Attorney Michael Gallagher isn’t shy about standing up for causes he believes in.
When COVID hit, he turned a cancellation into an opportunity to support the community he loves.
This year, Gallagher & Cavanaugh LLP was supposed to be celebrating its own milestone: 20 years in business.
But, seeing so much suffering in the wake of COVID-19, Michael and the rest of the firm took action, donating funds set aside for a celebration to local non-profits, including Lowell CHC. This wasn’t the first time Michael went above and beyond to care for our Health Center.
Back in 2008, when Michael learned about the campaign to consolidate the Health Center under one roof by renovating a mill on Jackson Street, he knew very little about Lowell CHC. “I’ll be honest, with services scattered all over the City, I just wasn’t fully aware of all it offers this community,” he admits. “But, wow, were my eyes opened.”
Michael quickly came to understand the need for affordable health care in Lowell, and the impact that the new building would have on the community he loves.
“It was never a question of will I get involved. But, I remember thinking, this will take a miracle.”
Michael’s Jesuit education had him believing in miracles. It also emphasized the tradition of living a life in service to others – and it stuck with him. After law school, he worked for Legal Aid in New York, before returning to his hometown. Here, he built his own practice, while championing causes like public education, cultural inclusion, and the arts.
In Lowell CHC, he found a place that was directly addressing so many of the issues he was passionate about.
“I’ve learned that the way to have maximum impact on people’s lives is through health care. You can’t be a good employee, student, or parent if you aren’t healthy. Health care is a fundamental human right.”
Working alongside a team of Health Center champions, Michael carried this message all over the City, helping to raise $5M to build our Jackson Street home. While the practical benefits of bringing services under one roof were undeniable, Michael saw the broader impact of the new, state-of-the-art facility.
“So much more is possible in an environment, like the Health Center, where you feel respected. It has an incredible ripple effect. It makes everyone better at what they do.”
That sense of possibility, combined with the high ceilings and empty walls of the new building, sparked another idea: ArtUp, where community members purchase local art to hang in the Health Center. Half of the purchase price goes to the artist and half goes to the Health Center’s WrapAround Fund. For an arts-enthusiast like Michael, it’s a win-win.
“Art is what defines a community’s character. In the Health Center, it adds to the idea that you are valued, welcomed.”
Thanks to our team of miracle workers, like Michael, close to 200 pieces of local art now welcome patients and visitors to our Health Center – and 50,000 people have access to the care they need and deserve.
“My spirits are always lifted when I enter the Health Center. It’s an amazing testament to the persistence and commitment of this community. It will restore your faith in humanity.”