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Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

MERIT to Resume In-Person Fundraising for Millis Schools

By Aidan Poole
The Millis Educational Resource Initiatives Team (MERIT) is a non-profit volunteer organization that funds enrichment programs for Millis Public Schools. MERIT plans to soon renew fundraising campaigns that were paused due to COVID-19.
Theresa Mahoney, president of MERIT, said “this [school] year has been totally unique” in its challenges to traditional fundraising methods. MERIT’s annual “Haunted Hayride” at Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm is typically the organization’s largest fundraiser, but Mahoney said last year they had to cancel it due to social distancing measures. However, she noted the non-profit will be “working closely with Tangerini’s” to resume the Haunted Hayride this year for Oct. 16, with a provisional “nor’easter date” slated for Oct. 23.
She also said MERIT stopped requesting donations through their “letter-writing campaigns to local businesses” last year. “We didn’t know if people would have to close their doors or were struggling financially due to COVID restrictions, so out of respect we decided to pause our ask,” said Mahoney. Without these sources of income last year, MERIT has relied mostly on clothing donation bins at the Millis High School and Transfer Station along with donations through the organization’s website (
In an effort to accommodate teachers’ needs in a novel learning environment, MERIT has adopted a “rolling grant application,” said Mahoney, that gives educators the flexibility to request money as they need it. She said, “It’s great to be able to help teachers” in any way possible.
Mahoney said MERIT was originally started by Millis parents in 1991 to raise money after “a lot of budget cuts from the federal level” left the town’s public schools struggling. “We have, since 1991, invested $300,000 into enrichment programs.”
In past years, Mahoney said MERIT has paid for the start of and continuation of the engineering program at the high school and a podcasting studio in the middle school. MERIT primarily pays for “items that are not normally covered in the school budget,” she said. Recently, this included DSLR cameras for photography students as well as keyboards for first graders who lacked exposure to typing during remote learning.
Mahoney has volunteered as MERIT’s president for three years and has been involved with the non-profit for four years. She joined when she moved to Millis and said it’s “a good opportunity to meet new people and help out” the town. MERIT is “always looking for new volunteers” and is open to parents of students and community members. For more information, visit or