October 29, 2020

The Downey family has had (and continues to have) a significant impact on the development and growth of the New England Center for Children. For 35 years, Michael F. Downey provided financial strategy and guidance that fueled incredible growth for NECC both domestically and internationally. Mike was the Center’s accountant from 1978-1997 when he was offered the newly created position of Chief Financial Officer.

Michael F. Downey and his wife, Cookie Downey

Founder and CEO, Vinnie Strully credits much of NECC’s success to Mike’s exemplary financial management skills. The research, graduate programs and the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia® exist in no small part due to his contributions. Mike’s dedication to our mission and commitment to our students made him, and his wife Cookie, two of NECC’s most ardent supporters.

Following Mike’s untimely death in 2013, Vinnie tapped the only person he trusted to chart the course for the future of NECC – Mike’s son, Michael S. Downey. Mike (Jr.) had grown up around the Center, even working as a custodian at the school during high school summers. Although succeeding his father as CFO was not his plan, Mike’s education and experience had prepared him well to do just that.

Mike earned both a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA from Babson, before earning an MS in Taxation from Suffolk University. He spent more than thirteen years in progressively responsible roles at Feeley and Driscoll, P.C. prior to joining NECC.

Michael S. Downey and his family

This next generation of Downey leadership continues to have great impact. From exponential growth in Consulting and Public School Services, opening new clinics in Lebanon and Dubai, to a redevelopment of the ACE technology and expanding the footprint of the Southborough campus and residential program, Mike is making his own mark.

The Downey family continues to inspire others through their philanthropy and support of NECC. Michael F. Downey and Cookie were so revered that the Board of Directors unanimously voted in 2013 to name the newly built childcare center the Michael F. Downey Center for Child Development. Through the years, the younger Mike, his wife Kelley and their four daughters have participated in many of NECC’s fundraising events. From fielding a 5K team to hosting a lemonade stand on the Cape, the Downey family is a model of compassion, commitment and community.

About The New England Center for Children

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Our community of teachers, researchers, and clinicians have transformed the lives of thousands of children with autism worldwide through education, research, and technology. The Center provides comprehensive services to maximize independence: home-based, day, and residential programs, partner classrooms in public school systems, consulting services, the ACE® ABA Software System (www.acenecc.org), teacher professional development, and research on educational best practices.

NECC is committed to staff professional development, partnering with local colleges to provide on-site graduate training and degrees at little to no cost to the NECC teacher. The result is a growing pool of exceptional teachers trained in best-in-class methodologies, whether they continue their careers at NECC or move on to public schools or private agencies. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA. Learn more at www.necc.org.