The First 1,000 Days

MARCH 27, 2017 – JUNE 30, 2020

Letter from our President and Board Chair

Dear Friends,

RIZE Massachusetts Foundation launched in 2017 through the enthusiastic collaboration of civic and private sector leaders, with a mandate to end the opioid overdose epidemic in Massachusetts. We aim for the aspirational goal of zero stigma, zero deaths.

In this impact report, we proudly present our first 1,000 days, as we continue our work to save the lives of the thousands of people who suffer from addiction in Massachusetts. From the early commitment of health care champions, CEOs, union leaders, and advocates, we continue to grow our network, including experts, people with lived experience, and the brightest minds in the academic, human services, and research communities, so that we can generate knowledge and fortify a statewide response.

To date, RIZE has invested over $7 million in nearly 70 organizations that have shown promising interventions. We have commissioned five research papers on topics ranging from the economic impact of the epidemic to stigma in health care. We have become a grass tops and grass roots convener on topics related to the opioid overdose epidemic.  

Read More

We strive for a nimble response to an ever-changing epidemic — which most recently was nearly eclipsed by the coronavirus pandemic as it coursed through Massachusetts. RIZE distributed COVID-19 rapid response grants totaling $700,000 to treatment providers and community organizations facing financial strain as they delivered suddenly socially distant services to the most vulnerable individuals living with addiction.

We also acknowledged, with open hearts, the role racism has historically played in our nation’s response to drug epidemics; disparities in access to treatment; and the disproportionate number of Black, Brown and low-income individuals that end up in the criminal legal system. Tackling the opioid overdose epidemic requires clear-eyed recognition of the social determinants and structural inequities that contribute to substance use and addiction. We are poised to meet this moment and already have research underway and grants in the pipeline.

In reflecting on our first 1,000 days, we also reflected on our purpose:

RIZE exists because five people in Massachusetts lose their lives to overdose every day. They are brothers and sisters, relatives and parents, neighbors and friends, and their deaths are unacceptable to us.

RIZE exists because the opioid overdose epidemic threatens the health of our communities and the growth of our economy.

RIZE exists to support promising initiatives, apply principles from the business community, and encourage novel ideas to advance our shared goal.

RIZE exists because we have the support of a broad coalition of donors — corporate, individual, and foundations — and we are grateful that they are in the fight.

RIZE exists because solving the opioid overdose crisis cannot be done alone.  We have learned that working together makes us smarter and stronger.

We have a lot of work ahead of us. We hope this report inspires you to join us for the next 1,000 days by supporting our work. With your help, there is hope.

In gratitude,

Julie Burns signature

Julie Burns

President & CEO

Steve Pollock signature

Steve Pollock

Board Chair


RIZE Highlights

March 28, 2017
December 2017
October 2018
November 2018
December 2018
January 2019
April 2019
July 2019
September 2019
November 2019
February 2020
March/April 2020
July 2020

March 28, 2017

Governor Charles Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Charlie Baker, Governor of MA, and Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston

RIZE is launched

RIZE is launched by corporate leaders, advocates, and elected officials with a mandate to end the opioid crisis and an aspirational goal: Zero stigma. Zero deaths.

“This effort holds promise because it is focused on the ongoing process of recovery. It is the only approach that will defeat this epidemic.” Founding Board Chair Dr. David Torchiana.

December 2017

Over $2M invested

Inaugural grants awarded

RIZE focuses its inaugural grant program, Saving Lives, Improving Health: Redesigning Opioid Use Disorder Care, on improving treatment and recovery for people at greatest risk of opioid overdose. The grantees will collaborate with dozens of different agencies and organizations within their communities to provide a more comprehensive system of care.

October 2018

The MX908 detects the possibility of presence of fentanyl in a drug sample tested at AHOPE.

The MX908 detects the possibility of presence of fentanyl in a drug sample tested at AHOPE. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Enabling Health: Enhancing Harm Reductions Services in Massachusetts

RIZE makes harm reduction a priority and invests over $1m in six organizations that are employing innovative practices to keep people safe and save lives.

