Health New England Awards $400,000 to Three Nonprofits
SPRINGFIELD — Health New England (HNE) awarded $400,000 in grants to help three nonprofit organizations improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in Western Mass. The grants, made via HNE’s Where Health Matters grant program, will allow Wellspring Cooperative’s GoFresh Mobile Farmers’ Market, Girls on the Run of Western Massachusetts, and the Care Center’s Roqué House Program to expand needed programs focusing on food, girls’ health, and supporting mothers seeking college educations, respectively. The Wellspring Cooperative’s GoFresh Mobile Farmers’ Market aggregates fresh local produce and delivers it through pop-up markets at low-income housing sites, senior centers, health clinics, and community organizations. The three-year, $150,000 grant will enable Wellspring to double the number of people it provides access to fresh, healthy, local foods; enact a pilot program to expand the GoFresh farmers market throughout winter (the current program operates from May to October), providing year-round access to health foods; partner with local health clinics to establish a food-referral program that meets the needs of patients with chronic conditions through education and access to healthy foods; and continue to support minority and immigrant farmers via the Wellspring Harvest greenhouse program in the Indian Orchard neighborhood. Girls on the Run of Western Massachusetts helps girls develop essential social, emotional, and physical skills to successfully navigate life experiences and prepares them physically and mentally to participate in a celebratory 5K run. The two-year, $100,000 grant will enable the organization to double the number of chapters of the popular program and expand into Holyoke and Chicopee. The Care Center’s Roqué House Program provides stable housing for young parents, primarily women of color, working toward a college degree, as well as their children. The three-year, $150,000 grant will fund an artist in residence and counselor for families who live in Roqué House. Health New England’s Where Health Matters grant program, now in its fourth year, has invested $1.2 million in nonprofits in Western and Central Mass. Health New England also partners with each awardee via volunteering and advising to help them thrive.
Smith Brothers Insurance Acquires Oxford Insurance
EASTHAMPTON — Effective Nov. 1, Smith Brothers Insurance, with an office in Easthampton, has acquired Oxford Insurance Agency, an independent insurance agency in Oxford. The acquisition expands the company’s footprint in Massachusetts and allows Oxford Insurance to maintain its local presence while leveraging the resources of Smith Brothers Insurance. Brian Ravenelle, who was CEO of Oxford Insurance, will become a partner of Smith Brothers Insurance and will stay fully engaged in client service, business development, and in serving clients with the same team of insurance professionals. All Oxford Insurance team members will be joining Smith Brothers. Smith Brothers Insurance has more than 200 team members in locations across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
HCC Named One of State’s Top Women-led Businesses
HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been named one of the top women-led businesses in Massachusetts for 2021 by the Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit that supports female business leaders. The Institute’s 21st annual rankings of the “Top 100 Women-led Businesses in Massachusetts” were announced on Nov. 5 during a Zoom celebration attended by HCC President Christina Royal. Royal and HCC were ranked at number 50. The full list was published Nov. 6 in a special “Women and Power” edition of the Boston Globe Magazine. Royal has been the president of HCC since January 2017. She is the fourth president in HCC’s 75-year history and the first woman to hold that position. Also on the list at number 55 is HCC alumna and Westfield native Linda Markham, president and chief administrative officer of Cape Air and Nantucket Airlines, based in Hyannis. To compile the list, the Commonwealth Institute examined revenue or operating budgets for each organization as well as other variables, including number of full-time employees in the state, workplace and management diversity, and innovative projects.
YMCA of Greater Springfield Awarded $25,000 Comcast Grant
SPRINGFIELD — The YMCA of Greater Springfield, in partnership with Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, announced it received a $25,000 grant from Comcast to support digital-literacy programming and access to the internet at the YMCA’s North End Youth Center, which also features a Comcast Lift Zone. Comcast has installed more than 1,000 WiFi-connected Lift Zones across the country, with 64 located across Massachusetts. These Lift Zones, which are based in community centers like the YMCA of Greater Springfield, have helped students stay connected and get online to do their schoolwork and more. Free WiFi connectivity is essential to many youth in Springfield, including the teens the YMCA serves at its North End Youth Center on Dwight Street. “This grant from Comcast will support technology programming and digital skills training for teens here at our North End Youth Center technology lab,” said Dexter Johnson, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield. “Our goal is to teach virtual coding and robotics in our after-school teen program, components of which include computer programming, information technologies, and video-game design.” The after-school teen programming at the YMCA is funded by community support and hosts more than 300 teens each year. There will be at least 60 openings available for teens to participate in the upcoming coding and robotics program.
