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Community leaders announced as co-chairs of ninth annual Winter Ball

September 2017

A team of well-known Central Massachusetts community leaders have been announced as co-chairs of the ninth annual Winter Ball, the fundraising gala benefiting UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Kate McEvoy-Zdonczyk, Beata and Michael O’Brien, and Kim and Eric Schultz began their volunteer roles earlier this year in preparation for the Winter Ball, which will take place at Mechanics Hall on Friday, Dec. 1.

“We are very grateful that these prominent community leaders have decided to lend their support to this signature event,” said UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins and UMass Memorial President and CEO Eric W. Dickson. “With their guidance and leadership, we are confident that the 2017 Winter Ball will reach new heights and make even more of a difference in the lives of those we serve.”

“The Winter Ball is such an important fundraising initiative for Central Massachusetts, because it supports the health of our community,” said Kate McEvoy-Zdonczyk, vice president for Central and Western Massachusetts for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. “I am honored and proud to join the effort."

“Beata and I know so well what a gem Worcester is,” said Michael O’Brien, executive vice president of Winn Companies. “Worcester is truly the heart of the commonwealth, and we can’t think of a better way to support the well-being of its citizens than through the Winter Ball. UMass Memorial has saved, healed and/or cured at least half of our extended family, so we owe them an eternal debt of gratitude!"

“UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center are making such a notable impact in Central Massachusetts,” said Eric Schultz, president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. “Kim and I are thrilled to be a part of this event and support their mission of serving others.”

Since 2009, members of the Central Massachusetts community—business and civic leaders, philanthropists and humanitarians—have gathered in early December at the Winter Ball to celebrate and support the lifesaving work of UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial. The 2016 Winter Ball exceeded its fundraising goal of $1 million.

Event proceeds are generated from corporate sponsorships—which hit a record high in 2016, totaling more than $437,000—silent and live auctions, a fund-a-need auction segment and individual ticket sales.

“By Labor Day, nearly 30 area businesses had signed on as 2017 sponsors,” said McEvoy-Zdonczyk. “We’re so grateful to those organizations for their outstanding support, and we continue to encourage others to sign on so we can exceed $500,000 in sponsorships this year.”

McEvoy-Zdonczyk has been with Harvard Pilgrim since 2011. Previously, she was a senior director for government and community relations at Fallon Community Health Plan. She lives in Auburn with her husband, Gary Zdonczyk.

Prior to joining Winn in 2014, O’Brien spent nine years as the city manager of Worcester. During that time, he successfully implemented numerous programs to spur economic development and improve neighborhoods. He is also a member of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. Beata O’Brien is a registered nurse who works at Unum. They live in Southborough with their two daughters.

During his 27-year career as a health care executive, Eric Schultz has actively sought to define and implement changes that have led to improvements and greater efficiencies in both the cost and delivery of health care. Prior to joining Harvard Pilgrim in 2010, he was president and CEO of Fallon Community Health Plan and held executive positions with CIGNA Healthcare and Prudential Healthcare. Kim Schultz was a senior systems analyst with CIGNA and a medical secretary for a small practice clinic before she retired. They have two grown sons and live in Boston.