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Company Notebook

HAPHousing Is Now Way Finders

SPRINGFIELD — HAPHousing announced it has changed its name to Way Finders. But more than a name change, Way Finders expresses the organization’s expanded purpose: to find a way to build healthy, sustainable communities. Through the formation of two strategic partnerships and the organization’s ongoing work with a host of community collaborators and neighborhood residents, Way Finders addresses the fundamentals necessary for families and their neighborhoods to thrive. These include access to training, jobs, small-business financing, healthy food, safe streets, and engaged citizens in addition to safe, affordable housing. Strategic partnerships with two long-standing organizations will expand Way Finders’ capacity. MBL Housing and Development, LLC is a real-estate development/consulting firm. For more than 20 years, many real-estate developers, including Way Finders, have relied on MBL to create workable financing solutions for beneficial community projects. Common Capital Inc. (CCI) brings its experience as a community-development financial institution to Way Finders. With roots in micro-enterprise lending, CCI has grown to become a multi-million-dollar lender. The people Way Finders serves will now have greater access to home-financing options and small-business lending, and more jobs and more homeowners will lead to greater economic and social vitality. Way Finders, formerly HAPHousing, began as Housing Allowance Project Inc. more than 40 years ago. Over the years, the organization has evolved to become a go-to provider for a full range of housing services as well as a developer and manager of high-quality, affordable housing throughout the region. The organization has now expanded its purpose to deliver comprehensive solutions for the region’s families, neighborhoods, and communities.

Berkshire Bank Named Finalist for Halo Award

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank has been named a finalist for the prestigious 2017 Halo Award, the winner of which will be announced in Chicago on June 1. The Halo Awards recognize corporate social-responsibility initiatives and are presented annually at the Engage for Good conference in Chicago. These prestigious awards look at social campaigns that take innovative and impactful approaches to supporting causes, targeting both consumers and employees. Past recipients of the awards include many of the most globally recognized brands. Berkshire Bank was named a finalist in the Employee Engagement category, which highlights programs focused on meaningfully and measurably engaging a company’s employees in a cause-focused initiative to achieve both a social and a business impact. Berkshire is being recognized for its Xtraordinary Day of Service, which occurred in June 2016, through which it mobilized 95% of the workforce to directly impact more than 100,000 individuals, as well as with its broader XTEAM corporate employee volunteer program. The other finalists for the award include Viacom, Kohl’s, and Xylem Watermark. The XTEAM program provides every employee with paid time off to volunteer during regular business hours at a series of company-supported projects. The company’s entire workforce participated in the program last year, donating more than 40,000 hours of service. The volunteer program complements the company’s commitment to the communities it serves, along with more than $2 million provided annually through grants and sponsorships.

Women’s Fund Announces Executive Transition

EASTHAMPTON — After nearly three years at the helm of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, Elizabeth Barajas-Román will step down as CEO at the end of March in order to take an appointment as the new CEO of the Solidago Foundation, a Northampton-based national organization. The Women’s Fund board of directors has appointed long-time supporter and strategy consultant Irma González, to serve as interim CEO. González was a member of the Women’s Fund’s most recent strategic planning committee, and is principal of Zoen Resources, where she specializes in change and transition management in support of social justice and human-rights advocacy. Barajas-Román will support the transition through ongoing consultation for the organization’s strategic initiatives. Springfield-based United Personnel will lead the search process for the permanent CEO, which will open in early April. During her tenure, Barajas-Román played a critical role in the development and continued success of the Women’s Fund. In partnership with the board leadership and staff, she led the organization to three consecutive years of fund-raising growth, a 300% increase in social-media visibility, a new three-year strategic plan, and a move of the organization’s headquarters to the renovated Innovation Center in downtown Springfield. The Women’s Fund also worked with the Obama Administration as part of the national Prosperity Together coalition. More recently, the Women’s Fund launched two groundbreaking partnerships: one with Bay Path University to offer academic credit to the Women’s Fund leadership program (LIPPI) participants, and the other with the Partnership for Young Women’s Progress, a multi-sector initiative that, with lead support from the MassMutual Foundation, will help create an economic-prosperity blueprint for young women in Springfield.

