LIFT-Boston Celebrates the Power of Human Potential

By LIFT on May 12, 2015

Categories: Events, Our Work


At LIFT, we have six core values that guide our work. We reference them often and spend time reflecting on how we see them play out in our day-to-day work. I’m not sure if I have a favorite – it feels a little bit like choosing a favorite child – but I’ve always felt that human potential best represents the important work we’re doing at LIFT to help lift people out of poverty. We welcome people where they are in life and support them in getting to where they want to be.

LIFT-Boston’s 2015 upLIFTing Awards celebrated this value by honoring three individuals whose work and personal lives demonstrate the power of human potential: Melinda Marble, Director of Family Philanthropy at Pilot House Associates, J. Keith Motley, Chancellor of UMass Boston, and LIFT-Boston Member Paul Leshore.

Melinda Marble’s career demonstrates her dedication to lifting her community, making her indisputably deserving of the upLIFTing Boston award. She has more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector at organizations including as The Barr Foundation and The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, working tirelessly to meet the needs of those living in poverty. In the tribute video about Melinda and her impact on the Boston community, a former One Family Inc. scholar says that Melinda believed in her before she even believed in herself. That is the essence of human potential: recognizing the inherent dignity, value and potential of each person. Melinda has recognized and imbued those qualities in countless men and women in Boston.

As Chancellor of UMass Boston, Chancellor Motley leads an institution with over 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students. He believes in the potential of every student and is unshakably dedicated to preparing students to lead successful lives and careers. While on stage to accept the upLIFTing Legacy Award, Chancellor Motley said that his college basketball coach at Northeastern University, the legendary Jim Calhoun, told his mother in Philadelphia that he would be a gift to Boston. His coach could see his potential and empowered him to reach it to the fullest. Chancellor Motley has been paying it forward to the City of Boston ever since.

Paul Leshore has been a LIFT-Boston member for two and a half years and received the upLIFTing Commitment Award. He has overcome incredible barriers by believing in his own potential to achieve his dreams, despite the challenges that have held him back. At LIFT-Boston he worked with a volunteer advocate who recognized and empowered his potential by helping him develop the tools and confidence to pursue his passions. Paul says she helped him “to dream even bigger,” and today he has accomplished more than he ever thought possible. His commitment to keep pushing forward has inspired him to now advocate for his community to reach its potential. He’s a dedicated leader in community organizations to address the needs of his neighbors.

The upLIFTing Awards honored three individuals who consistently recognize and LIFT up the inherent dignity, value and potential in the people and communities around them. The event was not just a tribute to the amazing accomplishments of these individuals; it was a celebration and recognition of the powerful potential within us all.

View highlights from the 2015 upLIFTing Awards