Matthew Swartz grew up in Swampscott and resides there now with his wife Allison, who teaches yoga at the North Shore Jewish Community Center, and their 14-year-old son Jesse.
He serves on Lappin Foundation’s Board of Directors because he strongly supports its missions, especially Youth to Israel Adventure (Y2I) and its trip to Israel for high school students. “It’s so important to get these teenagers to Israel at a young age; Y2I helps them develop their Jewish identity,” he said.
In the late 1990s, Matthew owned Matteo’s, a Newton restaurant which featured Mediterranean Italian cuisine. After he sold it, he helped create a teen violence prevention program in Franklin Field, Dorchester called Youth Link. He arranged for Home Depot to build a kitchen in the housing development so he could teach these at risk high schoolers how to cook and eventually get jobs in restaurants “instead of hanging on the streets and running the risk of getting into trouble with law enforcement. Youth link over 10 years lowered teen violence by 85%, which was a huge victory for our program,” Matthew said. Unfortunately, COVID resulted in the program’s closing.
Matthew now focuses his time on philanthropic and volunteer work. He is chair of the fundraising, nominating and gala committees at the Jewish Journal and serves on the North Shore Jewish Community Center Board of Directors. For several years, he served on CJP’s North Shore board.
His first involvement with Lappin Foundation was through his son’s friend, who went to Israel with Y2I, and then two more times as a counselor, and he couldn’t stop talking about how rewarding the experiences were. Matthew had also read articles about Lappin Foundation and its programs in the Jewish Journal. When Howard Rich, a close friend who also serves on Lappin Foundation and Jewish Journal boards, introduced Matthew to Sarah Ovadia, the Foundation’s Development Director, he started donating to the Foundation.
As a board member Matthew’s highest priority is to help raise money for Lappin Foundation’s many programs that support its mission, especially its cornerstone Y2I trips to Israel. He believes the Foundation’s greatest strength is its leadership. “We should all support Lappin Foundation because of its unique missions and amazing leaders,” he said.