BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Wonderfund, a newly launched charity serving children supported by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, is announcing today it has named Erin Murphy Rafferty as its new CEO.
Ms. Rafferty most recently served as Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Bid Officer of Boston 2024. In this role, she oversaw the bid process, staff, financials, committees, international relations, and day to day operations for the group working to bring the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Boston. Prior to this position, Ms. Rafferty was the President and CEO of the Dublin-based US Ireland Business Partnership, an economic development advocacy firm, and for nine years served on the management team of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, a regional economic development group with 1,500 member companies. From 2000 to 2002, Ms. Rafferty served on the crisis communications team for Polaroid Corporation during its historic restructuring. In the two years prior, she worked in public affairs for the Department of Social Services (now the Department of Children and Families), where she was first introduced to, and fell in love with, the work of the Wonderfund’s predecessor, the DCF Kids Fund.
First Lady of Massachusetts Lauren Baker, who serves as vice chair of the Wonderfund and has made the charity her priority initiative, said: “In order to grow the Wonderfund into a thriving organization that can help every single child who needs us, we needed a CEO with strong leadership experience, a passion for helping children, and a track record of growing small organizations to scale. We could not be more thrilled to have someone of Erin’s skill and experience helping us make a meaningful difference in the lives of these special kids.”
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and a Founding Partner of the Wonderfund, said: “I am honored to lend support to Wonderfund in its mission to give hope to Massachusetts children who are overcoming great adversity in an effort to help change the trajectory of their lives. With its launch completed and leadership in place, I believe the organization has the potential to be a real force for change in Massachusetts and a national model for states seeking to better serve a population that too often is underserved.”
The Wonderfund, a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) federally tax-exempt charity, was formerly known as the DCF Kids Fund. The Wonderfund has a vision to provide resources and opportunities above what state funding can do, for the more than 50,000 children engaged with DCF on any given day:
- Emergency and transitional items: Children placed in DCF care, some with no more than the clothes on their backs, are given a duffel bag that contains clean, seasonally appropriate clothing, new pajamas, toiletries, and an age-appropriate item of comfort such as a teddy bear.
- Enrichment opportunities: All children involved with DCF are eligible for funding from the Wonderfund to access to enrichment activities like summer camp, arts & music lessons, sports, SAT preparation, or vocational training that can change the trajectory of their lives for the better.
The Wonderfund, which launched officially on June 13 after months of behind-the-scenes work by Mrs. Baker, Executive Director Jennifer Kitchenham, Ms. Rafferty, and fellow Wonderfund volunteers, builds on the good work of the DCF Kids Fund by creating a scalable organization that will continue to coordinate daily with front-line social workers at DCF to match resources to individual children’s needs and wishes.
“We are proud to have attracted someone with Erin’s experience in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors,” said Wonderfund chairman Larry Begley. “Erin’s proven results in leading organizations, alliance building, and strategic planning will help the Wonderfund attract and leverage even more resources, so we can reach every child who needs us and ensure they get the joyful and confidence-building experiences every kid deserves.”
Ms. Rafferty said: “Every child, from those who have endured traumatic experiences to those whose families just need extra support, deserves the kind of dignity and care the Wonderfund strives to provide. Our mission is to change tens of thousands of lives for the better, and to be there for the moments that matter for children, forever. I am so honored and excited to be part of this amazing effort to support these inspiring children.”
Ms. Kitchenham said: “All of us who have been so devoted to the Wonderfund are delighted to see this influx of new resources and capabilities that will help us comfort and inspire a much larger number of children being supported by DCF. I’m excited and so happy to be working in partnership with Erin to make the Wonderfund a truly transformative organization.”
Ms. Kitchenham will continue, as Executive Director, to manage daily operations of the Wonderfund and interactions with DCF care workers, evaluating and fulfilling requests for assistance from the Wonderfund, while Ms. Rafferty will focus as CEO on organizational growth, fundraising, strategy, and external communications.
Ms. Rafferty began her career in politics, on the campaigns and in the administrations of Governors William Weld, Paul Cellucci, and Jane Swift. She is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, and the Greater Boston Chamber’s ‘Boston’s Future Leaders’ Program at Harvard Business School. She lives in the Greater Boston area with her husband Barry Rafferty, daughter Julia, and rescue dog Ruby.
More information about the Wonderfund can be found at www.wonderfundma.org.