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Four Nonprofits to Share Space at GCC’s Downtown Center

GREENFIELD — Four nonprofit organizations that serve Western Mass. will share office space at Greenfield Community College’s Downtown Center as a base for building stronger relationships with the people and organizations of Franklin County. The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, Leadership Pioneer Valley, and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts will each staff the office one day a week.

“In general, the idea behind this partnership is that we are stronger together,” said Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Mass. (CFWM). “We’re all better, more effective, and more well-informed when we can share our resources, information, and energy.”

She noted that the Community Foundation has had an office at the GCC Downtown Center since January 2014. “GCC President Bob Pura generously provided us with a space where we could hold regular office hours, offer training opportunities, and have donor conversations that would be more convenient for those we served in the Upper Valley. This has resulted in many, many more conversations and, thus, more learning about the specific issues and needs in Franklin County.”

Allan Zobel continued, “we realized that other organizations serving the Pioneer Valley without offices in Franklin County might also benefit from using this space. Since the CFWM was only using the office one or two days a week, it seemed obvious that others could benefit from sharing the space with us. Bob agreed. After several conversations, the groups selected days of the week each would hold office hours and one day a month when all the groups would gather to update each other on work and to explore possible collaborations.”

Pura, applauding the new collaboration, added, “this is a win for each organization, a win for the community, and especially a win for those who will benefit directly from this collaboration. As I have said on many occasions, this community is a best practice for collaborations, and this adds to that body of evidence.”

Lora Wondolowski, executive director of Leadership Pioneer Valley, noted that “Leadership Pioneer Valley is committed to the whole region, but having a primary address in Springfield can be offputting for those in Franklin County. We look forward to expanding our presence in the community and to getting beyond the traditional boundaries that separate Western Mass. counties and organizations. I believe there is power in this collaboration that will be greater than the sum of what each organization is doing individually.”

Added Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Economic Development Council, “it is important to have a physical presence in Franklin County and to build working relationships with the leaders, businesses, and citizens of the County. Bob Pura has been very helpful in providing this opportunity for our four organizations to have a base in Franklin County.”

Finally, Elizabeth Barajas-Román, CEO of the Women’s Fund, said that “Franklin County residents can teach us a lot about how to work together for greater impact. This partnership with like-minded organizations is a terrific example of how we are deepening our understanding of the region and each other.”

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