HUB International Acquires Assets of Epstein Financial Group LLC
EAST LONGMEADOW — HUB International Limited, a full-service global insurance broker, announced it has acquired the assets of Epstein Financial Services LLC and Epstein Financial Group LLC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Located in East Longmeadow, Epstein Financial is an independent registered investment advisor providing corporate retirement-plan consulting, compliance, and regulatory guidance, as well as wealth-management services. The agency’s experience and resources help clients maintain a successful retirement program that will assist their employees to achieve financial security. Charlie Epstein, principal and founder of Epstein Financial, will join HUB Retirement and Private Wealth in HUB New England. This move continues to strengthen HUB’s retirement and wealth-management services (HUB RPW) with the addition of talent and resources to develop more comprehensive strategies for clients. HUB RPW works to help plan sponsors create an offering that aligns with their business strategy, navigates fiduciary risk, and helps employees pursue their financial goals. The several registered investment-advisory affiliates in HUB RPW provide investment-advisory services to clients whose total assets are approximately $105 billion. Epstein Financial was represented by the consulting firm Wise Rhino Group for the transaction.
Paragus IT Launches Division to Support Automation Service
HADLEY — Paragus IT has always defined its core services as the ‘three pillars of IT’: on-demand support, security and compliance, and strategic planning. It announced it has launched a new division to support a fourth pillar: automation. A process can be automated if it is repetitive in nature, doesn’t require logical thinking or human intervention for completion, and has the potential for costly human error or inconsistency. Potential automated processes for businesses include appointment booking, employee scheduling and onboarding, issue tracking and resolution, social-media activity, and much more. “Every business has at least a handful of manual processes that could benefit from being completely automated,” Paragus CEO Delcie Bean said. “Automation can substantially save time and money while increasing accuracy, efficiency, and profitability. We are more than an outsourced IT vendor for our clients — we’re a strategic partner. By lightening their workload and eliminating these time-consuming tasks, we’re helping our clients devote additional time and resources to focusing on more important things.”
UMass President Says University to Drive Post-pandemic Recovery
BOSTON — University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan said the university system is emerging from the pandemic period “with its academic, research, and financial strengths fully intact” and positioned to play a major role in driving economic renewal and recovery in the Commonwealth. Speaking at a quarterly meeting of the UMass board of trustees, during which the board approved the university’s operating budget for the coming year, Meehan said there are many signs UMass has weathered the COVID-19 storm and is moving forward in its mission of service to the Commonwealth. For example, the five campuses of the UMass system recently awarded 19,000 degrees to students, the vast majority of whom will live and work in Massachusetts. Meehan projects that student enrollment will remain stable and that each of the UMass campuses will be open to students when the new academic year begins in the fall. The university is also on course to end this fiscal year with a balanced budget and projects a 6% increase in its workforce, bringing staffing back to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile it will use $113 million in federal recovery funds to provide emergency grants to students in need while also freezing tuition for most students for a second consecutive year. Meehan noted that, while the university is currently on firm financial footing, the expiration of federal funding after this fiscal year, combined with ongoing disruption in the higher-education industry nationwide, will require continued vigilance and innovative management in the coming years. UMass expects to receive $258.6 million in total federal stimulus funding. In addition to the $113.5 million that will support student emergency grants, the university will strategically invest $145 million of these one-time funds — available through the end of fiscal year 2022 — to create a financial bridge to future fiscal years with the goal of ensuring financial stability for the long term.
White Lion Brewing Tapped as Partner at Free Music Fridays
SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield announced it will partner with local brewery White Lion Brewing to provide guests a wide selection of craft beer during the resort’s Free Music Fridays concert series at the Plaza. Located in downtown Springfield, the brewing company will activate a bar and beer trailer from 6 to 9 p.m. where guests can tap into local brews while enjoying live music from local musicians. Concerts are scheduled to run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. MGM Springfield kicked off the new concert series on June 4. Local favorites on the schedule this summer include FAT, Brass Attack, Trailer Trash, Darik and the Funbags, and Michelle Brooks-Thompson, among many others. For details on the Free Music Fridays concert series, including lineup updates, visit mgmspringfield.com.
Freedom Credit Union Accepting Donations for Food Bank
SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union is collecting cash donations at its 11 branches throughout the region to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, which leads the fight against food insecurity throughout Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. Donations will be accepted through Saturday, July 31. Since 1982, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has helped provide much-needed food to area residents. It sources products from donations and then supplies it to participating pantries, meal sites, and shelters throughout the region. Its work allows individuals, families, seniors, children, veterans, and people with disabilities to lead healthy and meaningful lives. Based on the donations received in their previous fiscal year, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts was able to provide the equivalent of 12.3 million meals, a significant increase over previous years.
Community Foundation Announces $150,000 Grant to Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley
SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) announced a grant of $150,000, spread over the next three years, to the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley (HRIPV). The grant represents a significant contribution to the initiative’s capital drive to raise $1 million in commitments now to support and build capacity for the organization over the next three years. The multi-year, strategic grant is part of CFWM’s ongoing commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplaces and promote equitable growth in the region. The funding will support HRIPV’s capacity in engaging communities across the state of Massachusetts in its signature two-day training. HRIPV has been in existence since 2012, and more than 1,000 community members have participated in its programming. Funds from the capital drive have also allowed HRIPV to develop a comprehensive online and virtual series of trainings and programming. The Healing Racism initiative will also be resuming in-person training sessions in July. Members of the community interested in participating can learn more and register online at www.healingracismpv.org. The first $50,000 grant to HRIPV will occur in July 2021. According to the Community Foundation, the multi-year funding approach will guarantee revenue stability while HRIPV meets demands for its services and continues its capital-campaign efforts. The Healing Racism Institute is led by Vanessa Otero, one of the co-founders of HRIPV and an original member of the board until assuming the position of interim director in 2020.
Chikmedia Announces Four Scholarship Winners
SPRINGFIELD — Thanks to the generosity of Summerlin Floors, Ryan McCollum of RMC Strategies, and the Springfield Thunderbirds, Chikmedia has chosen four $500 scholarship awardees for its 2021 Chik of the Future scholarships. Chikmedia, a boutique firm offering strategic marketing planning and creative PR, launched its annual scholarship this year to support future generations of marketing professionals. Chikmedia offered four $500 scholarships in 2021, and a variety of local businesses decided to match that scholarship amount. These four scholarships are being awarded to Western Mass. women who are high-school graduates pursuing a college degree in marketing, public relations, communications, or business. Shermarie Hyppolite is pursuing a double major in communication and public relations with the hope to one day become a successful public-relations professional specializing in brand building and storytelling. She aims to have her own public-relations agency that can help uplift brands and create a space in the public-relations industry for women and non-binary people of color. Claudia Gonzalez is currently obtaining her degree in marketing with the goal of working in a television and networking company. Additionally, she will be pursuing her MBA this fall at Bentley University. Kimberley Moore is completing her degree in communications with a concentration in human resource management at DeVry University. As a mother of six daughters, she made a commitment early in their life to instill the importance of education, including hard work and dedication. She is proud to say that all have finished or are still attending college, and it is now her turn to do the same. Saniya Stewart is a full-time student at American International College and a dual-enrollment student at a local community college. She simultaneously attends both colleges, working toward her bachelor’s degree and the prerequisites for a master’s degree in healthcare management. Her goal is to open a nonprofit healthcare facility in her hometown of Springfield to be an advocate for those who truly need a person to lean on.