UMass System Generates $8.3 Billion in Economic Activity
AMHERST — The five-campus University of Massachusetts system generated a record $8.3 billion in economic activity and supported nearly 40,000 external jobs across Massachusetts, according to a new Donahue Institute report. The analysis found that the economic impact generated by the five-campus UMass system translates into a 9-to-1 return on the state investment in the university. According to the report, each of the five university campuses generated a significant economic impact for its region and the state. The major drivers of economic impact are student, faculty, and staff spending; construction projects; and the university’s purchase of goods and services required for university operations. Besides the spending captured in the economic-impact formula, the report highlights several other UMass contributions to the Massachusetts economy. For example, more than 330,000 of the university’s alumni live in Massachusetts, contributing skills and knowledge to the economy, purchasing goods and services from Massachusetts businesses, and paying local and state taxes. Each year, the university’s five campuses award approximately 20,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees, and nearly three-quarters of its undergraduates are working in Massachusetts five years after graduation. Furthermore, the university’s five campuses house more than 90 core research facilities that are made available to small and medium-sized Massachusetts companies to accelerate their job-creating research and development activity; users of the core facilities make a $364 million contribution to the Massachusetts’ economy, beyond the $8.3 billion cited in the report. The university’s $813 million research enterprise — the third-largest behind Harvard and MIT in Massachusetts — results in patents and technology licensing that creates jobs in established companies and forms the basis for startup companies. In FY 2022, UMass inventions generated $41 million in licensing revenue for the university and 242 patent applications. Finally, UMass campuses attract thousands of people for campus tours, conferences, performances, and sporting events, generating significant economic benefits through spending for transportation, restaurants, lodging, cultural attractions, and retail shops.
Girls Inc. of the Valley Receives $2 Million Earmark
HOLYOKE — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal recently joined Girls Inc. of the Valley Executive Director Suzanne Parker to announce a $2 million earmark to support the renovation of the Girls Inc. of the Valley headquarters and program center. The allocation was made possible through congressionally directed spending from the Department of Education. Neal included funding for this project in the FY 2023 spending bill that was signed into law on Dec. 29, 2022. With this funding, Girls Inc. of the Valley will be able to complete the $7 million renovation of its 16,000-square-foot facility at 480 Hampden St. in Holyoke. Their new location will serve as their permanent headquarters and program center where it will serve more than 1,000 girls from underserved communities. Students in the organization range from ages 5 to 18 and participate in programs offered year-round to help them make better decisions about their health and lifestyles, set and achieve higher academic goals, and put themselves on track to lead independent, successful lives.
Longtime Listener Bequeaths $3 Million to NEPM
SPRINGFIELD — The late Walter Wolnik of Amherst has bequeathed New England Public Media $3 million, the largest gift in NEPM’s history. The transformational gift will support NEPM’s ongoing commitment to presenting classical music on the radio in Western Mass., with a specific focus on access to classical music overnight. Wolnik passed away on Sept. 20, 2022 at the age of 76. He was born and raised in Indian Orchard, where he attended a local high school before graduating from Harvard University in 1969. Wolnik then studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a systems programming consultant for labs at several hospitals in the Boston area and spent a significant portion of time researching and managing his investments. He lived in Newton before moving to Amherst in 2000, where he was active in local politics and enjoyed gardening. He was a longtime listener to NEPM and was especially fond of classical music in the overnight hours.
Berkshire Bank Foundation Donates $426,000 in Third Quarter
BOSTON — Berkshire Bank announced more than $426,000 in Berkshire Bank Foundation philanthropic investments during the third quarter of 2023 in communities Berkshire Bank serves. According to foundation Director Lori Gazzillo Kiely, “the Berkshire Bank Foundation is committed to supporting programs that provide equitable opportunities for economic prosperity. During the third quarter of 2023, we assisted 124 nonprofit organizations with funding to support community needs. In addition, we supported programs that align with Berkshire Bank’s Center for Women, Wellness, and Wealth that provides opportunities for women to build a future enriched with financial stability, balance, and growth.”
Freedom Credit Union Raises More Than $2,700 for Food Bank
SPRINGFIELD — Throughout the months of July and August, Freedom Credit Union raised more than $2,700 through its annual summer food drive for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. In addition to cash donations, Freedom also collected non-perishable food items. Since 1982, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has helped provide much-needed food to area residents in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. It sources its products from donations, which it distributes to participating pantries, meal sites, and shelters throughout the region.
United Way Opens Holyoke Community Cupboard
SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) opened its Holyoke Community Cupboard on Nov. 2 at 164 Race St. in Holyoke. The result of a partnership among Holyoke Community College (HCC), the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, and United Way of Pioneer Valley, this new food pantry will have the capacity to serve many Holyoke residents, as well as neighbors in nearby towns. The Holyoke Community Cupboard is located within the Culinary Arts Institute building on Race Street, an area identified as a food desert in the city. UWPV and HCC are excited to use the Culinary Arts Institute space to build collaborative solutions to food insecurity.
Happier Valley Comedy Awards ‘Free Happiness’ to Nonprofits
HADLEY — The Happier Valley Comedy board of directors announced their selection of two Western Mass. nonprofits as the fall 2023 recipients of its Free Happiness Program: Community Health Center of Franklin County (CHCFC) and Transhealth. The Free Happiness Program offers a free Happier Valley Comedy private event, such as a professional-development event or private improv show, to local nonprofit organizations that benefit underrepresented, underserved, and/or BIPOC individuals and communities. Community Health Center of Franklin County is a nonprofit agency operating medical clinics in Greenfield and Orange to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status. It will use its award to bring a professional-development event called “An Improviser’s Guide to Building Resilience & Connection” to its fall retreat. Transhealth is a trans-led Northampton medical center that provides affirming and empowering healthcare services to transgender and gender-diverse individuals and their families. It will use its award to help support the staff’s continued work in healthcare, advocacy, and education in the local trans community. Applications for the Free Happiness Program are accepted on a rolling basis and awarded twice a year. Any organization who would like to be considered for future awards must be a registered 501(c)(3) and can apply at www.happiervalley.com/free-happiness. The next round of awards will be presented in the spring of 2024.
Bulkley Richardson Named 2024 Best Law Firm in 14 Practice Areas
SPRINGFIELD — Best Lawyers, in partnership with U.S. News and World Report, ranks Bulkley Richardson as 2024 Best Law Firm in the Springfield region in the following 14 practice areas: banking and finance law, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, business organizations (including LLCs and partnerships), commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense – general practice, criminal defense – white collar, employment law, litigation – labor and employment, medical-malpractice law – defendants, personal-injury litigation – defendants, real-estate law, tax law, and trusts and estates law. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer included in the list of Best Lawyers. Bulkley Richardson has 15 lawyers included on the 2024 Best Lawyers list, and two of the firm’s partners, Michael Burke and John Pucci, were named 2024 Springfield-area Lawyers of the Year. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from leading attorneys in their field.