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2023 Massachusetts Clean Community Awards

Emcee Cindy Fitzgibbon, WVCB Chief Meteorologist, works the crowd!

News & Events

2023 Massachusetts Clean Community Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2023 Massachusetts Clean Community Award Winners!

The Massachusetts Clean Community Awards recognize volunteers, nonprofit leaders, government leaders, businesses, and municipal partners for exceptional environmental protection and community cleanup efforts. Nominations for the 2024 Massachusetts Clean Community Awards are now open. Submit a nomination today!

We presented our 2023 Clean Community Awards at the Village Hall on the Common in Framingham on March 21, 2024. It was a pleasure to bring so many caring environmental and community service heroes together for one evening. 

If you were unable to attend our 2023 awards presentation, please view our photo gallery

A special thanks to our emcee, WCVB Chief Meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon, who filmed a Channel 5 Eye Opener Wake Up Call with attendees.

Our 2023 class of Massachusetts Clean Community Award winners included:

2023 Youth Volunteers of the Year: Isabella Gelfusa and Deeya Patel of Framingham High School

This award recognizes youths under the age of 21 for outstanding volunteer work on behalf of a local Keep Massachusetts Beautiful chapter or a related group that focuses on litter prevention & cleanup, waste reduction & recycling, beautification & community greening, or environmental education.

Isabella and Deeya were instrumental in helping Keep Framingham Beautiful further its mission by creating and leading the first-ever KFB Club at Framingham High School. Isabella and Deeya continue to educate, enlist, and inspire fellow students through bi-monthly club meetings. Activities include creating and hanging educational posters throughout the school, creating Instagram and TikTok posts; recruiting new members; regular campus cleanups; and fundraising to design and purchase KFB Club tee shirts.

Isabella and Deeya have created a blueprint for a successful and continuing KFB club and will inspire Framingham High School students long after their upcoming graduation.

Congratulations to Isabella Gelfusa and Deeya Patel, our 2023 Youth Volunteers of the Year!

2023 Litter Buster of the Year #1: Brian McPherson of Keep Natick Beautiful

This award recognizes an individual Massachusetts volunteer for his or her efforts to prevent and/or clean up litter in their community. It’s for those unsung heroes who do the dirty work of cleaning up other peoples’ messes.

Like most of the people working to keep Massachusetts beautiful, Brian saw a problem and “took action” to address it.

As his nominator wrote, “Brian is a force. He's out in our Natick Parks, roadways, woodlands, and waterways 2 to 3 times a week. He's simply amazing. He'll clean up an area the size of a football field in about 20 minutes. Sometimes he'll bring along his utility trailer to assist with bulky items. He recruits other family members and neighbors to help us. He's our Keep Natick Beautiful MVP."

Congratulations to Brian McPherson, a 2023 Litter Buster of the Year!

2023 Litter Buster of the Year #2: Phil Larkin of Fitchburg  

This award recognizes an individual Massachusetts volunteer for his or her efforts to prevent and/or clean up litter in their community. It’s for those unsung heroes who do the dirty work of cleaning up other peoples’ messes.

Phil has consistently picked up the trash on the roads near his home for the past 43 years! He drives his truck up and down a 3-mile country road every week. He has single-handedly picked up tons of litter, couches, TVs, electronics, and discarded furniture over the past four decades—too many items to list! 

At the ripe young age of 79, Phil is still at it, along with occasional help from his wife Susan. In fact, the two of them spent this past New Year’s Day cleaning up their street. Rain, snow, or shine, Phil is on the job!

Thank you Phil and congratulations on being named a 2023 Litter Buster of the Year!

2023 Litter Buster of the Year #3: Al Rapoza of Keep Framingham Beautiful 

As his nominator wrote, “Amazing Al, as he is affectionately referred to among his fellow KFBers, is the personification of community spirit. Al participates in many KFB group cleanups but also embarks on his own cleanup adventures throughout our city. In 2023 alone, Al went out on 80 personal cleanups, filling up 750 buckets of trash totaling well over 2,000 pounds of trash! 

Amazing Al has devised a litter-busting “Rapoza Rig” consisting of a dolly with a large trash barrel attached to it. It’s a super-efficient method for cleaning up lots of trash without having to find city trash barrels in which smaller bags or buckets can be emptied.

Al’s sense of community service goes well beyond his anti-litter activities. For example, Al volunteers at a food pantry on a regular basis. He once found a hundred dollar bill while picking up litter. Al called the food pantry to find out what they needed and then purchased one hundred dollars worth of jelly and delivered it to the pantry. We suspect Al personally stocked the shelves too!

Thank you Al and congratulations on being named a 2023 Litter Buster of the Year!


2023 KMB Chapter Leader of the Year: Marsha Goldstein of Keep North Attleborough Beautiful

This award recognizes an established KMB chapter leader for outstanding achievement and leadership. 

Back in 2013, Marsha saw what was happening in her neighboring town of Mansfield and was inspired to take action. She reached out to the leaders of Keep Mansfield Beautiful and single-handedly rallied others in her community to organize a town-wide cleanup within only a few weeks. After the success of this event, she recruited a steering committee and launched Keep North Attleborough Beautiful.

