Call for Nominations

Fifth Annual Mimi Grosser Volunteer
Recognition Award



To celebrate the extraordinary efforts of the CDSC volunteers who fuel our work, we are pleased to call for nominations for the fifth annual Mimi Grosser Volunteer Recognition Award. Named in honor of Mimi Grosser, volunteer extraordinaire at CDSC for more than 25 years, the award will recognize a CDSC volunteer or volunteer team whose work exemplifies the spirit of mediation and whose commitment to CDSC demonstrates an exceptional effort in one or more of the following categories:

  • Number of cases mediated or amount of time volunteered at/with CDSC
  • Outstanding mediation effort demonstrated
  • Exemplary involvement in project(s) or task(s)

The award recipient may be a volunteer CDSC mediator and/or CDSC non-mediator volunteer.

To nominate a CDSC volunteer or volunteer team, please send us the name of the volunteer or volunteer team and a description of their efforts in 100 words or less to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Client confidentiality will be honored. Please be sure to include your name and e-mail or phone contact information.

Please click here to make a gift to the Mimi Grosser Scholarship Fund. All gifts are used to provide scholarship support for CDSC training participants.

Deadline for nominations is May 12, 2017.








For more than two decades, Mimi Grosser has been an invaluable player in the CDSC lineup and a role model for at least two generations of CDSC volunteer mediators, interns and Board members.

The Mimi Grosser Scholarship Fund was created to honor Grosser and to spotlight the extraordinary service of CDSC’s cadre of volunteer mediators. The Mimi Fund, as it is known, provides scholarship support for deserving participants in CDSC training and professional development programs.

CDSC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1979. To learn more about mediation and training opportunities, or to make a gift to the Mimi Grosser Scholarship Fund please click here.













Gail Packer (left) was hired in 1988 as the Executive Director of the Community Dispute Settlement Center. Packer and Mimi Grosser (right), a volunteer at the time, have worked closely for 27 years, building a strong working relationship and helping thousands of people resolve conflicts in Cambridge and beyond.

The Picture of Dedication: 27 Years Later

In 1987, Mimi Grosser’s idea of “retirement” was to learn more about something new: the emerging field of conflict resolution. At the time, Grosser was retiring from a distinguished career as a teacher at Newton North High School. After twenty years of teaching history, Grosser wanted to know more about how people resolve conflicts peacefully and collaboratively: she was drawn to learn more about community mediation.

Grosser, a long-time Cambridge resident, found her way to the Community Dispute Settlement Center (CDSC), then a program of the Cambridgeport Problem Center. She enrolled in a 30-hour Mediation Training with the intention of doing volunteer work in her retirement. She wound up staying at CDSC for 27 years.

Grosser has personally handled thousands of calls from people caught up in conflict and played a variety of important roles in the organization. She has skillfully introduced people to the process of mediation, scheduled affordable mediation sessions for them, and conducted follow-up interviews to solicit feedback about their mediation experience. She has also volunteered as a mediator, helping disputants to hear each other out, to understand each other better and more often than not, to reach a joint solution to their conflicts.

CDSC’s model of community mediation is designed to be an affordable alternative to the legal system: community mediation brings people in conflict together with trained pro bono professional mediators who help them find ways to settle their disagreements constructively. CDSC provides affordable mediation services for a wide range of people in conflict including parents in disagreement over custody arrangements, neighbors in dispute over noise issues and landlords and tenants in dispute over rental arrangements.

In the course of Grosser’s 27-year tenure, CDSC has conducted 6,361 mediations and trained more than one thousand mediators. Grosser announced her “retirement” from CDSC effective December 31, 2014 and she has promised to provide advice and consulting services when needed.

To recognize the outstanding service of CDSC’s cadre of volunteer mediators, the Mimi Grosser Scholarship Fund was established in Grosser’s honor in 2013. The fund provides scholarship support for deserving participants of CDSC training and professional development programs.

Approaching 90 years of age, Grosser still demonstrates the skills that made her an invaluable member of the CDSC team. According to Gail Packer, CDSC Executive Director since 1988, Grosser “is a great listener, a persuasive ambassador for mediation and an impeccable record-keeper. She is also the ‘go-to’ editor for grammar and punctuation for CDSC’s communications.” Grosser helped design the original CDSC case management system and until recently managed the client database, producing all of CDSC’s statistical reports.

In her career as a teacher, Grosser was a pioneer in the progressive alternative program at Newton North known as Murray Road. According to Grosser, many of her Murray Road alumni are still in touch with her 30 years later.

When not at CDSC, Mimi can be found reading for her book groups, playing Scrabble, visiting with her granddaughters and great-grandsons, or heading to Craftsbury, Vermont, her favorite destination in the Northern Kingdom.

