Donation to depleted naloxone fund will help cities and towns purchase drug and prevent deaths

BOSTON – April 17, 2018 – As part of its mission to substantially reduce opioid-related deaths, RIZE Massachusetts (RIZE) announced today that it will contribute $50,000 to the Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program created to reduce the cost to Massachusetts cities and towns of purchasing the opioid overdose reversal drug known as Narcan.  First responders across the Commonwealth now carry and use Narcan to save the lives of people in danger of dying from lethal opioid overdose. The increasing need for the drug is placing a high demand on the discount purchasing program, which has depleted the initial funding, leaving municipalities to now pay 46 to 78 percent more to buy the life-saving drug.

“Broad distribution and access to naloxone is one key strategy of the Commonwealth’s response to the opioid epidemic.  The Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing Program was established to allow communities to purchase this life-saving medication at a discounted rate,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services.   “We are grateful for the generous donation from RIZE and welcome others to consider supporting this program to subsidize the cost of naloxone for cities and towns throughout the state.”

“More people are alive today because first responders are carrying Narcan, and cities and towns should not have to break their budgets to continue making this needed medicine available to treat people in danger of dying,” said RIZE Executive Director Julie Burns.  “RIZE shares Governor Baker’s commitment to preventing opioid-related deaths and ending the most serious public health epidemic of our time. We welcome this opportunity to contribute to the state’s efforts to save lives by increasing the availability of Narcan.”

The importance of naloxone in fighting the opioid crisis is evident.  Emergency medical services response to opioid-related calls and calls that require the use of medication for opioid overdose trend up each year. According to state data, non-fatal overdoses in Massachusetts soared by 200 percent from 2011 to 2015, with the total number during that period topping 65,000.


RIZE Massachusetts Announces Senior Staff Appointments

Boston – January 31, 2018 –RIZE Massachusetts (RIZE) announced today two key hires in development and programming to help carry out its ambitious agenda to fight the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic:

• Mark Walsh, Director of External Affairs and Philanthropy
• Anne Marie Boursiquot King, Senior Program Officer

“We’re thrilled to have these two highly talented and experienced professionals join the RIZE team” said Julie Burns, Executive Director. “Together, they will manage the collaboration of business and civic leaders, health industry and medical experts, and public health stakeholders assembled by RIZE to address the urgent challenge of ending the opioid crisis.”

Mark Walsh leads development in his new role. RIZE plans to raise $50 million over the next several years and invest in proven and innovative opioid treatment, prevention, and educational programs. In addition to development, Mr. Walsh will manage outreach efforts, including donor and corporate relations. He brings extensive government and nonprofit experience to the organization. He served as Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States from 2011 to 2017, overseeing visits of international dignitaries for the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State and engaging in several Department of State public/private fundraising initiatives. Prior to that, Mr. Walsh worked as the Vice President of Development for AIDS Action, as National Director of LGBT Outreach for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, and co-founded Rafanelli Events. Mr. Walsh received his JD from Boston University and practiced law for several years before working in the public sector.

“RIZE will bring philanthropy to a level that matches the urgency of the crisis, and will support programs making lasting impacts. Mark and Anne Marie will be tremendous assets to RIZE in our mission to turn the tide on this epidemic” said Dr. David Torchiana, CEO of Partners HealthCare and Chair of the RIZE Board of Directors.
As Senior Program Officer, Anne Marie Boursiquot King oversees the RIZE portfolio of grants and programs, managing overall grant operations, and will provide direction to the board of directors and advisors on program strategy, evaluation, and governance. She comes to RIZE from her own consulting practice focused on improving nonprofit capacity and foundation and funder impact. Prior to that, Ms. Boursiquot King was Managing Director of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation where she helped launch the organization in 2008, led several statewide initiatives, funded collaborations, and granted nearly $20 million to more than 350 organizations during her tenure. Ms. Boursiquot King holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Bentley College Graduate School of Business.


RIZE Massachusetts Awards First $300,0000 as Part of a $2.3 Million Two-Year Program to Improve Treatment and Recovery for People at Greatest Risk of Opioid Overdose

An estimated four percent of people in Massachusetts have an opioid use disorder and 2,107 people died of an overdose last year.

BOSTON – December 20, 2017 –   RIZE Massachusetts (RIZE), a state-wide philanthropic initiative, chose six organizations from a broad pool of applicants to receive $50,000 design grants for its inaugural Saving Lives, Improving Health: Redesigning Opioid Use Disorder Care program.

