Springfield—The Directors of The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation today announced the appointment of Paul Belsito as Executive Director of the Foundation, succeeding Mary Walachy who served in the position for the past 23 years. Belsito will begin his new role at the Davis Foundation on June 1, 2020.
A Massachusetts resident, Belsito most recently worked for The Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester, where he served as President of The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation and Assistant Vice President for Community Relations.
In his nearly eight years at Hanover, Belsito led charitable giving, community relations, and employee giving and service in the company’s efforts to improve the lives of Worcester’s youth. The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation places special emphasis on programs designed to strengthen schools and propel youth to higher levels of success. One of Belsito’s signature initiatives included supporting the Advancement Via Individualized Determination (AVID) college readiness program in the Worcester Public Schools.
Belsito will succeed Mary Walachy, who guided the Foundation in establishing several signature initiatives, including Cherish Every Child, the nationally-recognized Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative, the 413families/familias community texting initiative and the advocacy group, Springfield Business Leaders for Education. Most recently, Walachy led the effort to establish and build the innovative Educare Springfield early education center, which opened in the fall of 2019 near the campus of Springfield College and adjacent to Brookings Elementary School.
Walachy will continue to represent the Davis Foundation in its role as philanthropic lead for Educare Springfield, the 24th Educare in the country and the first in Massachusetts, through the end of 2020.
Directors of the Davis Foundation made the following statement: “We are thrilled to bring someone of Paul Belsito’s talent, experience and passion for community to the critical initiatives that the Davis Foundation supports in our region. Paul’s prior experience in philanthropy, business and public policy will serve the Foundation well in filling the very big shoes of Mary Walachy, who brought our grant making and related initiatives to a higher level during her tenure at the Davis Foundation.
“Paul’s experience is in alignment with the values of the Davis Foundation in how to engage and advance our community, particularly those related to early education and development. We believe Paul is the right person at the right time to lead the Foundation into the future.
“We also want to express our deep gratitude to Mary Walachy who became a force for good in our community and in leading the many initiatives of the Davis Foundation. She raised the level of our work and helped us design and execute a special focus on education and the early development years of a child’s life.”
Belsito was selected as the result of an extensive search process that began in the fall of 2019 and that was national in scope, facilitated by national search firm Isaacson, Miller.
On assuming the new position, Belsito said, “I am honored to join the Davis Foundation to advance our shared goals of improving the lives of children and families in Hampden County. In our present time, the commitment of the Davis Family has never been more important and I am excited to expand on the great foundation that Mary and the board have established. The legacy of Irene and George Davis remains vital as we rethink and reimagine how our community can best meet the needs of all of its residents. I am excited to listen, to learn and build on this legacy in partnership with the board.”
A native of Worcester, Belsito has long been deeply involved in his community, serving on numerous nonprofit boards, including corporator of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, associate trustee of the Nativity School of Worcester, and presently as chair of the board of the EcoTarium. In the last few months, Paul co-led the City of Worcester's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in support of the COVID-19 pandemic response. In this capacity, Paul helped to create a strategic plan for the City's EOC response to COVID-19 that provided a road map for success. He holds a BA in management and an MBA, both from Assumption College.
Belsito brings a diversity of professional experiences across higher education, politics, and government to the Davis Foundation in addition to his significant experience in philanthropy and community engagement. Prior to joining Hanover, he served in the Office of the President at Assumption College as Executive Assistant for Government and Community Relations and as a District Director in the Massachusetts State Senate.