14 Mar MBHP names Stephen Donovan as 2014 Lowell Richards Fellow
Fellowship to be hosted for the second consecutive year by Massport
BOSTON—Each year, Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership selects a undergraduate or graduate student who demonstrates leadership and a commitment to public policy to have the opportunity to spend a summer working in the affordable housing field. This year, the honor goes to Stephen Donovan, who was recently selected as the second awardee of the Lowell Richards Fellowship for Leadership and Public Service. The fellowship was established in 2013 in honor of the late Lowell Richards, founding member and longtime co-chair of MBHP’s board of directors, in honor of his twenty-nine year dedication to the organization. March 15 is his birthday.
For the second year, the fellowship will again be hosted by the Massachusetts Port Authority, working with their Economic Planning and Development department where Richards served as Chief Development Officer for more than ten years. “Massport welcomes the opportunity to engage with students of public policy who want to know how urban revitalization can make a meaningful difference in the quality of life for individuals and communities,’’ said Massport Chief Executive Officer Thomas P. Glynn. “Emerging professionals bring a new and exciting perspective to our work, an attitude Lowell always encouraged.’’
The fellowship’s goal is to encourage young leaders to pursue a career in public service, specifically in urban development, and issues related to affordable housing. Donovan’s resume clearly demonstrates a commitment to these issues. A portfolio analyst at Boston Community Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution, he is also currently studying for a Master’s of Urban Regional Policy at Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs.
Lowell’s wife, Karen, applauds the selection. “It was difficult to pick from so many outstanding applicants,” she said. “Lowell loved meeting young people who were passionate about improving their communities. He was always eager to speak with them, listen to their ideas, and encourage them. He would have been so impressed by Stephen’s passion and drive.”
Prior to his current position, Donovan worked with many nonprofit organizations, including serving as an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps member and team leader, traveling to different communities to complete service projects. In 2008, this included helping rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
“The time I spent in New Orleans is particularly important to me,” Donovan said. During a project at a local juvenile detention center, he was struck by the role poverty and lack of resources seemed to play in the lives of the detainees. “While some challenges may have been the result of a natural disaster,” said Donovan, “others were surely systemic in nature. How much of what led them into custody could be combated with better planning and policy?”
The question doesn’t have an easy answer—but Donovan is on a course to help find it.
“My personal goal is to better understand how things get done,” said Donovan. “I hope to develop a solid understanding of the economic planning process in order to become a more effective professional and an asset to the communities I work with throughout my career.”