Barr Fellows 2015 gardening

Three Barr Fellows Named Among State’s Top Innovators

The Boston Globe names Lyndia Downie, Bill Walczak, and Margarita Muñiz to prestigious list.

This weekend, three Barr Fellows were named to a list of Massachusetts’ top innovators in a Boston Globe feature of those “representing the best the state has to offer in creativity industry and innovation.” All three are members of the Class of 2007.

Lyndia Downie tops the list of nonprofit innovators for her work at Pine Street Inn. In particular she is credited for recognizing that the shelter’s most needy residents—the chronically homeless—were using the most resources but not getting sufficient help to leave Pine Street. By reducing the number of emergency beds and putting more resources into permanent housing, Downie and her team have contributed to a reduction of Boston’s homeless population by 30%.

Runner-up in the nonprofit category is Bill Walczak. Now president of Carney Hospital, Walczak is recognized for his three decades as co-founder and executive director of Codman Square Health Center, which the Globe describes as proof positive that “quality medicine can be delivered sustainably in one of Boston’s most deprived communities.” The Health Center regularly serves 20,000 patients a year in a beautiful facility, now planning a $14-million new wing.

Finally, in the education category the Globe named Margarita Muñiz, who has served nearly three decades as the principal of the “premier dual-language school in Massachusetts” Boston’s Rafael Hernandez School. The Globe points out that the school has grown so popular that more than 200 students are on its waitlist.

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