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Applications Sought for 2015 Leadership Institute
SPRINGFIELD — Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 session of Leadership Institute, Rethinking Leadership: Sharpening Skills for Organization and Community Service, sponsored by MassMutual Financial Group with scholarship support from the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation. The Leadership Institute is a unique collaboration between the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) and Western New England University (WNEU) aimed at teaching mid- and upper-level managers the crucial thinking and problem-solving skills needed to enable them to be effective leaders in service to the community and in their workplaces, and designed to develop high-energy and high-involvement leadership. Since 1982, the program has developed members of the business community for volunteer service to community organizations. Institute alumni represent many accomplished and distinguished leaders in business, education, government, and nonprofit communities, including U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; former state Sen. and Hampden County Clerk of Courts Brian Lees; Henry Thomas, president and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield; and MassMutual Financial Group Vice President Carol Demas and Community Responsibility Consultant Glenn Davis. Directed by WNEU Dean of the College of Business Julie Siciliano and Executive-in-residence Jack Greeley, Leadership 2015 will challenge participants to think in new ways and to analyze their own strengths and organizational challenges within a dynamic economy. Taught by Western New England faculty, participants will focus on problem solving, learning to ask the right questions, and implementing creative solutions for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Participants will actively explore best practices of leaders; analyze their own leadership, learning, and problem-solving styles; and experience the synergies that come from high-performing teams. Emphasis will be on experiential activities that identify, develop, and refine skill sets for effective leadership. The Leadership Institute runs for seven consecutive Thursdays from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Feb. 12 through March 26. The Feb. 12 opening session will be held at the Sheraton Springfield, One Monarch Place, Springfield, with the remaining sessions held at the TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield. The program culminates in April with the ACCGS Beacon Hill Summit, the chamber’s annual trip to Beacon Hill, and a graduation ceremony and dinner. Tuition is $885 per participant and includes all materials, several learning and personality inventory tools, the summit, and the graduation ceremony and dinner. Not-for-profit organizations interested in participating may apply for scholarship funding provided by the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation. Interested participants must complete an application, obtain a letter from a sponsor supporting the application, and provide a written letter of interest with background. Information and applications are available by contacting Kara Cavanaugh at the ACCGS at (413) 755-1310 or [email protected]. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Feb. 4.

Rebuilding Together Unveils New Name, Expanded Services
SPRINGFIELD — The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Assoc. of CDCs recently certified Rebuilding Together as a community-development corporation. In addition, the organization has officially changed its name to Revitalize Community Development Corp., or Revitalize CDC for short. Its focus will continue to be making meaningful improvements to homes that help reduce energy use, save money, and create a safe, healthy, and sustainable living environment for their residents and the community. Revitalize CDC also announced expansion of its services with a Small Business Technical Assistance Program targeting the underserved Latino community in the city. Leslie Belay, senior program manager at Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp., awarded new funding to Revitalize CDC to build out the program. 

State Announces $30M Solar Loan Program
BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration announced the final design of a $30 million residential solar loan program to complement the nation-leading solar market in Massachusetts. The Mass Solar Loan program, designed to make it easier for homeowners to finance solar-electric projects on their homes, will work with banks and credit unions to expand borrowing options through lower-interest-rate loans, while encouraging loans for homeowners with lower incomes or lower credit scores. “Solar installations provide important economic and environmental benefits to Massachusetts,” said state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Maeve Bartlett. “The Mass Solar Loan program will provide opportunities for homeowners to control and reduce their energy costs and for local banks and credit unions to offer a new business product.” The program, which has been in development since early 2014, follows a Department of Energy Resources (DOER) study that demonstrates lifetime net benefits to homeowners 10 times greater for direct solar ownership relative to third-party ownership. Beginning in early 2015, local lenders will be able to sign up to participate in the program, which is scheduled to begin providing loans in the spring of 2015. “Massachusetts has seen incredible growth in the solar market, with installations in 350 of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns,” said DOER Commissioner Meg Lusardi. “The Mass Solar Loan program will ensure that this growth continues at the local level, increasing opportunities for homeowners to take their energy future into their own hands.”

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