About Shawn

In 2016, I organized a day-long community activism training that was attended by more than 600 participants. In this picture, I am opening the training and introducing the keynote speaker.

Community Experience

Since moving to Newton in 2007, I have been very engaged in the community as a volunteer and activist. Currently, I serve as a board member with two community non-profit organizations, the All Newton Music School and FamilyACCESS of Newton. At FamilyACCESS, I served a full two-year term as Board Chair. ANMS is a music school for all ages, and FamilyACCESS is an agency focused on the health and well-being of children five years old and younger.

With the schools, I am a member of the Mason Rice Elementary School Council, which works with school leadership on high-level priorities. I am an active volunteer with the Mason Rice PTO and currently coordinate Bike Safety Day. I have have also served as a volunteer Newton Youth Soccer coach since 2016.

I previously served on the City of Newton Child Care Commission, appointed to this role by the (then) President of the Board of Aldermen. The Child Care Commission helped low-income families in Newton access early education services for their children.

In politics, I served for more than ten years as chair of the Newton Democratic City Committee. This is an elected role with two-year terms, voted by the NDCC’s three-hundred person plus membership. As chair, I led efforts to elect Democrats at the local, state and national levels.

With my kids, Claire and Colin (and the hens) showing support for Mass General healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Professional Experience

Professionally, I work in fundraising for non-profit organizations. I am currently Senior Director of Principal Gifts at Massachusetts General Hospital, where I have worked since 2007. In that role I help connect philanthropists with clinicians and researchers who are working to treat and cure human diseases. I received my BA in Communications from American University in Washington, DC and my MA in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT. I am fluent in Spanish.

The Fitzgibbons Family, Shawn, Kate, Claire (11) and Colin (8)


My family, counting non-human members, is very large. My wife Dr. Kate Wissel is a veterinarian at Commonwealth Veterinary Hospital in Newton. She, our children Claire (11) and Colin (8) and I oversee a small “farm” of pets which includes Tessie (dog), Mosey and Pirate (cats), fish, Spot and Burrito (guinea pigs), Chuck and Bizou (rats - they are fantastic pets), and six chickens named Peanut Butter, Jelly, Kiesha, Josie, Rocky and Snugget.

  • If you'd like to meet my family pets, click here to visit a website that my daughter Claire set up.

My kids know first-hand: I avoid going anywhere by car. I get around Newton year-round with my kids on "Blueberry," the family cargo bike.


I am an avid cyclist, biking thousands of miles each year around the Boston Metro Area and all over New England. This past summer, I rode from my house in Newton, in one day trips each, to Bath, Maine, Squam Lake, NH, Portsmouth, NH, and Ludlow, Vermont. I am a member of the Boston Cyclists Union, Mass Bike, Charles River Wheelers and Bike Newton.

I also play the violin and (a little) piano, and in the last two years learned to sail at the Boston Sailing Center.

  • Click here to see some of my bike rides on the biking website Ride with GPS.