November 2018

RIZE Board Member Kate Walsh participates in a panel at a MA Health Policy Forum event.

RIZE commissions studies on the economy and workforce

To raise awareness about the negative impact of the epidemic, RIZE partners with leading research institutions to quantify the strain of the opioid crisis on the Massachusetts economy and its cost to employers, health care providers, and state and municipal budgets.

Read the listicle, economy report, and workforce report.

December 2018

Strategic Framework created

To achieve its vision, RIZE believes it is crucial to adopt an approach that is both bold and nimble. Over 50 stakeholders participate in creating RIZE’s strategic framework to chart a course for the future.

Read the full report  →

January 2019

Themes that emerged from this research

RIZE commissions research on recovery coaches

Recovery coaches are part of an emerging transformation of systems and services addressing opioid use disorder. RIZE funds research that will identify opportunities and challenges related to the use of recovery coaches in different settings and will be useful to Massachusetts providers, payers, policymakers, state agencies, and researchers.

April 2019

Participants at the Together in Recovery statewide convening in Natick, MA (November 2019)                               

Together in Recovery: Supporting Informed Decisions statewide initiative

RIZE embarks on courageous conversations to bridge a philosophical divide and truly understand one another, find common ground, and move forward together. Together in Recovery: Supporting Informed Decisions is a statewide initiative that breaks down silos and promotes person-centered care. More on the outcome of this initiative will be released in late October 2020.

Read the Blueprint for Action →

July 2019

Stigma Survey with GE Foundation, Shatterproof, and MA Medical Society

RIZE, the GE Foundation, and Shatterproof partner with the Massachusetts Medical Society to gather insights and reactions from healthcare professionals with the goal of addressing and reducing the stigma associated with opioid use disorder. Report identifies several opportunities to encourage healthcare professionals to screen and treat patients with OUD.

Read the white paper →

September 2019

RIZE supports research to address the opioid crisis in Western Massachusetts

MA Health Policy Forum report details the unique challenges facing small and rural communities in the fight against opioids.

Read the report →

November 2019

Insights and Solutions research grants awarded

Insights and Solutions: Massachusetts Opioid Crisis grant program supports research that contributes to the evidence-base and advances public policy by identifying system-level and behavior-change level interventions. First awards are to the Boston Public Health Commission, Brandeis University, and Tufts School of Dental Medicine.

February 2020

RIZE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sarah Wakeman moderates a panel of experts.

RIZE hosts 4th Wave convening

Between 2017 and 2018, the rate of overdose deaths involving cocaine more than tripled and increased nearly five-fold for psychostimulants such as methamphetamine. In response to emerging trends, RIZE hosts a convening on the 4th Wave of the Opioid Crisis with experts and stakeholders.

March/April 2020

Rapid response grantees participate in a learning community on a Zoom meeting

Rapid response grantees participate in a learning community

Supporting the community during COVID-19

A recent study by the Addiction Policy Forum shows that 34% of the people with substance use disorder surveyed report changes or disruptions in accessing treatment or recovery support services since the onset of COVID-19. RIZE awards over $700,000 in rapid response grants to support addiction treatment organizations strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 2020

COVID-19 virus

COVID-19 research grants awarded

Research papers from Boston Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital will outline successes, challenges, and important lessons about addiction treatment learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to inform the field and empower others to act.

Read Sarah Wakeman’s blog post →


raised since 2017 in gifts ranging from $10 to $10,000,000

subject matter experts and people with lived experience served on our grant review committees


in investments to 60+ organizations

reports commissioned ranging from the impact of the overdose crisis on our economy to the drivers of stigma in the health care professions

convenings that RIZE has facilitated or participated in since 2017


of survey respondents found our convenings useful and timely. Our events have meaning.

