Get to Know Us

Our Story

The Grove Hall Trust was founded on the belief that communities know what they need to improve their outcomes, and sustainable impact comes from shared risk and responsibility. Our goal is to improve community capacity and leadership while increasing the flow of educational opportunities, jobs, capital and social connections that can help end the cycle of poverty in our neighborhood.

Sahar Lawrence


Sahar has developed a passion for community development in low-income areas from working many years in the non-profit sector and from being a longtime resident of Roxbury. As the neighborhood dynamics change, Sahar hopes to help Grove Hall residents have more access to opportunities that strengthen social connections and equity while also empowering them to have control of their story.

Theresa Fortillus


Theresa has developed a strong appreciation for the Grove Hall community since moving to the area. She is currently the Operations Manager at Action for Community Development's (ABCD) Roxbury/North Dorchester site, located right in Grove Hall. Theresa's passion for human services was ignited at a young age while volunteering with her mother at various organizations.

Adrianne Level


As a resident of Grove Hall, Adrianne has volunteered for many organizations including the Steppingstone Foundation and various Amateur Athletic Union clubs. She focused on building relationships with youth, provided enriching experiences, and helped them make healthy decisions to build successful lives for themselves. She is currently a teacher at Boston Day and Evening Academy in Roxbury and continues to volunteer with numerous community organizations. Adrianne holds a B.S. in Business Management from Bentley University and a M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Biplaw Rai


Biplaw joined the Grove Hall Trust in 2017. As a local entrepreneur and co-owner of the popular Dudley Cafe, his values and mission align with the trust which is shared responsibility to collectively improve our lives. He believes we have enough talent and resources in our community to improve our lives and that it takes collective effort to raise a community. One of his life long goals is to highlight social justice via food and self-reliance.

James Williams


James is a certified CPA that has dedicated the last thirty years serving the small businesses and non-profits of the community. He currently operates and owns James A. Williams & Company, a small accounting firm within Grove Hall. He is passionate about economically empowering the community by teaching sound financial planning and practices. James studied at the Boston University School of Theology and is a member and a steward of the Bethel African American Episcopal Church. James holds a degree from the School of Management at Suffolk University.

Michael Williams


A lifelong Roxbury resident, Michael's dedication to the community began at a young age. He is passionate about working with the youth of Grove Hall and mentors young men at the National Black College Alliance, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, and the YMCA. His hobbies include reading, music, learning about other cultures and volunteering on political campaigns. His education goals include obtaining a Juris Doctorate from a top tier law school and a master's in education, policy or psychology.

The Grove Hall Trust is a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit.

© 2018 by Grove Hall Trust. Proudly created with