Pynchon Award Nominations

Through March 31: The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts is seeking nominations from throughout Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties for the Pynchon Award, which recognizes area citizens who have rendered outstanding service to the community. To nominate an individual, submit a letter explaining why the nominee should be considered. Be sure to include biographical information, outstanding accomplishments, examples of service to the community, organizations he or she is or has been active in, and the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of at least three people who can further attest to the nominee’s eligibility for induction into the Order of William Pynchon. The Pynchon trustees reserve the right to eliminate nominations from consideration due to insufficient information. Qualifying nominees will be considered and researched by the Pynchon trustees, composed of the current and five past presidents of the Advertising Club. Nominations should be submitted to William Pynchon Trustees, Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts, P.O. Box 1022, West Springfield, MA 01090-1022 or by email to [email protected]. The 2024 recipients will be announced in June, with an awards ceremony tentatively scheduled for the fall.


Spirit of Girls Fundraiser

March 22: Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual major fundraiser is back at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Spirit of Girls: Rewind // Fast Forward features co-lead sponsors PeoplesBank and the Women’s Foundation of Boston. Guests and attendees will hear the impactful stories of Girls Inc. youth, families, alumni, and more. The evening will include heavy appetizers and a cash bar. Girls Inc. of the Valley is actively seeking sponsors and volunteers to support the event. Sponsors include PeoplesBank, the Women’s Foundation of Boston, Hazen Paper Co., bankESB, BonaVita Aesthetics, the Collins Companies, Monson Savings Bank, SourcePass, UMass Amherst, Parker’s Portables, Kuhn Riddle Architects, and the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.


Bay Path President’s Gala

March 23: Bay Path University announced its fifth President’s Gala, themed “Breaking Through,” will be held at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The evening will begin with a 5:30 p.m. VIP reception, followed by dinner, program presentations, and dancing. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling (413) 565-1063. The gala will focus on supporting learners enrolled in healthcare degree programs, recognizing their resilience and dedication. Like many regions across the country, Western Mass. faces shortages in many healthcare professions, including primary-care physicians, nurses, and mental-health providers. Through its more than 20 undergraduate and graduate healthcare degrees, Bay Path is educating and training future healthcare workers to be on the front line of helping to keep communities safe and healthy. Proceeds from the gala will directly contribute to scholarships, resources, and initiatives that benefit learners pursuing healthcare degrees, reinforcing Bay Path University’s commitment to fostering excellence in the healthcare field, she added. Both healthcare policy and advocacy play crucial roles in shaping the healthcare landscape in Western Mass. To that end, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Sr. Mary Caritas, SP will be honorary chairs for this event. To view a full list of gala committee members, sponsors, and additional event details, visit


Second Chance Dinner Auction

March 23: Tickets for the 25th annual Second Chance Dinner Auction are now available for purchase. This significant fundraising event marks the kickoff of Second Chance Animal Services’ year-long 25th-anniversary celebration, promising an evening of philanthropy and joy to benefit homeless shelter pets in need of veterinary care. The event will take place at the La Salle Reception Center in Southbridge. The evening will commence with a cocktail hour at 4 p.m., giving attendees the opportunity to peruse and bid on myriad silent-auction items and try their luck with raffle prizes. The main event unfolds with dinner at 6 p.m., followed by the highlight of the night, the auction. Tickets are $55 per person with the option to reserve a table of nine for $495. The success of the event relies on the generosity of sponsors and item donors. Second Chance encourages businesses and individuals to consider lending their support by becoming a sponsor or contributing items. As noted, the event features both a silent and live auction featuring hundreds of items ranging from gift certificates for local businesses and restaurants to gift baskets and everything in between. To enhance the auction experience, a selection of gift cards and small, easy-to-ship items will be available for advance online bidding March 14-21. For those interested in sponsoring, donating items, or attending the event, complete information and tickets can be found at


Women’s Leadership Conference

April 4: Bay Path University announced that real-estate legend, investor, best-selling author, entrepreneur, producer, and Shark Tank shark Barbara Corcoran will be the keynote speaker at the 27th Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC), taking place at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield. Corcoran has been an investor/shark on ABC’s four-time Emmy award-winning show Shark Tank for 10 seasons, investing in more than 80 businesses to date. She chronicled her rise from waiting tables in a New York diner to heading a $5 billion real-estate company in her bestselling book, Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business! She’ll bring her personal brand of no-nonsense wisdom and supportive advice to the more than 1,600 attendees who are expected to attend this year’s WLC. The WLC will also feature lunchtime speaker Amy Purdy, a three-time Paralympic medalist in snowboarding for Team USA. This year’s conference will also feature breakout sessions led by business experts and authors, including Yvonne Camus, the former COO of SPINCO, Canada’s largest indoor cycling brand and the only female to outperform the Navy Seals in the multi-terrain adventure race known as Eco-Challenge. In addition, the WLC will welcome Sylvia Baffour, an author, podcast host, and emotional-intelligence coach recently ranked by HubSpot among the top 15 female motivational speakers. Additional keynote and breakout session speakers will be announced soon. For further information on the 2024 conference, sponsorship information, and ticket sales, visit


Margarita Madness

April 4: The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce will host its largest event of the year, Margarita Madness, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Interskate 91 at the Hampshire Mall. Attendees will network and enjoy an evening of tasty margaritas and vote for this year’s fan favorite. Local restaurants showcase their culinary skills, and dozens of raffle prizes are donated by Amherst Area Chamber members. The event’s presenting sponsor is TommyCar Auto Group, and the supporting sponsor is Hampshire Mall. The cost is $35 pre-registered or $45 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Emergency Department. Visit to purchase tickets.


Difference Makers 

April 10: The 16th annual Difference Makers Gala will be held at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Since 2009, BusinessWest has been recognizing the work of individuals, groups, businesses, and institutions through this recognition program. The 2024 Difference Makers — profiled in the Feb. 19 issue of BusinessWest and at — are Matt Bannister, senior vice president, Marketing and Corporate Responsibility, PeoplesBank; Delcie Bean, CEO, Paragus Strategic I.T.; Linda Dunlavy, executive director, Franklin Regional Council of Governments; Dr. Fred and Mary Kay Kadushin, co-founders, Feed the Kids; Scott Keiter, CEO, Keiter; the staff of Rock 102; Shannon Rudder, president and CEO, Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services; and Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Springfield Chamber Players. Tickets cost $95 each, with reserved tables of 10-12 available and available now through March 29. Partner sponsors for the 2024 Difference Makers include Burkhart, Pizzanelli, P.C., Keiter, Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health, the Royal Law Firm, and TommyCar Auto Group. Supporting sponsors include the Springfield Thunderbirds and Westfield Bank. For more event details and to reserve tickets, visit



June 21-23: Registration is now open for Hooplandia, the second annual 3×3 basketball tournament and festival, at The three-day event includes levels of play for all ages and divisions. Hooplandia launched in 2023. Taking place in the heart of Greater Springfield, the birthplace of basketball, the event is hosted by Eastern States Exposition (ESE) in West Springfield and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Most games will be played on the ESE grounds, with special games held at the Hall of Fame. Seventy-five basketball courts will be set up to accommodate more than 650 games played by approximately 2,100 participants of all ages. Divisions of play have been created to provide an all-inclusive environment for players of all ages and playing abilities. The diverse divisions include young girls, boys, women, men, high-school-level, college-level, OGs, veterans, and more. Players are invited to build teams of four, create their own unique team name and uniforms, and register at Team fees range according to age, and children in the under-8 category are free of charge. Hooplandia will once again partner with Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the region as its designated philanthropic partner.