More than 400 people packed the Picasso Ballroom at Encore Boston Harbor to help Northeast Arc celebrate An Evening of Changing Lives. With support from donors and attendees the agency raised more than $500,000 to support programs that help people with disabilities or autism live as full members of their communities.

The highlight of the evening was an inclusive fashion show where individuals and families supported by Northeast Arc walked the runway with local celebrities. The fashion show highlighted the diversity of services provided by Northeast Arc – supporting people with disabilities and autism from birth through end of life. The fashion show ended with former New England Patriot and two-time Super Bowl Champion Rob Ninkovich tossing footballs to donors in the crowd.

Click here to see photos from the inclusive fashion show

During the event, Northeast Arc honored Darcy Immerman, Senior Vice President at NORESCO, with the Changing Lives Award in recognition of her longtime support of NeArc. Kim Driscoll, Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth Massachusetts, and one of Immerman’s closest friends, presented the Changing Lives Award.

“This award recognizes those who understand the value of inclusion, and who have fought hard to make our communities more inclusive by supporting this incredible organization,” said Lt. Governor Driscoll. “I think of Darcy as the ultimate connector. She makes it her mission to know everyone in the room and make sure they know each other. She doesn’t just serve on a Board; she is active, engaged, and committed to the work.”

Immerman has served in a variety of roles at Northeast Arc, including as former Chair of the Board of Directors and current chair of the 2054 Society. In accepting the award, Immerman called NeArc an “exceptional asset to the community” and spoke about how the organization has focused on developing innovative solutions to emerging challenges.

“As with many community-based organizations, we receive government funding once a program is established.  But to create these programs we need to self-fund the pilots – thus innovation is fueled by donations,” said Immerman. [For example,] we launched the Arc Tank. Rather than using a major gift from Steven Rosenthal for operations, we used it to fund disruptive technology which has created apps and programs well beyond our North Shore reach.”

Jo Ann Simons, President and CEO of Northeast Arc, said that Immerman is just one of many partners who make NeArc’s work possible. “Collaboration with government, business, and community leaders, and with each of you, makes our goals achievable,” Simons said. “Darcy embodies the type of collaboration and compassion that makes our community the best place for people of all abilities to live.”

The following celebrities and Northeast Arc participants walked the runway during the inclusive fashion show:

  • Doug Banks, Executive Editor, Boston Business Journal, walking with Mike Thibedeau, Journeys
  • Rebecca Chasen, New England Managing Partner, Deloitte, walking with Stefanie Sacks, Steps to Independence
  • Patti Cusack, NeArc Board Member, walking with Teddy Cusack
  • Cassie DiOrio, Parent and Advocate, walking with Joey DiOrio, Early Intervention, Autism Support Center, ABA
  • Heidi Ellard, Chair, NeArc Board of Directors, walking with Ethan Kearney, Best Buddies
  • Mark Fischer, General Manager, Liberty Hotel, walking with Alyssa Brewster, Independent Living
  • Becca Gould, Senior Vice President, American Tower Foundation, walking with Bido Martinez-Yung and Molly Shea, Employment, Steps to Independence, Recreation
  • Josh Kraft, President, New England Patriots Foundation, walking with Sara Quinlivan, Patton Center Day Hab, Residential Deaf Services
  • Grace Lee, Executive Vice President, M&T Bank, walking with Cathryn Lally, Young Ambassadors
  • Lynnebago Team, Louise Dominique, Lisa Tulipani, Maria Riley, Arc Tank Winners, and Joe Thorton, Co-Chair, Lynn Disability Commission
  • Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director, Arc of Massachusetts, walking with Robert Herlich, Regional Co-Founder, Mass Advocates Standing Strong
  • Audrey Shelto, President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, walking with Mateo Polanco, Clinical Services
  • Jennifer Soldner, Chief People Officer, Haffner’s Energy, walking with Douglas Andrade and Isaiah Cedano, Pathways to Opportunities
  • Carolina Trujillo, Executive Director, Citizens Inn, walking with Will Merrill, The Caning Company
  • Kate Walsh, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, walking with Sarah Chisholm, Endeavor Day Hab, Residential

Northeast Arc would like to thank its Presenting Sponsors, Encore Boston Harbor and PLAN of MA & RI for their support. Engagement Sponsors were Darcy and Stephen Immerman, Quinn Brothers Ironworks, New England Biolabs, and RoAnn Costin. Shining Star Sponsors were Carrier/NORESCO, Eastern Bank Foundation, Ralph and Janice James, and OneDigital. Visit to see all sponsors.

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