map of Massachusetts



  • AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod
  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Boston Public Health Commission
  • Brandeis University
  • Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
  • Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Casa Esperanza
  • Center for Human Development
  • Charlestown HealthCare Center
  • City of Chelsea
  • City of Everett
  • City of Malden
  • City of Medford
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Municipal Naloxone Bulk Purchasing
  • Community Action Programs Inter-City, Inc.
  • Community Healthlink
  • Fenway Health
  • Fishing Partnership Support Support Services
  • Gavin Foundation
  • Geiger Gibson Community Health Center
  • Granada House
  • Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
  • Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center
  • Harbor Health Services
  • Health Resources in Action
  • Hope House
  • HRH413
  • Institute for Community Health
  • Interim House
  • Kraft Center for Community Health
  • Learn to Cope
  • Life Connection Center
  • Lynn Community Health Center
  • Malden Overcoming Addiction
  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Substance Use Disorder Initiative
  • Massachusetts Health Policy Forum at Brandeis University
  • Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery
  • Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation
  • Mattapan Community Health Center
  • Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Middlesex Human Services
  • New England Culinary Arts Training
  • New England User’s Union
  • New Health Charlestown
  • North Suffolk-Meridian House
  • Ostiguy High School: Action for Boston Community Development
  • Phoenix House
  • Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI)
  • Prisoners’ Legal Services Program
  • Recovery Research Institute
  • Rehabilitation & Health, Inc.
  • Rhode Island Hospital
  • Saint Francis House
  • Shatterproof
  • The Dimock Center
  • The FrameWorks Institute
  • The Philanthropic Initiative
  • The Phoenix
  • The Resource & Reclamation Center
  • Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
  • Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Victory Programs
  • Volunteers of America
…funders like RIZE are also changing the way we think about addiction treatment. RIZE’s focus on collaborative models that facilitate coordination among medical, behavioral and community organizations – like the addiction treatment program at Lynn Community Health Center – are highlighting the critical need for care that treats the many facets and effects of addiction.


Our Work

below we spotlight some of the projects where we’ve had the most impact over the last three years.

Investing in the Community

Since its inception, RIZE has invested over $7 million dollars in nearly 70 organizations across the Commonwealth. Our strategy is to address opioid use disorder (OUD) by gathering knowledge, informing policy, and supporting comprehensive treatment. The results will reduce the impact at all levels: on the individual, the family, the community, and the economy. We established our priorities: expand access to care, build the knowledge base, and widen our impact. 

We have a growing network of experts comprised of the brightest minds in the academic, health care, and research communities. We align the many promising initiatives already underway and invest in the most successful and innovative programs. We share all that we learn to inform policy and empower others to act.


spike in nonfatal drug overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic

(Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program)


of the people with substance use disorder surveyed reported changes or disruptions in accessing treatment or support services since the onset of COVID-19

(Addiction Policy Forum)


Covid-19 Rapid Response Grants

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded in Massachusetts, we reached out to our community partners and identified their most pressing challenges in maintaining access to treatment and recovery services in light of the pandemic. We made the decision to step forward with some much-needed, immediate relief.

On March 19, nine days after the state of emergency was announced, RIZE provided 25 of our community partners across the Commonwealth with one-time, rapid response grants totaling $205,000 to help support – and show gratitude for – our colleagues providing clinical and direct care to our most vulnerable populations under extremely challenging circumstances.

In April, we received a $250,000 grant from the Boston Resiliency Fund that we matched in full. We immediately awarded grants to local residential treatment providers who are using the funds to support staff, develop IT infrastructure to pivot to telehealth services, and increase sanitation measures.

We also funded two COVID-related research projects to document successes and challenges and describe the important lessons for future iterations of addiction care in Boston and elsewhere. By gathering this information, and helping to design and fund innovative solutions, RIZE provided unrestricted assistance during a time of tremendous uncertainty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for people in recovery and the frontline staff that supports them daily. This joint investment from the City of Boston and RIZE Massachusetts Foundation will allow us to directly help residential recovery programs support their frontline staff, as well as aid individuals still struggling on the street by promoting hygiene and connection to harm reduction and recovery services while promoting physical distancing.

Martin J. Walsh

Mayor of Boston

The purpose of this grant lands exactly on all of the current complicated spots right now; staffing, tech, cleaning, etc. We appreciate strong, thoughtful partners like RIZE Massachusetts and the City of Boston. We couldn’t begin to do what we’re trying to do without you.

Sarah Porter

Executive Director of Victory Programs

…because of RIZE Massachusetts’ generosity and leadership we were able to secure additional funds from private foundations that learned of our efforts. Also, we have been in communication with other nonprofits that support sober homes to ensure the resources are spread across several operators to assist their efforts to remain viable. This effort has pushed MA DPH to seek ways to continue the work started with RIZE funding. We thank you for your commitment to supporting individuals in their recovery.

John McGahan

President & CEO of the Gavin Foundation


of patients in this program being treated for OUD have unstable housing, and 39% are diagnosed with a mental illness


Saving Lives: Improving Health

The overdose epidemic cuts across every facet of our society. It endangers not just one person – or one type of person – but entire communities. Such a broad crisis requires an equally broad response, with collaboration from stakeholders across different sectors. This was the approach with our inaugural grant program, Saving Lives: Improving Health, Redesigning Opioid Use Disorder Care. The goals are to establish or expand a system of low-threshold community-based programs, provide on-demand access to short-term treatment and support for long-term treatment, and to improve health and quality of life for individuals who suffer from OUD. Fifty-nine percent of patients in this cohort have unstable housing and 39% are diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

The results to date are promising. The following data are from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, and Lynn Community Health Center. During the reporting period encompassing the last 18 months of the program, the grantees served a combined panel of 3,777 patients with OUD – a 20% increase from baseline. Of those patients, 1,297 (34%) were engaged in behavioral health care. Furthermore, 1,828 (48%) patients started medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), a 61% increase from baseline. For these patients engaged in MOUD, 55% were retained in treatment after six months and 48% were retained after 12 months.

*Recovery in this model is defined as abstinence from non-prescribed opioids

I want to say that another success of this grant has been that it has forced us really to use data in examining the cascade for this disease that we otherwise had never done before but always wanted to do. Winning this grant helped us put some resources in data collection and it’s a success just to be able to begin to look at and define a cascade for OUD.

Saving Lives Grantee

… bringing external dollars and philosophical support to this partnership has opened doors to programming that would otherwise be closed. We’ve been trying to expand in these ways for about two to three years before the grant happened without any money per se. … And we met with mostly just resistance and reluctance. And I think it took the money and this rock star philanthropic entity to support the concept. That’s what it took to get everybody to the table.

Saving Lives Grantee

Grantee Highlight: Statistics from Kraft Center Community Care in Reach (2018-19) 

contacts during mobile outreach

new syringes distributed

naloxone kits distributed


Enabling Health: Enhancing Harm Reduction in Massachusetts

We are relentless in our efforts to achieve our long-term goal of zero stigma, zero deaths. We are committed to using every tool available to solve the overdose crisis, and harm reduction is one of those tools. Harm reduction is a pragmatic and compassionate approach to prevent or lessen the harms associated with substance use and other high-risk behaviors. Delivered by skilled workers in a variety of program models, harm reduction helps people experiencing substance use disorders get the services and resources they need to survive.

In October 2018, we awarded over $1 million to six organizations across the Commonwealth that are enhancing low-threshold harm reduction services in our Enabling Health: Enhancing Harm Reduction program. Grants were awarded to AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, the Kraft Center for Community Health (Community Care in Reach), Fenway Health, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, HRH413, and Life Connection Center. These grantees successfully engage individuals who struggle with active addiction and provide services like syringe exchange, naloxone distribution, and treatment navigation services for OUD.

Effective treatment strategies must incorporate harm reduction interventions, yet lack of funding and ideological barriers have blocked broad implementation of these necessary interventions.

RIZE’s Dr. Sarah Wakeman and Julie Burns

discuss how Strategic Grantmaking Can Reduce Harm And Increase Hope in Health Affairs Grant Watch

The fatal overdose rate for Black men and women and Hispanic men rose between 2018 and 2019, while decreasing for white men and women, and Hispanic women.

