Newell Flather, an impactful philanthropist and a steadfast friend to Lowell’s immigrant community, died last week. Newell was the founder of GMA Foundations, and he was also widely recognized for his early work in creating new community foundations throughout New England, including the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.

Newell grew up in Lowell within a family with a deep tradition of valuing immigrants. In 1961, he was in the first group of individuals to join the Peace Corps, teaching high school in Ghana. Later, among his many charitable offices, he served as president of the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation, whose mission is to make effective grants that broadly benefit the City of Lowell and the diversity of its residents. The foundation’s board president observed, “Newell’s life has been one of engaging with other cultures.”

IINE honored Newell Flather as a “Revitalization Leader” at our Lowell 100 event in 2019, and under Newell’s leadership, the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation has generously supported the International Institute of New England (IINE) and many other organizations in Lowell. “Newell brought profound insight and passion about how to invest in Lowell and its people,” said Jeff Thielman, IINE’s President and CEO. “On a personal level, he was a good friend and mentor.”

IINE is grateful for Newell’s many contributions to Lowell, and we send our sincerest sympathies to his family.