Click here to read more about The Mimi Grosser Scholarship Fund
CDSC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1979.
To learn more about mediation and training opportunities,
or to make a gift to the Mimi Grosser Scholarship Fund
please visit


Working with Groups in Conflict:
Facilitation Skills for Mediators

This one-day workshop will help you apply and extend your mediation skills to the facilitation of multi-party conflicts.

  • You will learn how to collaboratively design a process, how to prepare people to participate and how to stay grounded in difficult moments.
  • In this interactive training workshop, you will be involved in exercises, discussion, case study and problem solving.

Conducted by: A topnotch facilitator from the Public Conversations Project (PCP).

About the Public Conversations Project: PCP has facilitated conversations on the most contentious issues of our time for the past twenty-five years. Their Reflective Structured Dialogue model has become a standard for facilitation when deep conflicts are rooted in values, beliefs or identity. In this experiential workshop, you will benefit from some of the lessons learned about creating an effective process based on the needs of the participants in contentious, multi-party contexts.

When:           Wednesday April 1, 2015   9am to 5pm
                      ~Lunch will be provided.
Where:           CDSC, 60 Gore Street, Cambridge, MA 02141
Fee:                $225. Reduced fee for CDSC Pro Bono Mediators: $100
Enrollment:       Limited to 20. Enroll early!
Pre-requisite:    30-hour Mediation Training (*)

The Community Dispute Settlement Center, Inc. (CDSC) is pleased to sponsor this workshop in collaboration with the Public Conversation Project who has customized the curriculum for mediators.

(*)If you are interested in this topic and have not been trained as a mediator, CDSC offers 33-hour Mediation Training twice each year, Spring and Fall. Next session begins March 19, 2015. For more information:  visit our website

With questions, please contact CDSC directly  at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
tel. 617-876-5376.

Click here to Register Now!

The CDSC Bash was a huge success! See pictures from the Bash here!


This year's annual celebration will be held on on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at the Venture Cafe in the Cambridge Innovation Center starting at 6:30pm.

The CDSC Bash proves to be a delighful-- and meaningful --way to celebrate the accomplishments of the mediation community. This event continues to serve as our signature fundraising event of the year; the funds we raise support the alternative and affordable dispute resolution services we provide in the courts, the schools and the community.

We hope you will join us at our 2014 Bash and consider supporting this event with a generous gift.

Click here to learn more about Gala sponsorship opportunities.



For Immediate Release            

Please Contact: Danae Kristiansen, CDSC 617-876-5376


(Cambridge, MA) June 24, 2014: The Community Dispute Settlement Center (CDSC) honored two volunteer mediators with Mimi Grosser Scholarship Fund Awards: Dr. Roberta Kosberg and Jo-Ann Leinwand. They also honored Cambridge resident Ellen Kanner for her efforts as their pro bono fundraising consultant.

Roberta Kosberg, Ph.D., is a professor of Communication at Curry College and author of several studies that examine the power of language and the relationship of gender, power and the word. Dr. Kosberg has been a volunteer mediator at CDSC for nearly 20 years and has conducted more than 200 mediation sessions.

Jo-Ann Leinwand, a former president of the Greater Boston Women’s Council of Realtors, is an Accredited Buyer’s Realtor, a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and a Certified Home Staging Professional at Keller Williams Realty. Leinwand has been a member of the CDSC court-based mediation team since 2001 with more than 100 court—mediated cases to her credit.

Ellen Kanner has led development efforts at many non-profit organizations in Boston and in the Berkshires, where she was a resident until 2002. She trained as a mediator with CDSC in 2010 and has served as its pro bono development consultant since that time.

The award, created to honor Mimi Grosser, a long-time Cambridge resident and volunteer at CDSC for over 25 years, highlights the crucial role volunteers play at CDSC. The award is supported by the Mimi Fund which provides scholarship support for deserving participants to CDSC training programs.

CDSC, established in 1979, is a private non-profit mediation and training center, dedicated to providing an alternative and affordable forum for resolving conflict. CDSC provides mediation services through skilled teams of volunteer mediators and conducts training programs in mediation and conflict management. CDSC also collaborates with other organizations to provide trainings to deal with conflict effectively.  

For more information about CDSC and the Mimi Fund, please call 617-876-5376, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Center's website at


Two Cambridge Nonprofits Named Nonprofit Excellence Award Finalists

BOSTON- May X, 2014The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network(MNN) is pleased to announce that two Cambridge nonprofits: Community Dispute Settlement Center, Inc., a mediation-services organization, and Adrienne Klein, Community Outreach Director of Cambridge Community Services, a youth-development organization, have been selected as finalists for the 2014 Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The Excellence Awards will be presented at MNN’s celebration of Nonprofit Awareness Day, a statewide holiday on June 9 that highlights the work of the nonprofit sector and raises awareness of causes throughout Massachusetts.

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