What's Ahead

Innovations in Anti-Racism Grant

Tackling the overdose epidemic requires recognition of the social determinants and structural inequities that contribute to substance use and addiction. It also requires acknowledgment of the racial and ethnic inequalities in our nation’s response to past drug epidemics, disparities in access to treatment, and the disproportionate number of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people and low-income individuals that end up in the criminal justice system.

According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, attention to the overdose epidemic has focused primarily on white suburban and rural communities. And the 2017 Massachusetts State Health Assessment Report found that Black non-Hispanic and Hispanic individuals are less likely to complete treatment than white non-Hispanics because the differences in economic resources and experiences with social services may place racial/ethnic minorities at a disadvantage in terms of meeting the demands of a structured treatment program.

In October, RIZE will award grants through an exciting new program – Innovations in Anti-Racism to Address the Opioid Crisis. Our vision is that this program will have meaningful and positive results in reducing racism and improving access to evidence-based addiction treatment by reducing the stigma and structural barriers faced by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people.

Increasing the Evidence-base

RIZE supports rigorously designed quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research that yields convincing findings and directly tests the impact of programmatic or policy interventions on OUD care. This includes the development and dissemination of new research that will contribute to the evidence base and advance public policy by identifying system-level considerations that can have impactful, long-term effects.
RIZE has commissioned five reports ranging from the impact of the opioid overdose crisis on our economy to the drivers of stigma in the health care professions.

Only 11% of people aged 12 or older who needed substance use treatment received treatment at a specialty facility in the past year.


Only 1 in 10 emergency medicine providers found caring for patients with OUD satisfying, and only 25% of providers received training on addiction during medical education.

(Shatterproof report)

Many doctors untrained, unwilling to treat opioid addiction.”

Boston Business Journal, July 2019


Survey on Stigma in the Health Care Professions

To address stigma in the healthcare professions, RIZE, the GE Foundation, and Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the course of the addiction crisis, collaborated on a year-long, Massachusetts-wide project, “Opportunities to Increase Screening and Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder among Healthcare Professionals.” The goal was to understand and identify opportunities to overcome stigmas that prevent certain healthcare providers from screening and treating patients with OUD and close the treatment gap. The research found that stigma associated with OUD extends to the provider community, where a minority of providers are trained in addiction, find treating OUD satisfying, or want to work with OUD patients.

The insights and learning were used to identify concrete opportunities for stigma-reduction programs and behavior change interventions across and within medical specialties to increase screening and treatment of OUD.

It hit me that it's very likely that many of us within the past five to 10 years have not been trained to screen for substance use disorder, to treat substance use disorder and to provide ongoing care for this medical condition. That lack of comfort caring for patients with substance use disorder struck me.

Dr. Maryanne Bombaugh

Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Medical Society and a practicing OB-GYN in Falmouth discussing the RIZE-funded survey on stigma in the health care professions


in lost productivity in Massachusetts from people unable to work, foregone income due to fatalities, absenteeism and presenteeism, and excess health care costs

estimated number of people that opioids kept from participating in the labor force every year for the last seven years


of people with OUD are full-time employees and 37% are on their employers’ insurance

MA Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel gives an overview of the opioid overdose epidemic at the launch of MA Health Policy Fourm report on workforce.

Economic Impact Studies

Two reports commissioned by RIZE showed that the overdose epidemic is taking a profound toll on the Commonwealth’s economy, workforce, and state budget. The reports, the first of their kind in Massachusetts, also provided recommendations on how employers can help employees with opioid addiction by increasing access to treatment and recovery. The reports were released in forums attended by over 400 people and received wide media attention.

I really appreciate the work you did on this report because you took really complicated information and data and made it a lot easier for people to understand. There are charts in here that are incredibly compelling about the momentum and the brutality of this issue. The economic consequences are huge, but let’s not forget that the human consequences associated with this are far bigger and every bit as important.

Charlie Baker

Governor of Massachusetts, speaking about The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic: An Issue of Substance

Every day, I meet grandparents raising grandchildren and I continue to respond to letters from parents who have lost loved ones to this disease. We know so many families are directly impacted by this crisis. But this report for the first time shows us that we are all impacted and paying for this crisis when you look at the lost productivity and cost to our public and private health system, criminal justice system, etc.

