“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
– Robert F. Kennedy, 1966


We are excited to honor the following awardees who truly embrace the legacy of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and work tirelessly to better the lives of children and their families.

Each honoree is dedicated to making positive impacts on the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of the population by raising awareness, fighting against social injustices, and advocating for those who don’t have a voice.

Please join us in congratulating the 2018 Embracing the Legacy honorees:





William Gross
Superintendent-in-Chief, Boston Police Department


William G. Gross is a 34-year veteran of the Boston Police Department.

In January 2014, he was appointed by Mayor Walsh and Police Commissioner Evans to the position of Superintendent-in-Chief; the first African American Chief in the history of the Boston Police Department.   Throughout his career Chief Gross has cultivated and maintained a strong connection with the community.  As the highest ranking uniformed officer in the department, reporting directly to the Police Commissioner, he is responsible for ensuring the effectual police services to all of Boston’s neighborhoods, residents and daily visitors.

Chief Gross has been awarded numerous Departmental awards for bravery and meritorious service and several Governor’s Citations; he has been presented with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award (2014 & 2015); the United States Attorney’s Boston Offices’ award For Outstanding Dedicated Service to the Survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombing During the Trial of United States vs Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the Department of Justice Investigative Achievement Award and named one of Boston’s 100 Most Influential People of Color.  Chief Gross has numerous affiliations, as well as sitting on several Advisory Boards including the Boston Center for Youth and Families and the George Lewis Ruffin Society.

In 2017 Chief Gross was sworn into the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company; the oldest active military organization in the Western Hemisphere.





Tracy Palandjian
Co-Founder and CEO, Social Finance


Tracy Palandjian is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Social Finance, a nonprofit organization which is leading the development of Pay for Success financing and Social Impact Bonds, an innovative public-private partnership that mobilizes capital to drive social progress.

For more than a decade, Tracy has committed to building a more impactful nonprofit sector by re-imagining the role of the capital markets in enabling social progress. Inspired by Social Finance UK, Tracy co-founded Social Finance US in 2011 to develop the Pay for Success model in the United States. Prior to Social Finance, Tracy was a Managing Director for 11 years at The Parthenon Group where she established and led the Nonprofit Practice and worked with foundations and NGOs to accomplish their missions in the US and globally. Tracy also worked at Wellington Management Co. and McKinsey & Co.

Tracy is co-author of Investing for Impact: Case Studies Across Asset Classes. She is vice chair of the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Global Impact Investment Steering Group (previously the G8 Taskforce), vice chair of the Board of Overseers at Harvard University, and serves on the boards of Facing History & Ourselves and the Surdna Foundation (where she chairs the Investment Committee). She is also a Director of Affiliated Managers Group (NYSE: AMG).

Tracy is a frequent speaker and writer on impact investing, social innovation and results-oriented policy making, having been covered in The Wall Street Journal, Atlantic, Economist, TIME, Forbes, and New York Times.  A native of Hong Kong, Tracy is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin.  She graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. magna cum laude in Economics, and holds an M.B.A. with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar.





Robert F. Rivers
Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Bank


Bob is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Bank, America’s oldest and largest mutual bank and the largest independent community bank headquartered in Massachusetts, with $11 billion in assets and over 120 offices.

Bob is involved extensively in the community, serving on the Board of Directors of The Dimock Center, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Jobs for Mass, and The Lowell Plan.  He also is a member of the Board of Trustees of Stonehill College, the Northern Essex Community College Foundation, the Board of Corporators of Lowell General Hospital, the Advisory Boards of the Lawrence Partnership and JFK Library Foundation, and is a member of the City of Boston’s Women’s Workforce Council, Environmental League of Massachusetts’ Corporate Council, and ALPFA Boston’s Corporate Advisory Board, in addition to providing support and guidance to numerous other non-profit organizations.

Named after the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Bob’s passion for advocating for social justice causes and sustainability issues is the result of a personal and professional journey that began early in his life. Bob has been recognized by The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, The Partnership, Get Konnected!, Color Magazine, the Massachusetts Immigration & Refugee Advocacy (MIRA), Asian American Civic Association (AACA), Association for Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA), El Planeta, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, The Theater Offensive, The Ad Club, and MassINC for his work in championing diversity and social justice.