Grant from MassMutual to Facilitate Local Junior Achievement Programs
SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts recently announced a grant from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) that will help deliver critical personal-finance skills to the next generation of Western Mass. youth. Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts was one of four JA Areas across the nation selected to receive a MassMutual grant. “We are thrilled to receive this gift on behalf of our local students,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts. “MassMutual has given tangible proof of its practical commitment to giving young people advantages through financial literacy.” The grant will provide additional elementary- and middle-school programs for students in the community. JA programs help young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Additionally, MassMutual employees will serve as JA volunteers, teaching the JA curriculum and sharing their personal and professional experiences with students. The Junior Achievement mission is a direct correlation with MassMutual’s mission to help families become more confident in their financial decisions and empower them to take control of their financial situations. According to the Council for Economic Education’s “Survey of the States 2011: The State of Economic and Personal Finance Education in our Nation’s Schools,” only 13 states require its schools to teach personal-finance skills to its students. “It is critical to teach our children the skills they need to manage their finances. Learning to make smart financial decisions early in life can help them make the transition to college and financial independence later in life,” said Nick Fyntrilakis, vice president, Community Responsibility. Indeed, college debt is a major concern for the next generation. Currently, more than 60% of all students take out loans, and the average college graduate has more than $24,000 in debt upon graduation, according to the New York Times.
AIC Receives Gold Award for Viewbook
SPRINGFIELD — American International College recently received the Gold Award in the print communications category from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Lynn Saunders, Janelle Holmboe, and Scott Whitney of Florence were recognized for their work on the school’s admissions viewbook. CASE District I annually bestows its Excellence Awards on individuals and schools doing innovative work in the fields of special events, fund-raising, stewardship, volunteer engagement, alumni relations, student-alumni initiatives, advancement services, and communications. Saunders, AIC’s art director and project manager, said the messaging inspired not just the viewbook’s content, but also its visual messaging and editorial tone. “We kept in mind our target demographic and repositioned our piece to be more friendly, accessible, and true to who we are. The bold copy reinforces the visual elements and makes us stand out from many of the pieces we see from other area colleges.” Holmboe, dean of Undergraduate Admissions at AIC, said one of the goals of the viewbook was to reclaim AIC’s image by articulating what the school stands for as an institution of higher education. “We intended to underscore our egalitarian ethos, our history of catering to an underserved population, and our commitment to academic support that would ensure students’ success.” Jennifer Grossman, director of Marketing and Communications at AIC, said the viewbook was a true collaboration between both Enrollment and Marketing. “It is great to see hard work pay off, and for AIC’s accomplishments to be recognized by our peers.”
Armbrook Village Set
for April 1 Opening
WESTFIELD — Armbrook Village, the region’s newest senior-living community, announced that it will open its doors April 1. The facility will be managed by Massachusetts-based Senior Living Residences, with a local management team headed by Executive Director Beth Cardillo. Armbrook Village will feature independent senior apartments with concierge services, service-enriched assisted living, and a state-of-the-art Compass Memory Support Neighborhood, affiliated with Boston University’s School of Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, featuring research-based treatment for those with memory loss. Westfield Mayor Daniel Knapik, who recently toured the facility with other civic and business leaders, said the complex will be an important addition to the local landscape. “Armbrook Village will add vitality to Westfield and our surrounding communities — not just for our seniors, but for other age groups in our local community. The more than 120 residents of Armbrook Village will make use of area amenities such as the YMCA, Noble Hospital, our shopping centers, grocery stores, and restaurants. And they will be involved in the fabric of our community through volunteering and other social and cultural pursuits.”
MassMutual Named a FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Company
SPRINGFIELD — Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) announced that it has once again been named a FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Company in 2013 in the life and health insurance industry and in the state of Massachusetts. Ranked third overall, MassMutual is the most-admired mutual company in the life and health insurance industry category this year. The 2013 FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Company survey was conducted in the fall of 2012 among top executives, directors, and securities analysts in 57 industries. To be named to the World’s Most Admired list, a company’s overall score must rank in the top half of its industry survey. The survey assessed nine reputation drivers considered to be crucial to a company’s global success: financial soundness, long-term investment value, people management, social responsibility, use of assets, quality of management, quality of products and services, innovation, and global competitiveness. “We are honored to be a FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Company again this year, and especially proud to receive a top ranking in the social-responsibility category in recognition of our important contributions in communities across the U.S.,” said Roger Crandall, chairman, president, and CEO of MassMutual. “As a leader in an industry built on trust and accountability, we are pleased to be included among this elite list of admired companies.”