Maura Healey

Attorney General of Massachusetts

Our economy and workforce are strong today, but the opioid overdose epidemic is having an increasingly negative impact on our businesses, employees, and state budget. Over time, these impacts will threaten our financial stability and ability to compete in the global marketplace. The results of these reports make the case that businesses should create recovery-friendly workplaces that will save lives and contribute to ending the human and economic toll caused by this epidemic.

Julie Burns

President and CEO of RIZE Massachusetts

What's Ahead

Investigator-Led Research

RIZE is exploring the effect race and ethnicity have on the overdose epidemic. Well-documented research demonstrates that Black, Brown, and Indigenous people have an especially hard time accessing care, due to many different social determinants of health as well as stigma. In September 2019, RIZE launched a new grant program, Insights and Solutions: Addressing the Massachusetts Opioid Crisis, for investigator-led research projects aimed at positively affecting the epidemic.

Through this program, RIZE is funding a research collaboration between the Boston Public Health Commission, the Institute for Community Health, and Boston Medical Center to examine the experiences and service-seeking behaviors of ethnically/racially diverse Boston residents in the thirty days following an opioid overdose. This research will promote a better understanding of the factors that influence access to treatment and identify opportunities for systems change, including the promotion of health equity.

A project led by Brandeis University is exploring how isolated physician networks can negatively impact care coordination and information sharing among physicians. The goal is to identify system-level factors associated with the development and sustaining of buprenorphine prescribing in a community, in particular structural properties of prescriber patient-sharing networks in which waivered physicians are embedded, and how these properties vary in relation to community demographics including racial/ethnic makeup.

These papers will be presented to the field in 2021.

Bringing People Together

Big challenges are often best addressed by going beyond traditional or defined boundaries and by thinking outside the box. They require gathering otherwise disconnected ideas and outcomes to cross-pollinate or provide evidence for one approach over another. RIZE is serving as the identifier, initiator, and integrator of solutions that could exponentially increase impact across the Commonwealth and beyond by bringing together business, healthcare, and community leaders in a coordinated effort to address the opioid overdose epidemic.

RIZE has played a leading role in forums and events, grantee learning communities, and educational presentations in Massachusetts and across the country. Our leadership team serves on several commissions, task forces, and work groups.

hospitals committed to mandatory trainings and to increasing the number of providers who obtain their buprenorphine waiver


Boston Teaching Hospitals Learning Community

RIZE and the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine have been co-convening Boston and Cambridge hospitals in a learning community to address the recommendations sited in our report on stigma in the healthcare professions. Over a dozen hospitals committed to mandatory trainings for all hospital-based emergency physicians, hospitalists, obstetricians, psychiatrists, adolescent pediatricians, infectious disease specialists, primary care providers, and internal medicine residents who are not able to prescribe buprenorphine, a potentially life-saving medication for OUD. These hospitals also committed to increasing the number of above listed providers who obtain their buprenorphine waiver so that they can prescribe this medication to those who need it.

people attended 8 regional meetings for Together in Recovery, representing employers, unions, the justice system, people in recovery, the faith community, legislators, and more


Together in Recovery

Another RIZE initiative that is working to expand access to OUD treatment and address inequities in our healthcare delivery system is Together in Recovery: Supporting Informed Decisions (TiR). This Commonwealth-wide initiative seeks to address the philosophical divides that exist in the treatment of OUD, with the main divide seen as that between medication treatment and abstinence-based treatment. The goal is to promote an integrated treatment and recovery community in Massachusetts that champions evidence-based approaches, supports multiple pathways to recovery, and promotes person-centered care. The initiative is the first of its kind in Massachusetts and it challenges the longstanding, institutional misconceptions about treatment and recovery as well as establishes common ground among stakeholders.