Since then, Marsha has built a strong partnership with the town council and town manager and tirelessly raised funds from the local business community and individual donors. With a core of approximately 500 volunteers, the annual spring cleanup creates a cleaner environment and a very tangible sense of community pride in North Attleborough. 

Marsha helped create a beautification subcommittee to create and manage several adopt-a-spot locations that further beautify the town. She also mobilized a collaboration with the Conservation Commission to revitalize the Martin Conservation Area, a passive recreation area that had been neglected for years. 

As one of her nominees wrote: “I have served on several nonprofit boards and I can say without reservation that Marsha is the most passionate and dedicated member I've ever worked with.” North Attleborough is fortunate to benefit from Marsha's energy, drive and leadership in making and keeping North Attleborough beautiful. 

Congratulations to Marsha Goldstein, our 2023 Chapter Leader of the Year! 

2023 KMB Rookie Chapter of the Year: Keep Barnstable Beautiful

This award recognizes a KMB chapter that launched within the past 12 months for its impact and community improvement achievements. 

Keep Barnstable Beautiful got its start in 2021 after Keep Massachusetts Beautiful teamed up with the owner of the Cape Cod Package Store and other local liquor retailers to schedule a spring litter cleanup. After co-organizing additional cleanups in the fall and spring of 2021 and 2022, Keep Barnstable Beautiful officially launched in the spring of 2023.

This new chapter has been busy getting organized and reaching out to local community leaders and local business owners, as well as other local nonprofits. They hosted successful cleanups in the spring and fall of 2023, as well as this past winter, and they are gearing up for the Great Barnstable Cleanup on April 7, 2024. All told, Keep Barnstable Beautiful has already collected and removed nearly 3,500 pounds (that’s 1.5 tons) of trash.

Congratulations to Keep Barnstable Beautiful for your amazing success and for being named our 2023 Rookie Chapter of the Year!

Louis Loura, District Director, accepting the award on behalf of Senator Marc Pacheco, our 2023 Environmental Legislator of the Year.

2023 Environmental Legislator of the Year: Senator Marc Pacheco

Senator Pacheco is currently the Senate’s longest-serving member. He was elected to represent the Third Bristol and Plymouth District in 1992 after first being elected to the House of Representatives in 1988. He currently serves as Dean of the Massachusetts Senate in addition to several key legislative roles.

Senator Pacheco has long advocated for the need to take urgent action to combat climate change, and he is a dedicated proponent of the transition to clean and renewable energy sources. 

As a leading policymaker on the issue of climate change, Senator Pacheco authored and sponsored the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, which established the first mandatory carbon emissions reduction requirements in Massachusetts history. 

He also sponsored legislation that established mandatory procurements for offshore wind and in 2021, he helped update statewide emission reduction goals. 

Senator Pacheco recently announced that he will not be seeking re-election, but he expects to remain active in the world of environmental protection.

Congratulations again to Senator Marc Pacheco, our 2023 Environmental Legislator of the Year! 


Alex Thibeault accepting the 2023 Business Partner of the Year award on behalf of Noble Oak Whiskey.

2023 Business Partner of the Year: Noble Oak Whiskey

This award recognizes a Massachusetts business for its efforts to collaborate with Keep Massachusetts Beautiful to clean up and beautify a specific community and/or our entire state. 

Noble Oak Whiskey and its parent company, Edrington, stepped up to provide financial support for Keep Massachusetts Beautiful’s Plant Something Bee-eautiful program with a donation of $10,000 in 2023.  They have pledged that same amount for 2024. 

The Plant Something Bee-eautiful program provides grants to support the planting of pollinator-friendly public gardens. In the most recent grant cycle, 8 KMB chapters and other groups received grants ranging from $500 to $2,500.

Noble Oak also supported KMB with a cash sponsorship for the Clean Community Awards, as well as a signature cocktail and a silent auction gift basket.

In addition to its support for KMB, Noble Oak partners with the nonprofit One Tree Planted to plant one tree for every bottle sold. So far, they have planted 1,114,000 trees!

Thank you to Noble Oak Whiskey for your support in protecting our environment and congratulations on being named our 2023 Business Partner of the Year! 

2023 Municipal Partner of the Year: Janelle Rolke, Salem's Waste Reduction Coordinator

This award recognizes a municipal leader, such as a Select Board member, DPW employee, Sustainability Manager, or Board of Health member, for extraordinary efforts to implement sustainable practices and clean up or protect the local environment.

Janelle took over the leadership of Keep Salem Beautiful in 2020, serving in a voluntary capacity. Since then, Keep Salem Beautiful has hosted monthly litter cleanups in addition to a city-wide cleanup each spring. Collectively, these efforts have removed many tons of trash and litter from Salem’s downtown, residential neighborhoods, beaches, and public parks. 

As Salem’s Waste Reduction Coordinator, Janelle also focuses on reducing the sources of litter. This includes hosting recycling events, book swaps, textile drives, repair cafes, recycling bin checks, and implementing composting in conjunction with the city’s public housing authority.

This success would not be possible without Janelle’s organizational and leadership skills, as well as her boundless enthusiasm for creating a cleaner, greener Salem.

Congratulations to Janelle Rolke of the City of Salem on being named our 2023 Municipal Partner of the Year! 


Thank you to all the unsung volunteers across our state who do so much to keep Massachusetts beautiful!