Springfield— The Davis Family has established the Joseph F. and Helen C. McGovern Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts in honor of The Irene E. & George A Davis Foundation’s recently retired executive director Mary Walachy (photo attached).
Walachy retired in June after serving 23 years as executive director of the family foundation, and the fund is named after Walachy’s parents, both strong advocates for education. Walachy’s father, Joseph McGovern, was an entrepreneur who owned and operated Notion Thread, a manufacturing company in West Springfield. Walachy’s mother Helen also worked with her husband at the company.
Davis family representative Laurel Ferretti said, “We are establishing the Joseph F. and Helen C. McGovern Scholarship Fund to recognize Mary’s tireless work on behalf of the Davis Foundation and to celebrate her work in the community to advance education in the region. Her efforts to make the lives of children and their families better through educational advancement is a lasting legacy she leaves for both the Foundation and the community at large.”
The scholarship fund will provide resources for successful applicants studying education or social work. It will be awarded through the Community Foundation’s scholarship program, which awards approximately 1,000 scholarships to 800 students annually. The program considers academic merit and financial need in its applicant reviews. Walachy received a Master’s degree in Social Work, and prior to joining the Davis Foundation served as CEO of the Mental Health Association.
Walachy said, “I am so honored by the establishment of this scholarship that lovingly will be named after my parents, for whom education was of utmost importance. In my family, our parents made it clear how important education was and that going to college was non-negotiable. They had the largest impact on my life and I am thankful to the Davis family for recognizing me, and them, through the establishment of this scholarship.”
Walachy was hired in 1997 as the first executive director of the Foundation. Under Walachy’s leadership, the Foundation established several signature initiatives, including Cherish Every Child, the nationally-recognized Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative, the Funder Collaborative for Reading Success, the establishment of Springfield Business Leaders for Education and the launch of Educare Springfield.
Under Walachy’s direction, the Davis Foundation received national recognition for its work, including a feature in the National Center for Family Philanthropy and in the Council on Foundations’ book, “The Giving Family.” In addition, Springfield was twice named an All-America City by the National Civic League and was recognized as a Pacesetter Community by the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading from 2012-2017.
The Community Foundation’s Scholarship and Interest-Free Loan program is one of the largest among the country’s 700 community foundations. In 2020, it awarded $2 million to nearly 800 recipients throughout the region. To learn more about the Community Foundation’s scholarship program, please visit www.communityfoundation.org/students/scholarships/.
The Davis Foundation, a private family foundation established in 1970, supports nonprofit organizations seeking to improve the quality of life for those residing in Hampden County, with a particular focus in the areas of education and early literacy. The Foundation and the Davis family have historically served as leaders in countless community efforts. To learn more about the Davis Foundation, visit www.davisfdn.org.