Denella Clark, Hyde Park resident and president of Boston Arts Academy Foundation, has been elected as chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW).
Clark was first appointed to the Commission in 2015 and reappointed in 2018 by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. She was elected to chair by her fellow commissioners, and is the first woman of color to lead the commission. Clark previously served as vice chair and treasurer of the organization.
“The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is a critical source of empowerment and force for change across the Commonwealth,” said Clark. “As the first Black woman to chair the commission, one of my goals is to amplify legislation that will directly benefit and improve the lives of all women, especially women of color. Defending Massachusetts women from sexual harassment in the workplace, decreasing the wage gap between women and their male colleagues, and enabling more working mothers to run for public office – I will help the commission push for positive change on these issues, among many others.”
A nonprofit executive, mother and philanthropist, Clark is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion. As president of Boston Arts Academy Foundation, her vision and leadership have created significantly greater visibility and financial sustainability for BAA, the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. Clark’s stewardship of the foundation has helped the school provide a world-class, arts-intensive education to a diverse student body where most students come from low-income families. For six consecutive years, 97 percent of BAA graduating seniors have been accepted to college.
“Denella Clark has a proven track record of supporting causes and organizations that improve our communities, and I was proud to appoint her to serve on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Denella’s election as the first woman of color to chair the commission is an important milestone, and we look forward to her continued work to promote equity for women and people of color across the Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities.
MCSW was one of the leaders in drafting and garnering support for the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, signed into law by Governor Baker in August 2016, becoming effective July 2018. In addition to the support of legislation, MCSW has worked in partnership with constituents and legislators to provide space and feedback regarding the impact of COVID-19 and related policy on women and girls of Massachusetts. The commission has continued to provide efforts during this time that put women and girls at the forefront and advocates for their voices to be heard in a variety of surveys, listening sessions and hearings.