The goal of this grant program is to establish or expand systems of low threshold, on-demand treatment to prevent death, support long-term recovery, and improve health and quality of life. “These grants highlight the dedicated professionals in Brockton and all over the Commonwealth who are working on the frontlines of this crisis and who will help alleviate its devastating effects on our families and our communities,” said Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter.

The six grant recipients will collaborate with dozens of different agencies and organizations within their communities to provide a more comprehensive system of care that will serve the most vulnerable populations throughout the Commonwealth. “It’s quite clear there is enormous potential and energy in Massachusetts to address the opioid epidemic in a thoughtful, innovative, and evidence-generating manner. This first round of design grant recipients all have proven track records of taking on tough health care challenges with creativity, compassion and rigor,” said RIZE Board Chair David Torchiana, MD, President and CEO Partners HealthCare.

The six grant recipients are:

The grantees proposed promising approaches to delivering care for people at greatest risk of opioid overdose and addiction, including the use of medication assisted treatment. “We need a treatment model specifically focused on our rural geography and more resources to fight this crisis in Western MA.  This RIZE grant will provide a critical infusion of funds to the area,” said Center for Human Development President and CEO Jim Goodwin.

Executive Director Julie Burns said RIZE will evaluate the effectiveness of the design grants using shared measures and data protocols and will fund two-year implementation grants for the programs that demonstrate the greatest potential.  Implementation grants will be awarded in June 2018.

Learn more about our grant recipients.


 Executive Director Named

BOSTON — June 27, 2017 – RIZE MaJulie Burns photossachusetts, a new private sector-funded initiative dedicated to addressing substance use disorders, reducing deaths from the opioid epidemic and improving the lives of individuals and families who are affected by substance use disorders, has named Julie Burns as its Executive Director. Burns was selected by the Board of RIZE, which includes representatives from the health care, business, and advocacy community.

Julie Burns starts August 14, and comes to RIZE from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts where she has been Senior Director of Administration and Communications since 2013, with responsibility for communication strategy, strategic planning, and administration. Prior to joining BCBSMA in September 2010, Ms. Burns worked for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino in various roles, including deputy chief of staff, director of the Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events, president of the Fund for Boston Neighborhoods, and executive director of Boston 2004, Inc., the not-for-profit, non-partisan corporation created to organize Boston’s preparations for the Democratic National Convention. Her other professional experience includes positions at the law firm of Holland & Knight in the government affairs practice, the Dewey Square Group, a grassroots and communications consulting firm, and the United States Senate in the office of Senator Charles S. Robb (D-VA).

She is a member of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Office of Recovery Services Substance Use Prevention advisory board. Ms. Burns also serves on the boards of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Dress for Success Boston, and the John F. Kennedy Library New Frontier Network.

She received her bachelor of arts in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, has a graduate certificate in public relations from Emerson College, and has completed senior executive programs at Babson University, Bentley University, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

RIZE Massachusetts was launched March 28, 2017 at a gathering with 60 leaders from the health care, business, and advocacy community. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh each spoke at the event that was emceed by Jack Connors. The goal of RIZE is to raise $50 million to fund programs throughout Massachusetts that are informed by science, rigorous and evidence-based, and are able to be replicated.

Grants from RIZE will address the full continuum of substance use disorders from prevention to treatment to long-term sustainable recovery. The organization will focus its funding on specific areas where help is needed most.

In making the announcement of Julie Burns as Executive Director, RIZE Board Chair David Torchiana, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare said he was pleased that Burns would be leading the new organization. “Julie Burns’ background in health care, government, and non-profit advocacy will be a tremendous asset to RIZE. There is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all approach to treatment for substance use disorders. Evidence increasingly tells us that addiction is a chronic disease, and most individuals with substance use disorders have periods of relapse and recovery over many years,” said Dr. Torchiana.

“We believe that everyone in our community has been touched in some way by the opioid epidemic — family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors – and we all have a responsibility to get involved in solving this problem. Too many people are afraid to reach out for help for themselves or their family members, and they keep their addiction a secret because of stigma,” said Joanne Peterson, Founder and Executive Director of Learn to Cope, and a RIZE Board Member.

“The private sector must make the commitment to support RIZE: to help the communities in which we work end the senseless deaths of our friends and neighbors, and within our own families, while combating the stigma of addiction,” said David Barash, MD, Chief Medical Officer, GE Foundation, and a RIZE Board Member. “There’s a business imperative, too. Substance use disorders cost employers dearly in talent and lost productivity.”

RIZE Massachusetts expects to release its first request for funding proposals in the fall.