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Benchmark Founder Tom Grape Receives Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from Mass-ALA

WALTHAM, MA–Benchmark, a human connection company and leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast, today announced that its founder, chairman and CEO, Tom Grape, has received the Massachusetts Assisted Living Association’s (Mass-ALA) inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. Grape was honored for his pioneering efforts over the last 30 years, which have led to the establishment and growth of the assisted living industry in Massachusetts and nationally.

More than 500  individuals from the senior living industry attended yesterday’s Mass-ALA  annual Excellence Awards event where Grape was honored. Brian Doherty, president and CEO of Mass-ALA, presented the award. “We are proud to present the inaugural Mass-ALA Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom Grape,” said Doherty. “Tom has been instrumental in founding, shaping and growing the assisted living industry in Massachusetts and nationwide, enriching the lives of seniors and creating an overwhelmingly positive economic impact. He is widely recognized as one of the most influential executives in the industry today.”

“Out of the many senior living leaders in Massachusetts, I am honored that Mass-ALA considered me for this award,” said Grape. “Making it possible for seniors to age well and stay connected to what matters most in their lives, as well as ensuring our associates are taken care of and experience fulfillment and purpose, is my life’s work. What’s rewarding for me is seeing first-hand the deep connections that exist between our associates, residents and their family members, and I am honored to receive this award.”

Grape was a founding board member in 1990 and has also served as a board chairman and multi-year board member of the Assisted Living Federation of American (ALFA), now Argentum. Also in 1990, he was founding chairman of the Massachusetts chapter of ALFA, now known as Mass-ALA. In 1993, he and others helped write, with then Secretary of Health and Human Services and now Governor Charlie Baker, the legislation that passed in 1995 creating the assisted living category in Massachusetts. Grape was also a founding board member of the Connecticut Assisted Living Association (CALA).

In 1997, Grape founded Benchmark, one of the Northeast’s largest senior living providers with 58 open communities and four under construction. Throughout Benchmark’s 22-year history, he has conceived and introduced a number of industry firsts, significantly improving the aging experience and reducing isolation for seniors. More recently, in 2017, he was tapped by Gov. Baker to serve on the first Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts.

Today, Grape serves as a thought-leader through writing, speaking at conferences nationwide, serving on boards of key industry organizations and identifying innovative solutions helping seniors age well. He serves on the executive board of the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) and has been a member of both the owner/operator advisory groups and strategic planning committee for the National Investment Center (NIC) for Seniors Housing & Care. He also participates in the Massachusetts Healthcare Collaborative, a convening group of health care leaders from across government, educational institutions, industry and public organizations.

Outside the industry, Grape has served as chair of the board of trustees for his alma mater, Ithaca College, where he is now chair emeritus. Formerly vice board chair of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, he also served on the vestry and as chair of the building committee for Boston’s renowned Trinity Church.

Benchmark offers independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and continuing care retirement communities in eight states. The Great Place to Work Institute certified Benchmark in 2019 for the second consecutive year as a Great Place to Work. Additionally, the company was selected by FORTUNE magazine for its inaugural 2018 Best Workplaces for Aging Services list, taking the number 16 spot on the list of top 40 aging services companies and ranking number three among companies with more than 40 communities. Benchmark is one of only six companies named to The Boston Globe Top Places to Work list every year of the 11 years it has been published.