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ABCD hopeful as annual gala nears

Agency manages in US shutdown

John J. Drew, president and chief executive of Action for Boston Community Development.

Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

John J. Drew, president and chief executive of Action for Boston Community Development.

The annual gala for Action for Boston Community Development is taking on special significance this year as the antipoverty agency celebrates making it through the recent 16-day government shutdown.

ABCD will host its gala on Nov. 1, where film director and producer Spike Lee is expected to speak and music will be performed by American Idol finalist Angie Miller and R&B group The Spinners.

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“We’re doing this because we want to bring everyone together,” said John Drew, president and chief executive officer of ABCD, a private, nonprofit human services agency. “We’re here to celebrate the people.”

Because more than half of the organization’s funding is supplied by the federal government, ABCD felt a heavy hit after the shutdown, said Drew. The agency did remain open throughout the shutdown, but Drew said he realized that if it lasted any longer that programs would need to be cut.

“We didn’t shut anything down,” he said. “We held on as long as we could. Fortunately, it was long enough for the government to come back, at least for three months. We basically stayed in place; we took the risk. It was well worth it that we stayed open.”

Founded in 1961, ABCD provides programs, such as childhood education and senior services, to low-income residents of Greater Boston.

“The dinner itself is one of our signature events,” said Bob Elias, ABCD’s director of government and industrial relations. Not only is it a fund-
raiser, but it also shows off what the agency does and what it is planning to do going forward, he said.

‘We didn’t shut anything down. . . . It was well worth it that we stayed open.’

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Drew expects a full house of about 1,000 to 1,200 people at the Boston Marriott hotel in Copley Place for the event. All money raised “will go back to the community in some form,” said Drew.

Derek J. Anderson can be reached at derek.anderson@
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