RIZE Massachusetts Announces Two New Board Members, Recipient of Joanne Peterson Award

December 12, 2023

BOSTON (Dec. 12, 2023) – RIZE Massachusetts, an independent nonprofit foundation solely dedicated to funding and creating solutions to end the overdose crisis, today announced the appointment of John Cook and Candace Reddy to its Board of Directors. RIZE also announced that The Sun Will Rise Foundation has received the Joanne Peterson Award honoring nonprofit organizations for their dedication to improving lives affected by the overdose crisis.

Cook is senior vice president of wealth management in the Boston office of financial services firm UBS. Reddy is chief of staff to the CEO and senior vice president for government & regulatory affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

RIZE also announced the board reappointments of Jack Connors, the founder and former CEO of ad agency Hill Holliday, and Patricia Ma, executive vice president and chief legal officer at the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. Connors was a founding board member of RIZE when it was established in 2017, while Ma joined the board in 2022.

“RIZE has come a long way and made significant progress in our fight against the overdose epidemic and our efforts to end stigma around substance use disorder treatment,” said RIZE Board Chair Steve Pollock, President of DentaQuest, part of Sun Life U.S. “Our board will be well-served by the energy, experience and perspectives of our new board members, John and Candace, along with the continued service and strategic guidance of Jack and Patty.”

Cook joined UBS in 2016 following a career in campaign finance, strategy and budget operations. He worked for many years at the U.S. Department of Energy and the Pentagon, finishing his federal service as a senior advisor and director at the National Nuclear Security Administration. He previously served as a financial strategist and budget manager on a number of high-level political campaigns, and led the transition committee for the Baker-Polito Administration.

Cook has been a board member of Gosnold Behavioral Health, a longtime provider of behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment on Cape Cod, and The BASE, a nonprofit in Roxbury that uses the power of sports to engage youth. He graduated from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

Reddy has more than 15 years of executive-level management experience in the public and private sectors. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the largest private health plan in the state, she leads the executive office and serves as the CEO’s liaison to key internal and external stakeholders.

Reddy previously served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as assistant secretary for health care finance in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, playing a leadership role in the state’s work to implement the Affordable Care Act. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business and an MBA in finance from Clark University.

Joanne Peterson Award

RIZE’s Board of Directors created the Joanne Peterson Award in 2022 in recognition of Peterson’s many contributions as a devoted leader in the peer-led support community, including as a founding board member and through the work of her organization, Learn to Cope. The annual award provides a one-time grant of $25,000 to the recipient.

This year’s award to The Sun Will Rise Foundation will have transformative effect on the organization, which focuses on providing free peer grief support for those experiencing the loss of a loved one to overdose. The organization plans to expand and tailor services to meet the needs of diverse populations, increase training and materials for peer support volunteers, increase public awareness of services, establish enhanced tools for data-driven decision making, reduce stress on fundraising, and focus efforts on furthering its positive impact on the lives of people who are bereaved due to loss related to substance use.

“The Sun Will Rise is a small nonprofit with a big heart, making a meaningful difference for people going through the most painful and vulnerable time as they mourn their loved ones,” said Julie Burns, President and CEO of RIZE Massachusetts. “We are proud to present the Joanne Peterson Award to an organization that embodies her values of care, compassion and hope.”

About RIZE Massachusetts 

RIZE Massachusetts Foundation is solely dedicated to funding and creating solutions to end the overdose crisis.  Guided by those with lived experience and unafraid of new ideas, RIZE is building networks, designing programming, and supporting community partners who are using novel approaches to preventing overdose and increasing access to treatment.  Learn more at www.rizema.org.