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SPRINGFIELD — For the second consecutive year, The Enterprise Holdings Foundation has awarded funding to support Square One’s Campaign for Healthy Kids. This year’s gift totaled more than $14,000.

The contribution is made possible through Enterprise Holdings Foundation’s FY22 ROAD (Respect Opportunity Achievement Diversity) Forward program. This is an employee-driven initiative focusing on the improvement of social and racial equity in communities they serve.

In presenting the donation, Shawn Fleming, group Human Resources manager, said, “we are so proud to continue to support Square One in its commitment to providing opportunities for children and families in greater Springfield, for a second year. Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is a company-wide priority for Enterprise Holdings, and we’re committed to strengthening our community with the help of outstanding organizations like Square One.”

“We were beyond excited to learn that Enterprise selected Square One to receive this very generous gift, again this year” said Kristine Allard, vice president of Development & Communication for Square One. “Our success in serving the children and families in our region is dependent upon the generosity of business and individuals who recognize the need to support our important work. We are so grateful to the Enterprise Holdings Foundation for this amazing gift.”

Last summer, Enterprise Holdings launched its inaugural local ROAD Forward grants to nearly 700 nonprofits addressing social and racial equity gaps facing youth and families in local communities.

The Campaign for Healthy Kids is a multi-year fund development initiative focused on Square One’s commitment to providing healthy meals, physical fitness, social-emotional wellbeing, and a healthy learning environment. All funds raised will directly support the children and families who rely on Square One to help meet their early learning and family support service needs. The campaign includes numerous opportunities for businesses and individuals to become involved as donors and partners.

Square One currently provides early learning services to more than 500 infants, toddlers and school-age children each day; and family support services to 1,500 families each year, as they work to overcome the significant challenges in their lives.

Opinion

Editorial

 

When Laura Teicher was hired as director of Greentown Learn in 2018, one of the first things she did was push for a rebrand, a new name that better represented what the enterprise — an offshoot of Greentown Labs in Somerville that connects startups with manufacturers — is all about.

The team tried to get some variation of the word ‘connect’ into the name, almost calling it KINECT before realizing that was the name of a failed Super Nintendo app, as well as too close to K’Nex building toys.

What they eventually settled on was FORGE, which isn’t an acronym; the capital letters are used for emphasis. It was simply, elegant, and forceful, speaking to the way the agency forges relationships between innovators looking to produce and then scale up their big ideas, and manufacturers looking for new, local lines of business.

And that’s exactly what it has done, helping more than 500 startups since 2015, currently engaging more than 450 manufacturers, and supporting more than 4,500 jobs in innovation and manufacturing along the way. The startups in the program boast more than a 90% survival rate; the national average is around 10%.

But, in some ways, FORGE’s name took on a new meaning during the past two and a half years of economic upheaval churned up by the pandemic. It reflects the way this agency forged on, not only continuing to make connections, but re-emphasizing the importance of what it does.

Take the supply-chain crisis. The disruptions of those global production and shipping networks, which continues today, caused many manufacturers to localize their supply chains as much as possible, at the same time that startup companies were increasingly looking to manufacture their products close to home. In that sense, FORGE has become an even more valuable part of the innovation and manufacturing ecosystem.

But even in more stable times, an enterprise like FORGE is simply a good idea, on many levels. So many startups with good ideas fail because they don’t have this kind of resource to guide them into the production and scaling phases that are critical to a business success story. And so many manufacturers aren’t aware of the potential new lines of business sprouting up in their own backyards.

The greatest beneficiary is the regional economy itself. These connections are not only helping businesses grow and thrive, but do so in Massachusetts, and in many cases Western Mass., and that’s good economic news for everyone.

FORGE’s Western Mass. director, Kevin Moforte, told BusinessWest that he loves entrepreneurship, partly because of the role it plays in building not just individual wealth, but prosperous, stable communities. That’s something to celebrate during an era that has been anything but stable.

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