“BUILDING ON THE PAST”
Mass Bears and Cubs, Inc., follows in the footsteps of a number of predecessor “Bear” groups which provided the basis and impetus for our incorporation as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
MBC traces its origins back to Mass Bearz, founded by Jeff Zirpolo and Brad Chapman in 2011.
Mass Bearz itself built on the membership and traditions of previous Bear community groups: New England Bears, in existence from 1991 through 2005, and Mass Bay Bears which was in existence for about two years after New England Bears dissolved.
A primary goal in the formation of Mass Bearz was the introduction of a new “Bear Competition,” since a competition had not been held locally since 2007. The Mr. Boston Bear Competition was first held in 2011 and has become a traditional annual community event.
Jeff Zirpolo, one of the co-founders, was a bartender at the Alley Bar in Boston and one of the public faces of Mass Bearz. With his many social contacts, he was able to publicize the group, recruit members, and help the organization grow. One of Jeff’s goals was to incorporate the group as a non-profit organization. Unfortunately, due to Jeff’s untimely death in March of 2016, that was not to be for Mass Bearz. After Jeff’s death, the remaining members continued the activities of the group until Mass Bearz was dissolved in the late Fall of 2016.
For further background information on Mass Bearz, archived articles published by The Rainbow Times in 2012 and 2016 are available on the internet:
Upon the dissolution of Mass Bearz in late 2016, former members of that group organized Mass Bears and Cubs (an unincorporated association).
A number of former members of Mass Bearz, along with other community members, desired to continue the traditional events of Mass Bearz, volunteering their time to support local non-profits, perform community service, and assist in fund raising events. In addition, the group wanted to provide opportunities to meet like-minded community members and enjoy social interaction. As a result, Mass Bears and Cubs, an unincorporated association, was formed and held its first Board meeting on December 7, 2016.
The Association provided for the continuity of the Mr. Boston Bear Competition, the annual holiday toy drive, the summer Boston Harbor Cruise, and former Mass Bearz community service events.
Additionally, as a way to honor Jeff Zirpolo, the group decided to work towards fulfilling Jeff’s dream of establishing a non-profit corporation.
In November, 2019, the governing board of the Association voted to dissolve the Association to make way for the newly incorporated Mass Bears and Cubs, Inc.
After almost three years of organizational and administrative work towards incorporation, Mass Bears and Cubs, Inc., was born. The first meeting of our Governing Board was held on November 12, 2019, the date of incorporation, and the corporation has been granted recognition as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
As we close our first year as a non-profit corporation, we find a social landscape that is quite different due to the pandemic. However, as you see from reading our history, we are not a group that resists the need to evolve, and, in fact, we welcome change that strengthens our organization and benefits the community. While we miss our in-person events, the current situation has presented us the opportunity to establish better lines of communication with all of you via more intensive use of email, social media, and this redesigned website.
Know that while we can’t be physically with the community at the present time, we are here for you. We encourage you to email us with proposals for virtual events, which might include joint non-profit fundraisers, online discussion panels, online educational or informational presentations, joint promotional campaigns, FB Live events, pre-recorded presentations, or similar types of content which can be presented online.
Let’s start the next chapter of this history together!