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.
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.
“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,” Davis family representative Laurel Ferretti said. “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 earned a master’s degree in social work and, prior to joining the Davis Foundation, served as CEO of the Mental Health Assoc.
“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,” Walachy said. “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 her leadership, the foundation created several signature programs, including Cherish Every Child, the nationally-recognized Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative, and the Funder Collaborative for Reading Success, as well as the establishment of Springfield Business Leaders for Education and the launch of Educare Springfield.