Forbes Names Big Y Best-in-state Employer
SPRINGFIELD — For the third year in a row, Big Y has been recognized as a Forbes Best-in-state Employer for 2021. Forbes America’s Best-in-state Employers have been identified across all industries based upon an independent survey of employees who anonymously recommend their employers for this award. Employers such as Big Y have no knowledge of which employees are polled, nor do they have the ability to influence the results in any way. According to Forbes, employees are asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. Employees are also asked to give their opinions on a series of statements surrounding work-related topics such as working conditions, salary, potential for development, and company image regarding their current employer. Big Y’s award spans 25 different industries. Big Y has also been named among Forbes Best in State for Diversity, Forbes Best Employers for Women, and Forbes America’s Best Large Employers.
Springfield College Launches $50 Million Campaign
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College hosted an official kickoff event for Advancing Humanics: The Campaign for Springfield College on Nov. 12 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Center Court. Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper officially introduced the comprehensive campaign, which supports the Springfield College Humanics philosophy, which is to educate the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others. Cooper provided an overview of the campaign goal of $50 million. Advancing Humanics is being co-chaired by trustees Gregory Toczydlowski and Michele Megas-Ditomassi. Trustee emerita Helen Davis Blake, co-chair of the last Springfield College campaign, is serving as the honorary campaign chair. Gifts collected during the Advancing Humanics campaign will have a direct effect on every aspect of campus life, and the financial support will provide immediate assistance to the most critical needs of Springfield College, including scholarship resources for students and the new Health Sciences Center.
U.S. News Bestows Best Law Firm Designation to Three Area Firms
SPRINGFIELD — U.S. News & World Report selected three Springfield-based firms for its 2022 Best Law Firms listing. Bulkley Richardson was named a Best Law Firm in the Springfield region in the following 11 practice areas: bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, banking and finance law, commercial litigation, corporate law, criminal defense: general practice, criminal defense: white-collar, litigation – labor and employment, medical malpractice law – defendants, personal injury litigation – defendants, tax law, and trusts and estates law. Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin has been recognized for Tier 1 metropolitan designations in Springfield in the areas of banking and finance law, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, corporate law, elder law, and trusts and estates law. It is also recognized for Tier 2 metropolitan designations in Springfield in the areas of business organizations (including LLCs and partnerships) and tax law. Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. was awarded a Metropolitan Tier 1 ranking in employment law – management, labor law – management, and litigation – labor and employment. Law firms that are honored on the U.S. News Best Law Firms list are ranked based on a careful evaluation process that includes the collection of evaluations from lawyers and clients, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and other additional information that law firms provide as part of the formal submission process.
Freedom Commits $15,000 to BFMC’s New Department of Family Medicine
SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union has made a $15,000 commitment — $3,000 per year over five years —to support a new family-medicine residency program designed to attract and retain young physicians to Franklin County. Led by founding Chair Dr. Robert Baldor, the Department of Family Medicine is a partnership between Baystate Franklin Medical Center and UMass Chan Medical School – Baystate. The residency will be housed at the Greenfield Family Medicine Practice at 48 Sanderson St., which is adjacent to Baystate Franklin Medical Center and easily accessible to the Greater Greenfield community. Family medicine physicians are trained to treat all members of a family, from children to adults and seniors, diagnosing and treating a wide range of ailments and providing preventive care. Four new residents will be welcomed annually into the three-year training program (12 in total). They will learn from the physicians at Baystate Franklin Medical Center and specialists from Franklin County and other Baystate Health facilities. The first class of four residents will arrive in June 2022. Freedom’s $15,000 donation is among $245,700 that has been donated in support of the hospital’s $4.2 million investment in creating a state-of-the-art clinical/teaching facility at 48 Sanderson St. Two education grants from the federal government will support the program as well, including a $750,000 Health Resources & Services Administration grant and an Area Health Education Center grant for $100,000.
Uvitron International Launches New, Enhanced Website
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Uvitron International Inc., a designer and manufacturer of high-performance UV light curing systems and accessories, recently launched a new website — uvitron.com — offering streamlined navigation and improved quoting capabilities, among other features. Uvitron was established as a developer and manufacturer of switch-mode power supplies for light curing systems, developing the first electronic arc lamp power supply. The company has since evolved into a total solutions provider of light curing systems and accessories. In addition to enhanced navigation and quoting capabilities, the new site also features more comprehensive product information, applications by industry, and information about services and capabilities, such as application analysis, sample testing, and demo units.
BHN’s Kamp for Kids Receives $5,000 Grant from Westfield Bank
WESTFIELD — Behavioral Health Network Inc. (BHN) announced it has received a grant of $5,000 from Westfield Bank’s Future Fund Program to benefit Kamp for Kids, the organization’s summer day camp for children and young adults with and without disabilities. Westfield Bank, a longtime supporter of BHN’s Kamp for Kids, established the Future Fund in 2002 as a response to overwhelming community needs and the shrinking sources of corporate philanthropy. It prioritizes funding to 501(c)(3) educational, recreational, cultural, and social-service programs that serve Westfield Bank’s market area. Grants made to Kamp for Kids provide camperships to youth with or without disabilities to ensure that all children, regardless of family income, are able to attend camp.