Curry Printing, FASTSIGNS to Operate Under One Roof

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Curry Printing announced the addition of FASTSIGNS to its business location. Curry Printing and FASTSIGNS will operate together, under one roof, at 91 Union St. in West Springfield, with the same staff and the same owner. FASTSIGNS has more than 650 centers operating in the U.S., U.K., and beyond, specializing in all types of visual communications. Curry Printing opened in 1976 and has been serving the West Springfield and Greater Springfield area ever since. “We will continue to offer the best in printing and duplicating services while opening up all kinds of sign services for our customers,” owner Stephen Lang said, “including vehicle graphics, directional signs, dimensional signs, and even digital signs.”

Elms Adds DNP Track in Health Systems Innovation and Leadership

CHICOPEE — To help master’s-level nurse leaders reach the pinnacle of their careers, the School of Nursing at Elms College has announced a new doctor of nursing practice (DNP) curriculum in health systems innovation and leadership (HSIL). “Graduates of this program will be awarded a clinical practice doctorate and will be educated at the highest level of nursing,” said Teresa Kuta Reske, director of the DNP program for the Elms College School of Nursing. “The new track will increase the number of advanced-practice nurses who are highly educated, prepared to work within collaborative interprofessional teams, and who can lead changes that improve the outcomes of patient and health systems. We are excited to offer this new track in response to nurse practitioners’ and nurse leaders’ requests to acquire a higher level of knowledge and skills in order to lead effective change of healthcare. Additionally, each student will be assigned a faculty mentor to enhance their professional growth and development throughout the program.” The doctor of nursing practice degree is a terminal degree that prepares expert advanced-practice clinical nurse practitioners, nurse leaders, and nurse educators for the highest level of nursing practice. A DNP-prepared nurse has practice expertise and works to improve the delivery of care to all patients within the micro and macro healthcare systems. The DNP curriculum emphasizes implementing or applying new original research to improve patient outcomes, enhance quality of care, and reduce costs. The curriculum is delivered using a hybrid format — with both on-campus and web-based instruction — and offers courses in systems leadership, evidence-based practice, population health, finance, quality improvement, informatics, and other key areas of study that will build on a scholarly final capstone project. This is a two-year program, designed for nurses who want to continue working while they pursue the DNP degree. The students’ scholarly capstone projects will be related to the areas of nursing where they currently work, or areas in which they have an interest. After earning the DNP degree, graduates can remain in practice, leading in formal and informal leadership roles on cross-professional and interdisciplinary teams to improve and provide quality healthcare. The college will enroll the program’s first students in August to begin studies in September. Ideal candidates include nurse practitioners, midwives, clinical specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse leaders, and nurse educators who currently hold master of science in nursing (MSN) degrees.

Monson Savings Bank Announces Grant Recipients

MONSON — For the seventh year in a row, Monson Savings Bank asked the community to help plan the bank’s community-giving activities by inviting people to vote for the organizations they would like the bank to support during 2017. The top vote getters are Wilbraham United Players, Shriners Hospitals for Children, River East School-to-Career, Rick’s Place, Boy Scouts of Western Mass., Monson Bellmen Inc., Link to Libraries, Nomads of Hope, the Center for Human Development, and Monson Free Library. Customers voted for more than 200 organizations this year.

Three County Fair Radio Campaign Earns Awards

NORTHAMPTON — The Three County Fair’s 2016 radio advertising campaign won two first-place advertising awards. The Massachusetts Broadcasters Assoc. awarded the fair’s radio campaign first place in the annual Sound Bites Awards competition, while the Massachusetts Fairs Assoc. awarded the campaign first place in its annual Media Awards competition. The campaign was created by Pat Kelly and Joe O’Rourke of Saga Communications, a broadcast company that owns and operates seven radio stations in Western Mass., including Rock 102, the River 93.9, Lazer 99.3, and Bear Country 95.3. The Three County Fair is the oldest continuous agricultural fair in the U.S and will celebrate its 200th year Labor Day weekend of 2017.

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