Newsmakers: A lifetime achievement, a promotion and more

Editor’s note: Newsmakers is a new weekly feature spotlighting accomplishments of Newton community members, businesses and organizations.

PAARI names Newton’s Maureen Bilek as chief development officer

The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative has appointed Maureen Bilek to the role of Chief Development Officer.

The position, a first of its kind at PAARI, carries the responsibility of planning and managing philanthropic giving and fundraising for state and national initiatives.

Bilek brings 13 years of experience with Advocate Health Care in Illinois, where she served as their director of Government Grants & Program Development. She has led system-wide initiatives including philanthropic strategy for 27 hospitals and secured an impressive $100 million in grant funding throughout her tenure.

She also spearheaded Advocate’s Opioid Use Disorder Program and secured funding to open its inaugural Medication-Assisted Treatment Clinic in Chicago.

Maureen Bilek, chief development officer for PAARI. Courtesy Photo

William James College hosts law enforcement autism response collaboration event

The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism recently partnered with the William James College Center for Crisis Response and Behavioral Health to host a Law Enforcement & Autism Co-Response Collaboration on April 3, at the start of Autism Acceptance Month.

The program is designed to help local law enforcement officers, first responders, co-response clinicians and autism providers expand their knowledge of best practices for working with people with autism and their families.

Willaim James College in Newton hosted collaborative training event for law enforcement and autism care providers on April 3, 2024. Courtesy Photo

Jimmy Fund Walk gives Newton native Lifetime Achievement Award

Newton native David Thau, who now lives in Washington, D.C., has received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his efforts in the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai. Thauamong a select group of awardees recognized for their fundraising and commitment in the 35th Jimmy Fund Walk event, held this past October.

And 2023 was a record-breaking year for the Jimmy Fund Walk, as the fundraising has officially surpassed $9.4 million. More than 8,400 walkers and 700 volunteers came together for the event. Among them was Thau, who has been walking since 2020.

Thau was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in June of 2019 at age 34 and was treated by Dr. Kimmie Ng, and Thau and has since established a named fund under her leadership to further support the Young-Onset Colorectal Center.

Thau was the top fundraiser for the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Jimmy Fund Walk.

“It is truly remarkable to see the dedication of individuals who have invested their time, passion, and energy in supporting this event, furthering critical research at Dana-Farber,” said Suzanne Fountain, vice president of the Jimmy Fund. “David has demonstrated his commitment to defy cancer and exemplifies the spirit of this event. We are proud to honor David with the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award to recognize all he does for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund.”

David Thau, second from left, was recently give a Lifetime Achievement Award for Fundraising from the Jimmy Fund. Pictured left to right: Thau’s mother Sandy, Thau and his wife, Lisbeth, , Lisbeth, pushing their daughter, Shira; and Thau’s father, Richard. Courtesy photo

Newport Restaurant Group Donates $64,000 to local nonprofits

Newport Restaurant Group, a group of restaurants in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, has donated $64,000 to local nonprofits as a result of its annual year-round gift card program, exceeding last year’s fundraising total by more than $4,000.

Through the program, $2 from every gift card purchase is donated to area nonprofits fighting food insecurity. Since the program’s inception in 2019, more than $214,000 has been distributed to local agencies. 

The 2023 recipients include the Brookline Food Pantry,  The Food Project, and Centre Street Food Pantry in Newton.

“Centre Street Food Pantry is so thankful to Newport Restaurant Group and their Watertown Bar ‘Cino team for their generous financial donation,” Taylor Lies, President of the Board of Directors at The Centre Street Pantry, said.  “I was so impressed with their dedication to local communities, and it is clear they share Centre Street’s values of kindness, service and gratitude. Their donation will have an immediate impact in our local communities where, sadly, food insecurity continues to rise.” 

The 2024 gift card program is ongoing and gift cards can be purchased at any NRG property or online at  

Taylor Lies, president of the Board of Directors at the Centre Street Pantry, left, discusses the initiatives Newport Restaurant Group’s donation will support with Bryan Parkin, General Manager at Bar ‘Cino Watertown (in brown) at a recent service day at the pantry. Photo courtesy of Newport Restaurant Group