TiR is steered by a “Change Team” of diverse influencers, who span peer, clinical, policy, family, and community roles. As key stakeholders, the Change Team is constructing the vision for TiR that will drive future transformation across communities. During this project, RIZE convened eight regional meetings and one Commonwealth-wide meeting to discuss the many challenges associated with the treatment of OUD with diverse groups of stakeholders. Over 300 people attended these meetings and represented employers, unions, the justice system, people in recovery, the faith community, legislators, and more. We heard about the barriers that exist for both people seeking treatment and those in long-term recovery, such as lack of access to care and community supports, the presence of stigma, and a lack of information about treatment options. This is particularly true for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, rural communities, and individuals who have low income.

I appreciated how the conversations during TiR were consistently facilitated in a thoughtful and focused manner. When in a large group with many stakeholders, I think it's easy to get off course and personally, I can get overloaded with information about who's doing what, what's working, what's not, where gaps in care continue to be etc.... the way in which C4 guided conversations and pulled together themes from regional meetings in particular, I found to be valuable. While it can be challenging to step away from the everyday work, hearing many perspectives allowed me to examine my own mental models and expanded my understanding of what barriers we are facing as a state to solve the issue of substance use disorder.

Sydney Durand

The Phoenix

What more can I say about the RIZE Change Team experience. The team of individuals and agencies RIZE put together was unbelievable. Not only did this group bring every perspective into each conversation, it came up with solutions to better serve everyone. The regional meetings across the state, that has never been done, let all of us really be able to view the challenges that are being faced throughout every population. It was eye opening because I know inside and out the challenges that we face in my community, but to be able to hear the same challenges happening somewhere else with a different solution, has equipped me to utilize so many different models of Recovery. I cannot think of any difficulties there were being apart of this Change Team, except I wish we could continue working together with all of the other agencies.

Tori Cyrus

City of Everett Fire Department

Other RIZE convenings 2017-2020

RIZE’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sarah Wakeman leads a panel discussion at a RIZE forum titled Polysubstance Use – 4th Wave of the Opioid Crisis: What does it mean for Massachusetts? February 2020

EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders gives keynote at a RIZE forum titled Polysubstance Use – 4th Wave of the Opioid Crisis: What does it mean for Massachusetts? February 2020

RIZE board member Joanne Peterson and co-panelists Daryl McGraw and Steven Samra share their personal stories the RIZE’s Together in Recovery Statewide convening. November 2019

Anne Marie Boursiquot King, Senior Program Officer at RIZE chats with Vivian Li at the Sharing Solutions—Massachusetts Opioids and the Workforce Program. Co-hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and RIZE. September 2019

RIZE board members Dr. David Barash and Joanne Peterson tour the South Riverdale Community Health Centre harm reduction program as part of a fact-finding trip to Toronto, Canada. June 2019

Nineequa Blanding, former Director of Health and Wellness at the Boston Foundation moderates a panel at a RIZE/Boston Foundation event: Confronting the Opioid Crisis in Massachusetts. March 2019

Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts, speaking about The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic: An Issue of Substance report at a Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation Forum. November 2018

Dr. David Torchiana of Partners HealthCare and Martha Temple of Optum Behavioral Health discuss what’s working and what’s needed to end the opioid epidemic at a Washington Post Live event. February 2018

Drs. Myechia Minter Jordan and Sarah Wakeman talk with Boston Foundation donors and others about how a collective effort might target the opioid overdose epidemic spanning prevention to treatment. November 2017

What's Ahead

Keeping People Together – and Safe

We’ve already begun Phase II of Together in Recovery and the original Change Team has morphed into an advisory committee that continues to meet. We’ll be launching several initiatives, like a Know Your Rights toolkit and myth busting video very soon and expect those to spark community conversations. Our learning communities go on, although remotely, and our grantees and stakeholders are committed to sharing best practices and learning from one another. We’re dedicated to convening people in a responsible way until we can be together again in person.

The collection of resources will launch in late October.

DOJ warned us to be ready for more stimulants and for poly-substance use and I have been spreading the word, but people don’t know how to prepare. This discussion was crucial.

