Winchester ABC Launches Matching Gift Challenge in Memory of Mike Regentz
As it enters its 41st year, Winchester’s A Better Chance (ABC) is excited to announce a Matching Gift Challenge that promises to ensure the academic success of young scholars for years to come. The challenge will be officially announced at ABC’s fall event, Oktoberfest, on Saturday, October 20 at the Sons of Italy Hall in Winchester.
In honor of long-time ABC supporter Mike Regentz, Cummings Foundation has pledged to match dollar-for-dollar money raised by Winchester ABC in excess of last year’s donations. Winchester ABC has a goal of raising an additional $50,000, and Cummings Foundation has said that it will match up to $100,000. Winchester ABC has a unique opportunity this year, and the program is asking for the community’s help to take advantage of this generous offer.
“The generosity of Bill and Joyce Cummings in establishing this incredible fundraising opportunity matches the strong commitment that Mike Regentz had to the ABC program,” said Michael Sharon, President of Winchester ABC. “I can think of no better way to honor Mike’s memory than to accept this challenge head on and reach our goal. The Winchester community has always embraced the ABC program, and today I urge our friends, neighbors and community businesses to contribute and build upon Mike’s legacy. The time to give is now because your donation today is worth twice as much.”
The new funding will go a long way in furthering the academic and life dreams of the eight scholars currently attending Winchester High School as well as those who come after them. Since 1971, Winchester ABC has been opening the door to educational opportunities for young people of color. More than 70 ABC scholars have graduated from Winchester High since the program’s inception. Today, they are doctors, police officers, and lawyers who credit Winchester ABC with changing their lives. Recent ABC graduates attend colleges such as Williams, Duke, Bard and Northeastern University, to name just a few.
“We are delighted to honor the dedication and community service of Mike and Jennifer Regentz and be able to establish a fund that will augment educational support and college readiness for the Winchester ABC scholars,” said Bill Cummings. Bill and his wife Joyce are long-time Winchester residents, founders of Cummings Foundation and members of the Giving Pledge.
Mike Regentz passed away suddenly this past April. Mike and his wife Jennifer have been ardent supporters of the Winchester ABC program for the past 22 years as host parents to Alby Acosta (Winchester High School graduate 2004) and as active Board members. Mike , well known for his “yes, I can help” attitude, was frequently found around the ABC house located on Dix Street assisting scholars and being the “go to” person for many ABC needs. Jennifer served as ABC’s president for two years and remains active in the program.
“People often think that the benefit of the ABC program is entirely for the scholars, but truly our Winchester community is greatly enriched by having these fine young men as members of our community,” said Suzie Reno who was among the original founders the Winchester ABC program. “Mike Regentz knew that and he took great pride in the scholars’ accomplishments.”
The Winchester ABC program supports eight scholars and relies entirely on the donations of community members. After a comprehensive selection process, these young men come to Winchester in their freshman year and remain here throughout their four years of high school. They reside at the ABC home where they live with the resident directors and resident tutor. Additionally, each ABC scholar has a host family in Winchester.
“Winchester ABC is a remarkable program. The four years I spent in Winchester has deeply impacted my life in many ways. It has allowed me to build lifelong, meaningful connections, understand and access my fullest potential, and truly value the meaning of scholarship, community, and life without limits,” said Ahmad Greene-Hayes, class of 2012.
ABC fundraising activities include three bottle drives per year, an annual appeal, and the fall event. At this year’s Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 20 at the Sons of Italy Hall in Winchester, guests will enjoy authentic German food including knockwurst, sauerkraut and warm pretzels catered by Karl’s Sausage Kitchen. Silent and live auctions feature items from The Wooden Crate, Bistro 5, Core Elements/Yoga Mandala, Daily Dress, rounds of golf at The Country Club, vacation homes and Celtics and Patriots tickets. Tickets ($75) are limited and can be purchased at Bookends, An Elegant Affair or online at www.winchesterabc.org.
To donate directly to the Mike Regentz Cummings Challenge or to learn more about Winchester ABC, visit http://www.winchesterabc.org/. Donations may also be mailed to: Winchester A Better Chance, P.O. Box 94, Winchester, MA 01890-0194.