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PVPC Receives Award from PolicyLink to Advance Equity Agenda

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), on behalf of LiveWell Springfield, is one of just six organizations across the country to receive an award from the Leadership Conference Education Fund and PolicyLink to advance affordable, accessible transportation policy.

PVPC will use the funds to embed transit-equity principles into LiveWell Springfield, and will host local activities to engage, educate, and empower local leaders within communities of color to lift up the Equity Caucus agenda locally and federally. Specifically, PVPC is collaborating with Joseph Krupczynski and the Center for Design Engagement, Natalia Muñoz of Verdant Multicultural Media, and Evelín Aquino to expand the successful capacity-building sessions implemented in 2014 for emerging leaders in Springfield. (For a summary of this work, visit www.pvpc.org/content/new-video-building-skills-equity-and-engagement-planning).

“When we completed our three-and-a-half-year, HUD-funded equity and engagement work last year, we knew we needed more funding to expand our capacity-building workshops,” explained Catherine Ratté, principal planner and section manager at PVPC. “Our civic-engagement goal is not just to engage individuals from under-represented groups, but also to create pathways for them into positions of power. Participation in democracy, especially from communities that are too often left out, brings important voices to the table and makes sustainable growth and development possible.”

Equitable transportation investments are crucial to connecting people to jobs, educational opportunities, affordable housing, healthcare, and other basic needs. Through a coalition of more than 100 organizations, the Transportation Equity Caucus is charting a new course for transportation investments, focused on policies that advance economic and social equity in America. For more information, see www.equitycaucus.org.

Live Well Springfield, a movement to promote healthy eating and active living, has been working for the last few years putting systems into action that support safe and friendly walking and biking. As part of LiveWell Springfield’s work in 2012-14, PVPC facilitated creation of the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Complete Streets Plan, implementation guide, Complete Streets policy draft, and Complete Streets buildout plan and map (www.livewellspringfield.org).

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