Attendee at RIZE forum on the emergence of stimulants


Thank you to all of our donors.

inaugural donors


Donors List

  • Jared Annello
  • Anonymous
  • Susan Ascher
  • Bank of America
  • George D. Bell
  • Bentall Kennedy
  • Beverly J. Brogna
  • Kyle Brownell
  • Thomas Burr
  • Julie Callanan
  • Anthony Carli
  • CBRE Group, Inc.
  • Renessa Ciampa
  • City of Boston Resiliency Fund
  • Donna Clark
  • Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc.
  • Paul Coyle
  • Michael P. Currivan
  • Gary Davidson
  • Helaine Davis
  • Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates, Inc.
  • DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement
  • Joe Dilley
  • Susan Drabick
  • Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
  • Encore Boston Harbor
  • Falmouth Jewish Congregation
  • Fidelity Charitable
  • Foundation & Marine Contractors Association
  • Leslie Franssen
  • Ralph Fuccillo
  • Gayle Fulks
  • Wendy Georgan
  • Meryl M. Golden
  • Michael Haigis
  • Aisha Hakim
  • Margaret Hartnett
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
  • Serena Hon
  • Constance Horgan
  • Nora Hussey-Brennan
  • Income Research + Management
  • Susan Jarvis
  • Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, P.C.
  • John Hancock Financial Services
  • Cheryl Johnson
  • James B. Jones, M.D.
  • Nina Jordan
  • J. P. Norton Family Trust
  • Valerie King
  • Korn Ferry
  • Jason Krantz
  • Ashley Latta
  • Sheila Lemke
  • Ross Levanto
  • Linde Family Foundation
  • Michael Marquis
  • Georgia Mavrommati
  • Mary Clare McGraw
  • Julie Michaud
  • Deborah Micklos
  • Peter Modest
  • Diane Montgomery
  • Julia Morin
  • Ariel Mullen
  • Steven Napolitano
  • P&G Gillette
  • Lauren Pak
  • Christopher Palermo
  • Vanessa C. Parks
  • People’s United Bank
  • Scott Pike
  • Steven and Susan Pollock
  • Marsha G. Presser
  • Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation
  • Jennifer Robinson
  • Susan Robinson
  • David Rosenberg
  • Howard Rosenblatt
  • Joel Rosenthal
  • Alexander Roy
  • James Rubin
  • Thomas P. Schmitt
  • Francis Senner-Hurley
  • Casey Sewall
  • Betty Shea
  • State Street Foundation
  • Gabriella Maria Tagliaferro
  • Michael Tang, M.D.
  • The AmerisourceBergen Foundation
  • The Baupost Group, L.L.C.
  • The Boston Foundation
  • The Vertex Foundation
  • David Torchiana, M.D.
  • Tufts Health Plan Foundation
  • Mark Walsh and Bryan Raffanelli
  • Leslie Warner-Maloney
  • Elizabeth Zaretsky


board & staff

RIZE Massachusetts Foundation is led by some of the most highly respected leaders in health care, addiction care, business, and labor.

Board of Directors

David Barash, MD

GE Foundation

Ken Casey

Dropkick Murphys

Jack Connors

The Connors Family Office

Andrew Dreyfus

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Tim Foley


Reshma Kewalramani, MD


Joanne Peterson

Learn to Cope

Steve Pollock, Chair


Joy Rosen, MS

Massachusetts General Hospital

Michael Tang, MD, MBA

Dimock Center

Kate Walsh

Boston Medical Center

Julie Burns, ex officio

RIZE Massachusetts


Julie Burns

President & CEO

Gail C. Favreau

Director of Development

Anne Marie Boursiquot King

Senior Program Officer

Sarah Wakeman, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Abigail Hevert, LICSW

Program & Development Officer

Sharim Shoman

Executive Assistant & Office Manager

2019 Financials


Financial Position Chart



990 Form


Join us in helping thousands of people and families across Massachusetts.

By supporting RIZE, we can exponentially increase our impact on the opioid epidemic across the Commonwealth. We’re only limited by the funds we raise. 

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