The James P. "Jimmy" Cawley Scholarship

The James P. "Jimmy" Cawley Scholarship

The Jimmy Cawley Scholarship is named in honor of a native son of Dorchester whose life was sadly shortened by cancer. A man of many talents, and deeply loved by family and friends, one of Jimmy’s greatest gifts was his ability to bring people together for a good purpose. His sunny nature, sense of humor and ability to tell great stories made life fun for everyone around him.

It is difficult to sum up his life in a few words; he began work very young selling newspapers in Government Center, where he saw the power of the press on the day that Nixon resigned the Presidency. He volunteered at the New England Aquarium when it first opened and developed a love of marine biology, going on to be involved in an early aquaculture venture on the North Shore. His first round of studies at UMass Boston was cut short by participating in the anti-Nuclear demonstrations at Seabrook, NH, missing his final exams when he and 1,400 other social justice warriors were incarcerated for 14 days. He worked for 26 years at the Boston Globe as a researcher in the library, and writing articles and music reviews. He returned to UMass Boston during this time and completed his degree in Political Science with a minor in philosophy. His final career was at WORK Inc, one of the leading agencies to provide employment support for individuals with disabilities in New England, where his connections with the Boston press and his political acumen made him a valuable advocate. In his spare time, he volunteered on political campaigns, including those of Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Martin Walsh, and attended many concerts of the music he loved, reggae, punk rock, and the Grateful Dead.


This scholarship was initially established by WORK Inc and Elisa Birdseye, Jimmy’s wife and continued with help from friends and family. The scholarship is intended to help a student from Dorchester who cares about some of the same things that Jimmy did. If this aid can make their lives a little better, it is hoped that they will in turn make life better for someone else, keeping Jimmy’s memory as bright as it shines for all who loved and remember him.

Gifts to this scholarship may be made at: