News, Updates, and Happenings at Our Firm 

I hope this email finds you, your family, and your employees and colleagues well at such a difficult time.  The COVID-19 pandemic has created enormous disruption in every facet of life.  I have always been a very optimistic person and I continue to hope that a therapy and a vaccine can be developed soon that will allow us to regain some sense of normalcy.  

It is important to acknowledge the heroic deeds of our health care workers.  I've always recognized how incredible they are, a perception made clear not only by the many years I have spent working with health care organizations but also by my experiences as a patient.  Our health care workers rose to the challenge, as they always do, to extend life and restore health.  We are all in their debt.
It has been impressive watching our clients spring into action and we are grateful to have the opportunity to help them along the way.  From foundations that dug deep to put as much aid as possible into the hands of those on the front lines, to human services agencies that kept the individuals they support safe, loved and engaged, to long-term care and senior living providers fighting to keep our seniors safe in the rage of the COVID-19 storm, to academic institutions that pivoted overnight to distance learning, we have seen human nature at its very best among those we are fortunate to serve.  Triumph continues to overcome tragedy.

We are now focused on helping our clients determine how to endure through the "new normal" and rediscover success at the end of this journey.  The economic devastation will be enormous.  For those organizations reliant on the state budget, a multibillion-dollar hole will create new challenges.  For our clients running establishments that had to curtail operations, there will be a long period of diminished capacity and the increased expense of sanitation and PPE.

Don't let up; don't give in -- push ahead to a better day.

David Ball
President & Founder
Since its founding in 2017,  RIZE Massachusetts  has made tremendous progress as the only foundation dedicated solely to ending the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts.
The Boston-based nonprofit has built a collaborative network of medical experts, employers, educators, benefactors, community groups, elected officials, health care payors and, most importantly, individuals and families who have been devastated by opioid use disorder.  RIZE has invested more than $5 million in dozens of organizations and communities that are on the front lines battling this public health crisis.
So much progress for RIZE in just three years -- and then the coronavirus pandemic hit.  While the opioid epidemic has not disappeared in the ubiquity of COVID-19, the urgency to contain it has certainly been diminished in the public consciousness and de-prioritized in press coverage.
RIZE was ready to respond.  In the last few months, RIZE distributed nearly $500,000 in grants.  A  first round supported nonprofits across Massachusetts, while a  second round  went to Boston residential treatment programs and was supported by the Boston Resiliency Fund.  RIZE CEO Julie Burns was interviewed by  WBZ NewsRadio (1030 AM) twice to discuss the critical need to continue the fight against opioid use disorder during the pandemic.
RIZE remains relentless, and recognizes that COVID-19 is hitting people with opioid use disorder particularly hard. It is threatening their access to harm reduction or treatment services, among other risks.


Pointe Group Care operates seven skilled nursing facilities across Eastern Massachusetts.  An op-ed piece in Commonwealth Magazine by COO Chris Hannon celebrated the heroic work of the caregivers in these buildings and asked for the public's support.  The headline of his piece summed it up well: "It's time to stop blaming nursing homes."   
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MIT Center for Real Estate Director Dennis Frenchman penned this op-ed for The Boston Globe on creating a nationwide system for rating homes based on energy efficiency, not dissimilar from the way that cars and kitchen appliances are rated.
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In response to the pandemic, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation stepped up its grant-making activity in a special way.  In May, the Foundation targeted three organizations -- Boston's Bridge Over Troubled Waters, UTEC in Lowell and William James College -- with Special Initiatives grants to support programs that address gaps in the behavioral health care system.  
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Ernie Gates, president and CEO of Gates Healthcare Associates, published an op-ed piece in Morning Consult advocating for the expansion of the role of the pharmacists on the health care team during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.
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Invoice Cloud , a provider of electronic payment software solutions, enhanced its online billing platform with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, the top mobile payment options on the market.
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The Boston Globe highlighted the work of the nonprofit Community Servings, which ramped up production of healthy meals to support the City of Boston during the pandemic.  CEO David B. Waters wrote this piece for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette on the link between nutrition and COVID-19.
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A new Public Service Announcement created to promote newly available telehealth services offered by Behavioral Health Services of Volunteers of America of Massachusetts was sent to radio stations in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and can often be heard reminding listeners that help is available if needed.
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HFI (Healthcare Financial Inc.) CEO Jerry Vitti continued his efforts to advocate for improved access to health care, writing this piece for Morning Consult on the federal government's plans to alter eligibility rules for SSI and SSDI and this piece for Fierce Healthcare on the need for the federal government to increase its matching percentage for state Medicaid programs.

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Westfield State University President Ramon Torrecilha authored this powerful op-ed on inclusivity, which recently appeared on MassLive.  He also wrote this compelling column on the challenges that COVID-19 has posed to the campus and its students
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The team at Johnson Compounding & Wellness stepped up when hand sanitizer became scarce in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WCVB-TV Channel 5 covered their work making high-quality, medical grade hand sanitizer, which they sold to customers and donated to the community.  Later, the Waltham News Tribune featured the pharmacy's registered dietitian in a Q&A on what people can do to boost their immune systems through eating healthily.

Alex J. Villanueva has joined Ball Consulting Group as an Account Supervisor.  He develops and executes strategic communications projects for the firm.  Alex previously was an account executive at Burson Cohn & Wolfe in Washington, D.C., where he was on a media relations team supporting the 2020 Census.
Alex holds a master's degree in public relations from Boston University.  Prior to attending BU, he earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  While in college and graduate school, he interned in several offices, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's press office.

Ball Consulting Group is a member of PR Boutiques International, an association of independently owned PR firms across the globe.   We were honored to take the guest blogger spot on the topic of crisis planning in the COVID-19 era.  Read  the post on the PR Boutiques International blog.


Ball Consulting Group led several webinars on managing crisis communications in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.  One webinar we led for the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce became the subject of a news profile about the crisis work our firm does that ran in the MetroWest Daily News.