In addition to providing care, custody and rehabilitative support for inmates and pre–trial detainees, Tompkins also oversees a management, security and administrative staff of over 1,000.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department offers inmates a variety of social service, educational, vocational, medical, and spiritual programs. One such program is the Family Matters program, which was created in 2015 at the Suffolk County House of Correction to assist inmates and their families in working toward positive relationships that strengthen the family as a unit. The goal of the program is to re-unify inmates with their children and loved ones while incarcerated and connect the families to support services in the community.

As the former Chief of External Affairs for the Department, Tompkins established sustainable partnerships with municipal agencies, neighborhood organizations, civic associations, local businesses and crime watch groups to increase community engagement in deterring youth crime and improving reentry programs. He created the innovative “Common Ground Institute (CGI),” a vocational training and re–entry program that teaches marketable vocational skills in a classroom setting and allows inmates to hone those skills by renovating public lands and facilities throughout Suffolk County. One of CGI’s most unique features is its job placement component for graduates with employers who hire with full knowledge of the offender’s criminal history.

Sheriff Tompkins is a two-time past President of the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association and is an engaged community leader and respected advocate, currently serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Roxbury Community College and as the Vice President of Region 1 for NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives).


Past Events

2023 Annual Awards Ceremony

February 16, 2023, 6:00pm

The Lenny Zakim Fund was proud to honor our grant recipients each year at a stellar event, celebrating their achievement and supporting their exciting potential. Each organization was recognized and welcomed as part of the LZF community.