Outstanding Community Leaders Honored At 26th Annual JFS Seize the Dream Gala


4 honorees post event


Framingham, MA – May 23, 2016 – Every year, JFS of Metrowest recognizes area leaders and volunteers who have demonstrated an unfailing commitment and personal dedication to supporting vulnerable children, families, and senior adults in the local community.

At this year’s 26th annual Seize the Dream gala, held on May 22nd at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham, over 425 attendees from the Metrowest and Greater Boston areas came together to honor Marsha and Harvey Chasen of Framingham and Dena and Michael Rashes of Newton – individuals who have each made it their life’s work to stand up for those left behind.

Marsha and Harvey Chasen are passionate about Jewish education and are steadfast in their support of the most vulnerable in the Metrowest community.

Marsha is a graduate of the Chandler School for Women and worked as an executive assistant at Lee Institute in Brookline, MA. She moved to Natick in 1968 and became a stay-at-home mom to her three children: Allan, Robin, and Julie. Marsha returned to school to earn a degree in travel from Lasell College and currently works at PROTRAVEL in Needham, specializing in leisure travel. She is also a graduate of CJP’s Me’ah program.

Harvey graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in mechanical engineering. When his older daughter, Robin, was an undergraduate at Northeastern, Harvey returned to earn his MBA. Harvey is a partner with his son, Allan (a JFS board member), in their third-generation family business, HD Chasen, which supplies material to build and maintain bridges, power plants and oil refineries worldwide.

In 2003 Harvey was introduced to Renée and Steven Finn, active members in Metrowest and CJP, who were embarking on a mission to bring a Jewish day school to Metrowest. Their passion to create an education for Jewish children grounded in Jewish values became Harvey’s passion and they became one of the founding families of the Metrowest Jewish Day School (MWJDS). Harvey has served as a member of the School’s Board of Directors and Marsha volunteers with the School’s development activities. They are proud to see their grandsons thriving in MWJDS’s vibrant school community.

Harvey also served as chairman of the Natick Red Cross Disaster Committee. Through the Chasen Family Charitable Trust, the Chasen family helps support numerous organizations and fellowships.

For the past 47 years, the Chasens have been active members of Temple Israel of Natick. Marsha served on the Sisterhood board and Harvey initially joined various house committees and later was Vice President of Administration and a member of the Finance Committee. As pillars of the Metrowest community, Marsha and Harvey continue to embrace the JFS mission and support the programs and services that strengthen our community.

Dena (Boronkay) and Michael Rashes are extraordinary community leaders and are driven by a desire to create a just and inclusive community for children and families.

Dena is a dedicated and valued leader in the Greater Boston Jewish community. She is serving her second year as CJP’s Annual Campaign co-chair. She co-chaired the 2015 campaign with former JFS of Metrowest Board President, Aron Ain. A member of CJP’s Board of Directors, Dena serves on the Development Committee and is a member of CJP’s Israel and Overseas Commission.

She is a graduate of CJP’s Me’ah program and the Cynthia and Leon Shulman Acharai Leadership Program.

Dena is a Vice President of the Board of Trustees of The Rashi School, where she co-chaired the $30 million Campaign for Rashi. She sits on the Board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Congregation Mishkan Tefila and Gateways: Access to Jewish Education. A past board member of Historic Newton, she currently serves on its Museum Council. Dena is a current member of the JFNA National Young Leadership Cabinet.  A graduate of Wellesley College, Dena remains a committed alumnae volunteer. Prior to leaving the workforce to care for her growing family, she worked as an investment banker.

Michael is a principal at Bracebridge Capital, a fixed income hedge fund based in Boston, where he oversees the sovereign credit and rates trading strategies as well as the development and implementation of the firm’s proprietary asset pricing and risk-management models.   Michael serves on the Advisory Board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, a research organization committed to scholarship that helps address the real-world challenges facing governments and businesses in the United States and around the world.

Michael graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and BS in Chemical Engineering. He also earned his MA and PhD, both in Economics, from Harvard University. Dena and Michael live in Newton and are the proud parents of four children.

These honorees set an inspiring example as they freely give of their time, talents and resources, and their abundant generosity was emulated by the many guests who joined in the celebration and responded to the joyous and emotional themes of the evening.

An elegant affair, guests enjoyed dinner and refreshments provided by 21 local caterers and restaurants and live music by the jazz ensemble DOWSHU.  The event also featured an online auction with close to 100 unique items ranging from dining and vacation packages to electronics and autographed sports memorabilia.

The next Seize the Dream gala will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham.

About JFS of Metrowest
JFS a community-based organization that is dedicated to standing up for those left behind, providing services to over 5,000 people in need within the Metrowest and Greater Boston regions each year.  The proceeds of the Seize the Dream event support a wide variety of programs including afterschool tutoring for at-risk children, nutrition assistance for low-income families and support services that enable frail older adults to live independently.  To learn more about JFS, visit www.jfsmw.org.



Media Contact:

JFS of Metrowest
Amanda Coughlin
Manager, Program Operations
508-875-3100 x340

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