Sophy Theam during her speech
When IINE celebrated its historic 100-year anniversary in Lowell earlier this year, one of the event’s top sponsors, Enterprise Bank, decided that a donation alone wasn’t enough. The series of events that led to Enterprise Bank becoming more than a fiscal sponsor of the celebration began months earlier.
In 2018, when IINE started planning the celebration, a community-based steering committee was organized to make sure the history and personality of Lowell was represented. As part of the year-long centennial celebration, IINE invited the greater Lowell community to help identify 100 of the most admirable leaders from Lowell’s immigrant community as well as locally-born Lowellians who have supported new Americans. In time, the anniversary party became known as The Lowell 100 Celebration.
From the beginning, it was evident that the Lowellian-founded Enterprise Bank would be part of this special celebration. The bank initially supported the project with a generous sponsorship and followed up with the sweat equity and volunteer work of some of the bank’s top executives.
George Duncan and Enterprise team
To make the ambitious feat of honoring 100 Lowellians possible, Enterprise Banks’s Sophy Theam, Diversity & Inclusion and Leadership Program Specialist, led the committee of dedicated volunteers to nominate, research, and select the honorees. Their work over nine months helped identify noteworthy immigrants and advocates in seven fields: Civic Leadership, Faith, Education, Health & Wellness, Arts & Culture, Welcoming & Inclusion, and Lowell Revitalization. Together, the honorees represent immigrants and descendants from 40 different nationalities who have played a role in the evolution of Lowell as a vibrant immigrant city.
The committee led by Ms. Theam was also supported by Dr. Robert Forrant, a historian and specialist on Lowell history at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
“To my knowledge, no attempt has ever been made to honor 100 Lowellians in this fashion,” Dr. Robert Forrant said. “In such an inclusive way, to review the city’s history and come up with an honor roll of 100 immigrants and refugees who have helped to vitalize the city is a big undertaking, but one worthy of the impact the honorees will have made on the city.”
George Duncan founded Enterprise Bank and Trust Company in Lowell in 1989 and serves as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Duncan has had a profound impact on the City of Lowell and its revitalization. Through philanthropy, civic engagement, healthcare, housing initiatives, and support for a wide range of non-profit organizations, he has been a key advocate for immigrants and refugees. George grew up in a diverse neighborhood in Lowell. He continues, through his affiliation with Enterprise Bank, to actively promote diversity in hiring and demonstrates a lasting commitment to serving the community.
To see video of Sophy Theam’s speech at the 100th celebration, click here. To read more about IINE’s 100th anniversary and the corporations that supported it, visit the Lowell 100 web page.