Benchmark Donates to Governor’s Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund

Hosts Luncheon to Thank First Responders and Volunteers
for Dedication During Gas Crisis

Relief charity check

Over 11,000 requests for assistance have come in since Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker established the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund in September. To help the more than 10,000 households and businesses affected by the gas explosion crisis, Benchmark, a leading provider of senior living and aging-well services in the Northeast, today announced the donation of $2,500 to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund to help those in need.

In October, at a special thank-you luncheon for first responders and volunteers held at Benchmark’s Ashland Farm at North Andover community, Benchmark presented a check to the Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), which administers the Fund. Crystal Bates, ECCF’s director of development and communications, accepted the donation. “When tragedy strikes our friends and neighbors, it’s incredible to see how the business community rallies around them. ECCF is so grateful for Benchmark’s support, which will have a big impact now and in the coming weeks and months as the individuals and families affected by the fires work to rebuild their lives.”

Nearly 50 firefighters, policemen, emergency medical technicians, town officials, Columbia Gas representatives and Ashland Farm residents attended the luncheon. Ashland Farm executive director, Fran Walker, thanked attendees for their work throughout the crisis and their continued efforts in getting area residents back into their homes.

“We were humbled at the invitation from Ashland Farm to their luncheon honoring our greater Lawrence community first responders,” says Sheila Doiron, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts director of communications and community relations. “We also would like to add our thanks to our local police and firefighters for all they have done and continue to do for the Greater Lawrence community.”

Although Ashland Farm was fortunate to have experienced minimal impact from the incident, many of its associates were affected. The associates were able to apply for grants from Benchmark’s One Company Fund, which provides grants to associate-applicants in times of financial setback. Over the last 11 years, the One Company Fund has provided $1.6 million in grant assistance to nearly 1,000 Benchmark associates affected by natural disaster, personal tragedy and other unexpected challenges.

“Providing assistance to our associates, friends and neighbors in the communities we serve during times of need is an important part of our mission to elevate human connection,” says Tom Grape, chairman and CEO of Benchmark. “It’s been heartwarming to see everyone come together during this time, and we look forward to being an integral part of the recovery effort and doing what we can to help ensure everyone is safe and gets back into their home.”

About Benchmark
Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark is a leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark operates 58 senior living communities offering independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and continuing care in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The organization this year was selected by Fortune magazine for its inaugural 2018 Best Workplaces for Aging Services list, taking the number 16 spot on the list of top 40 senior housing companies and ranking third among companies with more than 40 communities. Benchmark has been named to The Boston Globe Top Places to Work every year of the 11 years the list has been published. And it has been consistently recognized by Boston Business Journal, Hartford Courant and Hartford Journal as a top workplace and by the Boston Business Journal and Providence Business News as one of the healthiest employers. Click here for more information.

Press Contact: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications,, (603) 502-0469.

Ashland Farm at North Andover