social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

2020 SCI Community Social Capitalists

A Community Social Capitalist is a volunteer who impacts the lives of others by leveraging their personal and professional network to make a difference. Recipients may have mobilized a group to volunteer, or organized an event in their neighborhood, or brought a diverse group to work together on a common issue. Honorees personify the spirit of strengthening communities through civic engagement.

Chetna Naimi

Nominated by Codman Square Health Center

Chetna joined Codman Academy and Codman Square Health Center in 2015 as the Partnership Director to build and strengthen the collaboration between the two organizations. Her work is dedicated to creating a functional community-based model for integrating resources via health, wellness and prevention efforts to improve the wellbeing of students of all ages.This unique partnership is also committed to creating a pipeline of young professionals of color with interest in healthcare professions.

Chetna has worked as a chronic disease epidemiologist at the Maryland and Wisconsin State Health Departments, and at the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also developed and directed a large community-based diabetes prevention program in the Zuni pueblo, a Native Indian tribe in western New Mexico.

Chetna lives in Brookline with her husband and two daughters; she is a watercolor artist, a passionate Hindi language teacher, an ardent cook, and volunteers for different local organizations.

Amanda Fernandez

Nominated by the YMCA of Greater Boston

Amanda Fernandez is the CEO and co-founder of Latinos for Education, the first Latino-founded and led national organization dedicated to creating leadership pathways for emerging Latino education leaders and diversifying education nonprofit boards.

She is aTrustee of the Board with the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Roxbury Community College. El Planeta has twice named her one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in Massachusetts and she is a Senior Fellow at FutureEd. Amanda has over 25 years of experience in the areas of recruiting, diversity, organization development, change management, strategic planning, and Latino community relations.

Matt Epstein

Nominated by Goulston & Storrs

If he’s not practicing law or playing with his beloved English Setter, Matt Epstein lends his time, energy and passion to several organizations in the community. He has been a board member of Horizons for Homeless Children for 29 years, including seven years of service as Board Chair. In keeping with Goulston & Storrs’ 60-year involvement with Beth Israel Hospital, Matt has been a Trustee (now Trustee Emeritus) of the hospital for more than 10 years, and served as Chair of the BI’s Community Benefits Committee for four years.

More recently, Matt has developed an interest in leadership training as a board member of The Institute for Nonprofit Management and as Board Chair of Common Purpose, USA. Finally, to foster his love of history — and to alleviate his fear that we are forgetting its lessons — Matt is on the advisory board of Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit organization founded in Boston which develops school curricula based on historical and current events designed to encourage tolerance and empathy.

Secretary Rosalin Acosta

Nominated by Stop and Compare Supermarket of Chelsea

Rosalin Acosta is the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In her role, Secretary Acosta manages the Commonwealth’s workforce development and labor departments to ensure that workers, employers, and the unemployed have the training and safety resources they need to succeed in the Massachusetts economy.

Prior to joining the Baker-Polito Administration, she was a leader in the financial and banking services field with over thirty years of experience in Greater Boston financial institutions. She has been named one of Boston’s Most Influential Women by the Women of Harvard Club and El Planeta’s Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics in Massachusetts. Born in Cuba, she earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where she was a member of the Women’s Varsity Ice Hockey Team. She is the proud mother of five children.

Councilor Julia Mejia

Nominated by Inversant /
Stop and Compare Supermarket of Lynn

Like many residents in the City of Boston, immigration is part of Councilor Mejia’s story. Julia was born in the Dominican Republic and arrived in Dorchester when she was five years old. Raised by a single mother who was undocumented, she began advocating at a young age on behalf of her mother and others in her community in order to access vital city services.

She went on to graduate from the Boston Public School system, becoming
the first in her family to graduate high school and college. Through her work, Councilor Mejia has become enriched by the experiences of bringing people together from all walks of life. Elected to the City Council of the great city of Boston starting in 2020, Councilor Mejia serves with the reminder that “nothing about us, without us, is for us”.