May 30, 2024

Spring Inspiration Breakfast

Join the Community Foundation for MetroWest for our 10th Annual Spring Inspiration Breakfast, where we bring together friends of the Foundation, community members, sponsors, and their guests to celebrate the transformative power of the arts in shaping our dynamic and vibrant MetroWest community. The event will be co-chaired by Neeti Ciolino, a Foundation supporter and member of the Board of Trustees, and her daughter Sonali.

The Foundation will showcase our dedication to cultivating a healthy arts and culture ecosystem, demonstrating our history of supporting the arts, and envisioning a future where the arts continue to play a pivotal role in fostering community engagement, enrichment, and inclusion.

We are delighted to recognize Cecily Cassum, our Community Philanthropist Honoree, for her remarkable contributions and unwavering dedication to enhancing arts and culture in our region.

The event program, moderated by Jared Bowen, GBH Executive Arts Editor and Host of The Culture Show, will include a conversation exploring the critical aspects of diversity and inclusion within the arts with Jim Canales, President and Trustee of the Barr Foundation, Jean Mineo, Founder of the Bellforge Arts Center and Jay Kim, Executive Director of the Community Foundation for MetroWest.

2024 Spring Inspiration Breakfast Highlights:

Community Philanthropist Honoree: Cecily Cassum

Cecily Cassum

Cecily Cassum is a devoted advocate for the arts and an influential figure in the community of Weston. For almost 30 years, Cecily resided in Weston, where she not only excelled professionally in financial software but also played an active role in the public school system and a local tennis club. She joined the Weston Art & Innovation Center Advisory Board in 2016, eventually becoming Board Chair in 2018. In addition, she has recently joined the board of the Marion Art Center in Marion, MA.

Cecily has always had a deep passion for artistic pursuits. When she first moved to Weston, she struggled to find local art classes and thus ventured to neighboring towns and prestigious institutions like deCordova, Concord Art, and MassArt. Her strong desire to create a space for artists in her community led her to support the idea of opening a public art education center in the Old Library in Weston Center.

Under Cecily’s leadership, the Art & Innovation Center has thrived, with a robust calendar of events, a welcoming environment for community engagement, and a steadfast commitment to the intersection of art and technology. Her dedication to philanthropy and the arts has had a lasting impact on the MetroWest area, and her contributions are highly valued and appreciated by all who have benefitted from her efforts.

Program Panelists:

Jared Bowen
GBH Executive Arts Editor
and Host of The Culture Show

Jared Bowen is the host of the daily radio program The Culture Show on 89.7 GBH. He is also the Emmy award-winning Executive Arts Editor at GBH exploring the creative process through a lively mix of local and national artist profiles, performances and exhibitions. Jared is a special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and covers the latest happenings in the region’s theater, art, music, dance and film scenes on GBH’s Morning Edition and Boston Public Radio.  Jared is the moderator of the Boston Speakers Series at Symphony Hall facilitating conversations with everyone from world leaders to Oscar-winning actors. He is a member of the Boston Theater Critics Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

He has won four New England Emmy Awards and two Edward R. Murrow Awards for his arts reporting and is a recipient of the Commonwealth Award, recognizing achievement in the arts, humanities and sciences. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Jared began his career at Dateline NBC in New York, is a graduate of Emerson College and holds an honorary doctorate from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.


Jim Canales
President and trustee of the Barr Foundation

Jim Canales was named president and a trustee of the Barr Foundation in May 2014. Since his arrival, Barr has experienced significant growth. Annual grantmaking has tripled and the staff has more than doubled in size. Prior to Barr, Jim spent over two decades at The James Irvine Foundation, including service as president and CEO from 2003 through 2014. 

Jim currently serves as vice chair of the Kaiser Family Foundation and as a trustee of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Public Library, and Eastern Bank Foundation. Jim’s prior board service includes a ten-year term as a Stanford University trustee and as chair of the boards of the College Futures Foundation, KQED Public Broadcasting, Stanford Alumni Association, and Larkin Street Youth Services, and as vice chair of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

Jim’s writings on a range of topics have appeared in the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Stanford Social Innovation Review, among other outlets. He has been a featured speaker, panelist, moderator, or guest at a variety of forums dedicated to a stronger social sector, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Communications Network, PEAK Grantmaking, and Inside Philanthropy. Before working in philanthropy, Jim was a high school English teacher in San Francisco, after earning a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in education from Stanford University. 


Jean Mineo
Founder of Bellforge Arts Center

Jean Mineo established the volunteer-led Cultural Alliance of Medfield (CAM), which is now known as the Bellforge Arts Center. The center was created to support artists, expand cultural opportunities, and nurture the creative community. She served as an advisor to the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee from 2014 to 2018 and was hired as Bellforge’s first Executive Director in July 2021. Mineo played a pivotal role in securing the 99-year lease on two buildings at the former State Hospital in 2020 following unanimous passage at a special town meeting in 2018 and approval from Gov. Baker in 2019, engaging in subsequent negotiations with the Town.

Jean is passionate about exploring arts outside of conventional venues, guided by a belief in the capacity of the arts to change, enhance, and inform the way we think about – and interact with – the world around us. Whether in a community art center setting, artist’s cooperative gallery, public art installations, or open studios in unconventional venues, Mineo focuses on creating opportunities for artists while seeking ways to engage people for whom the arts might seem irrelevant or inaccessible. Mineo holds a B.F.A from the Rochester Institute of Technology and an M.A. in Arts Administration from American University.


Thank You to Our Sponsors:

Benefactor Plus+





For more information about the event and sponsorship, please contact Joyce Minkoff at [email protected]

2024 Event Committee

Neeti and Sonali Ciolino, Co-Chairs

  • Karen and Sean Edwards
  • Susie Estella
  • Kathryn Fagin*
  • Anne Grape
  • Amy Grimm
  • Roland Hoch*
  • Elaine Holmes
  • Mimi Jigarjian
  • Susan and Brian Kavoogian
  • Jenni Leisman Dessert
  • Jennifer Rae London
  • Lauren Manley
  • Carol O’Neil
  • Janet Pattillo*
  • Margaret Ramsey*
  • Judy Salerno*
  • Jenna Schmid
  • Meaghan Schweitzer
  • Patricia Schneider
  • John Thompson*
  • Jessica Walter

*Honorary Committee