Massachusetts Cultural Council Receives Key of Excellence from Phi Beta Kappa

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Prize Recognizes Exemplary Efforts to Engage Communities with Arts & Sciences

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The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦBK), the nation’s oldest and most-widely known academic honor society, announces today that it will present the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) with its Key of Excellence Award and its $5,000 cash prize at a reception this evening celebrating the arts, humanities, and sciences at Boston Symphony Hall.

State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz will present the award at a ceremony being emceed by CBS WBZ-TV News Anchor Jack Williams. Anita Walker, MCC’s Executive Director since 2007, will accept the award in support of the agency’s work.

“MCC’s exemplary programs and the work of its grantees effectively show how the arts, sciences, and humanities help Massachusetts interpret our past and shape our future,” said Senator Chang-Diaz. “The cultural sector contributes greatly to the state’s economy today and builds a strong educational foundation that puts young people on the path to success going forward in school, work, and life. I am delighted to participate as the Massachusetts Cultural Council receives this national recognition tonight.”

“The Phi Beta Kappa Society created the Key of Excellence Awards to energize support for the arts and sciences because of their value to the nation,” said ΦBK President Katherine Soule. “The Key of Excellence showcases innovative programs that demonstrate the excellence, range, and relevance of the arts and sciences to communities. We aim to show decision makers that arts and sciences education expands opportunity, drives ingenuity, and invests in America."

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, sciences, and humanities. “It was chosen for its local and national leadership in efforts to provide youth and other vulnerable populations with in-depth arts, humanities, and science experiences,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill, head of its National Office in Washington, D.C. “Programs, such as YouthReach, Big Yellow School Bus, and STARS Residencies (Students and Teachers working with Artists, Scientists, and Scholars) demonstrate how the arts, sciences, and humanities build healthier, more livable, and vital communities across the Commonwealth.”

“How exciting to receive this national honor from the Phi Beta Kappa Society for our work here in Massachusetts,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “This recognition of the agency’s work on behalf of young people arrives on the heels of our national summit to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the YouthReach Initiative. Through the summit a national policy agenda focused on creative youth development was put into motion. This recognition from ΦBK will certainly further energize those efforts.”

At the event, representatives of three organizations will talk about the impact of MCC’s work in Massachusetts communities. Speakers will include Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Chief Executive Officer, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción; Joseph P. Cox, President, Ecotarium; and Nina Zannieri, Executive Director, Paul Revere Memorial Association.

ΦBK invites interested parties to nominate for consideration organizations such as nonprofits, state agencies, colleges and universities, and other programs for the Key of Excellence Awards by completing a brief form. For more information, please visit

About The Phi Beta Kappa Society
Founded on December 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s oldest and most recognized academic honor society. It has chapters at 283 colleges and universities in the United States and more than half a million members throughout the country. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression.

About The National Arts & Sciences Initiative
Higher education is at a crossroads, with many of our country's leaders questioning the need for a broad-based arts and sciences curriculum. ΦBK has launched a multi-year National Arts & Sciences Initiative to strengthen support for the value of the arts and sciences today. The initiative will demonstrate that a broad-based arts and sciences education expands opportunity, drives ingenuity and innovation, and makes a strong investment in America. Find facts and statistics about the arts and sciences at
About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences, to improve the quality of life for Massachusetts residents and contribute to the vitality of our communities. MCC pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. MCC receives an annual appropriation from the state Legislature and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.


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Rhiana Quick
Phi Beta Kappa Society
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