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Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation Awards $20,000 to Nonprofit Leader

October 20, 2022
Featured from left to right: Mike Kuza, community relations and Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation officer, Maureen Winkler Belger, foundation relations officer of Dignity Matters Inc., Kate Sanetra-Butler, founder and executive director of Dignity Matters, Inc., Mike McAuliffe, chairman, president & CEO of Middlesex Savings Bank. 

Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation has named Kate Sanetra-Butler, founder and executive director of Dignity Matters, Inc., its 2022 John R. Heerwagen Award recipient. The Foundation awarded a one-time grant of $20,000 to Sanetra-Butler to be used in a manner that she believes will benefit her organization.
Established in 2016, the John R. Heerwagen Award recognizes a strong, nonprofit leader whose work has significantly benefited the lives and wellbeing of residents within the Foundation's community. It reflects the support that John R. Heerwagen, former CEO of Middlesex Savings Bank, provided to the Foundation and its efforts to help strengthen local nonprofits and his belief in the importance of developing and recognizing strong leaders.
Dignity Matters provides free monthly menstrual care and undergarments to 14,000 women and girls who are homeless or living in poverty, helping them manage their periods with dignity so they may attend school and work and live full, healthy lives. The organization, founded by Sanetra-Butler in 2016, fills a needed void as menstrual care is expensive, rarely donated to shelters and food pantries, and not covered by federal assistance programs.
Sanetra-Butler’s leadership has paved the way for critical collaborations that allow the organization to reach women in need. She worked with South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) to coordinate distribution of products to the women it serves. She initiated a similar collaboration with Catie’s Closet, which serves more than 40 public schools in areas of great need around Boston and Merrimack Valley. Today, the organization partners monthly with over 170 nonprofits.
Additionally, Sanetra-Butler has become a voice for change on the issue of period poverty. She has worked with numerous legislators and been an advocate of the I AM Bill (H.1959/S.1274) – the Act to Increase Access to disposable Menstrual Products In Prisons, Homeless Shelters and Public Schools.
“I am humbled and thankful to be selected for this award and to be recognized for my leadership in fighting period poverty in Massachusetts,” said Kate Sanetra-Butler. “As I stop and reflect on the incredible number of women we have helped, I believe our success boils down to staying focused on our core mission and creating a scalable and efficient operation based on strong logistics and lean management. By pairing this with the time, energy and support the team, volunteers and donors gave, we’ve built an organization and a model of support that we can all be proud of.”
by Middlesex Savings Bank