Monson Savings Bank Announces Winners of Community-giving Vote
MONSON — For the third 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 2013. “We received nearly 900 votes for more than 60 different organizations doing community-service work in Monson, Hampden, Wilbraham, and Ware, where we will be opening a branch later this year,” said Steve Lowell, president of Monson Savings Bank. “We were pleased to hear from so many people. It really shows that we live in a community of concerned and committed citizens, and that feels great.” The top vote getters are:
1. River East School-to-Career Inc.
2. Homefront Equestrians
3. Link to Libraries
4. Replanting Monson Tree Committee
5. Monson Bellman Antique Fire Apparatus Club/Museum
6. Blue Star Equiculture
7. Scantic Valley YMCA
8. Greene Room Productions
9. Boy Scouts of Western Massachusetts
10. Two Town Trolley
The organizations have been notified of the good news and will be receiving checks from the bank in the next few weeks. According to Lowell, the list continues to change every year. “Just like last year, four of the 10 organizations were new to the list, and we learned about new groups that we didn’t even know were out there. That reinforces our decision to reach out to ask people for their input. We think that’s part of being a community bank.”
Development Proposals Sought for Allis House
SPRINGFIELD — The Sisters of Providence Health System (SPHS) has issued a formal request for development proposals involving the W.H. Allis House on the Mercy Medical Center campus. The request was initiated with the hope of creating a new use for the landmark, which was slated to be demolished to make way for construction of a $20 million medical office building at the northwest corner of the Mercy campus, near the intersection of Chestnut and Carew streets. Ground was broken for the project last October. The initiative is being developed by Carew Chestnut Partners, and under terms of a construction and land-lease agreement, Carew Chestnut Street Partners will develop and own the building. In recent weeks, discussions between SPHS and members of both public and private historicalpreservation groups have been conducted to gain input about methods for preserving the history of the building. “We remain mindful of the history of the W.H. Allis House and appreciative of the importance of effectively preserving that history, particularly as it relates to the legacy of care provided by the Sisters of Providence,” said Daniel Moen, president and CEO of SPHS. “At the same time, our ongoing role as stewards of our limited resources calls us to continue the transformation of the Mercy campus, ensuring our ability to continue to serve the needs of our community while furthering our mission.” A spokesperson for SPHS said that initial plans for this construction project called for the removal of four structures on the Mercy campus: the maintenance garage, the Mercy Hearing Center building, the St. Mary’s building, and the W.H. Allis House. Three of these buildings are located within the footprint of the medical office building project, while the W.H. Allis House is contiguous to it. “The decision to include the W.H. Allis House in the removal plan came after lengthy discussions and careful consideration,” the spokesperson said. “This difficult decision followed an internal evaluation that determined that the structure was unsafe and unusable, could not be renovated in a financially responsible way, and could not be used for patient care nor be adequately renovated for administrative functions. These findings were further validated by an outside engineering firm that SPHS engaged to assess the structural condition of the building. Steiger Engineering Inc. also determined that the renovation of the structure would be cost-prohibitive at $6 million to $7 million and would not result in a viable medical use. However, after discussions with Springfield city officials and members of the local historical-preservation community, SPHS has agreed to re-evaluate its position on demolition of the W.H. Allis House until such time as it can be reasonably determined if restoration is not only a workable option, but will not impede ongoing transformation of the Mercy campus.” To that end, SPHS was involved in the creation of a task force comprised of SPHS leaders, Springfield city officials, and private citizens who are members of the Springfield Preservation Trust and Preservation Massachusetts, and engaged the services of Greg Farmer, a leading expert on historical preservation, to advise SPHS and the task force on appropriate methods to preserve the history of the Allis House. The Task Force began its work on Jan. 23 and is investigating alternatives to the removal of the building, primarily focused on efforts to secure the involvement of an outside party who would be willing to invest in and oversee its restoration, the spokesperson explained.