Home Posts tagged June 2024
Agenda

Healthcare Heroes Nominations

Through July 29: In the spring of 2017, BusinessWest and its sister publication, the Healthcare News, created a new and exciting recognition program called Healthcare Heroes. It was launched with the theory that there are heroes working across this region’s wide, deep, and all-important healthcare sector, and that there was no shortage of fascinating stories to tell and individuals and groups to honor. That theory has certainly been validated. But there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of heroes whose stories we still need to tell. And that’s where you come in. Nominations for the class of 2024 are due Monday, July 29, and we encourage you to get involved and help recognize someone you consider to be a hero in the community we call Western Mass. in one (or more) of these eight categories: Care Provider, Administrator, Emerging Leader, Community Health, Educator, Innovation, Collaboration, and Lifetime Achievement. Nominations can be submitted at businesswest.com/healthcareheroes/nominations.

 

Dulye Leadership Experience Virtual Leadership Program

June 26: Dulye Leadership Experience will present a Culture Chat titled “The Shift You Need to Make When You Become a Leader.” This free virtual program begins at noon. Prominent LinkedIn leadership voice Evan Hickok will provide tips for avoiding the biggest barriers that cause 60% of new managers to fail within the first 24 months in their role. This one-hour session is ideal for current managers and professionals seeking a future management role. Hickok has leveraged his interest in building high-performing teams into a weekly newsletter, “Lighthouse Leadership,” and content creation on LinkedIn. He has held leadership roles in engineering and manufacturing at General Electric and General Dynamics, and has designed complex systems for the U.S. Navy and served as a program manager for multi-million-dollar projects with demanding customers. Throughout his two-decade experience in major corporations, he has conducted extensive research on the differences between successful and struggling teams. He created an onboarding process for a Fortune 100 company that accelerated the productivity of more than 500 new hires by accelerating their connections. Culture Chat is a career-focused program that fosters conversations and connections with professionals from different industries and companies. The interactive program format features a mini-workshop with the expert followed by small group discussions. Reserve a virtual seat here by visiting www.eventbrite.com/e/dle-culture-chat-the-shift-you-need-to-make-when-you-become-a-leader-registration-907236798687?aff=oddtdtcreator. There is no fee to attend, thanks to the sustained sponsorship of the Dulye & Co. consulting firm.

 

Free Fraud, Scams, and Cybersecurity Seminar

June 26: Monson Savings Bank will host a free seminar from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow. The seminar will be focused on helping attendees from businesses grow their awareness of risks and prevention methods related to fraud, scams, and cybersecurity. In the no-cost seminar, expert speakers Heather Arbour, Monson Savings Bank vice president, BSA/fraud officer, and compliance manager; Paul Shepardson, Monson Savings Bank assistant vice president and digital systems officer; and Charlie Christianson, owner and technology and security professional with CMD Technology Group Inc., will share with attendees how to protect themselves and their businesses from fraud and scams, how to identify scam-prevention methods, how to create a risk assessment for their current business practices, how to develop security procedures for their business and employees, and how to respond to events where a business may be at risk for fraud or a scam.

 

Yidstock

July 11-14: Tickets are now on sale for Yidstock: the Festival of New Yiddish Music. Now in its 12th year, Yidstock brings the best in klezmer and new Yiddish music to the stage at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. Highlights this year will include the Klezmatics, Frank London, Eleanor Reissa, Judy Bressler, Daniel Kahn, and many more. Concert passes are available and include admission to all concerts and the two dance workshops. Individual tickets are also available for purchase for those who can only attend for part of the weekend. This year, livestream concert passes will allow friends from afar to experience Yidstock from the comfort of their homes. These passes only include access to the seven concerts; they do not include access to talks, workshops, or the film screening. Visit yiddishbookcenter.org/yidstock for more information and to purchase tickets.

 

Party for a Purpose

Sept. 19: With the goal of making sure Square One’s children have a new, state-of-the-art, outdoor learning and playspace, Friends on a Mission will host its annual Party for a Purpose to raise funds for the playground project at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center in Springfield. Now in its second year, Friends on a Mission started with a trio of friends — Bob Perry, Walter Tomala, and the late Jenn Schimmel — who set out to spend time together while giving back to the community. Their inaugural event held last fall raised more than $38,000 for Make-A-Wish of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. With early sponsorship support from PeoplesBank and Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C., this year’s Party for a Purpose, featuring cocktails, food, and festivities, will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Delaney House in Holyoke. Interested sponsors should contact Perry at (413) 530-3787. For tickets, visit www.startatsquareone.org.

Company Notebook

Greenfield Savings Bank Donates $50,000 to Iron Horse Music Hall

NORTHAMPTON — Greenfield Savings Bank announced it is making a donation of $50,000 to the Parlor Room Collective in support of its $750,000 capital campaign to revive the Iron Horse Music Hall in downtown Northampton. The Parlor Room Collective, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the health and vitality of the community through the power of music, purchased the Iron Horse last fall and launched a capital campaign to raise funds for renovations and updates to the historic music venue. Updates included expanding to the neighboring storefront at 18 Center St. and putting in 10 bathrooms on the first floor. The Iron Horse reopened its doors to the public for the first time on May 15 to a sold-out crowd with Taylor Ashton and Rachael & Vilray playing to an audience eager to celebrate the return of this beloved venue. Chris Freeman, executive director of the Parlor Room Collective, said the gift from Greenfield Savings Bank will help cover the costs of the extensive renovations that have made the Iron Horse a more accessible space, as well as the startup costs for the restaurant and the staff more than doubling in size to account for the new venue and restaurant. Along with the bar space and bathrooms, Iron Horse updates include flooring, lighting, HVAC, and a new sound system. These updates prioritize the customer and artist experience, making the space more comfortable and accessible than ever before.

 

Kuhn Riddle Rolls Out New Name, Logo

AMHERST — Kuhn Riddle Architects, an Amherst firm established in 1988 by John Kuhn and Chris Riddle, has rolled out its new name and new look. The firm is now Kuhn Riddle Architects & Designers and is headed by its second generation of leadership, President Aelan Tierney and Principals Jonathan Salvon and Charles Roberts. The firm worked with a Northampton-based creative studio, Transit Authority Figures, to develop a logo, signature colors, fonts, and a name that reflects the firm’s foundation, as well as its transitions, growth, and views toward the future. The new Kuhn Riddle logo is built on a simple grid using elemental shapes to create a symmetrical, abstract ‘KR’ monogram. These forms, each consisting of a quarter-circle and a triangle, face each other and together form a square. The new logo reflects Kuhn Riddle’s dedication to smart and creative problem solving rooted in timeless foundational principles. The font used in the new logo recalls the Goudy Old Style used in the original firm logo, yet has its own history, weight, and meaning. The new font, called Martina Plantijn, was developed by the Klim Type Foundry and named after the strong and formidable Dutch businesswomen who ran the Plantin-Moretus publishing house — then the world’s largest — in the early 17th century. As a woman-owned business, Kuhn Riddle takes inspiration from Plantjin’s entrepreneurial spirit and the family-owned company’s legacy of empowering women, which inspired a series of women descendants who went on to manage the business for much of the next three centuries. To complement the new logo, the firm chose deep blue and radiant yellow, color hues that are unique, bright, and friendly.

 

Eversource Named Among Climate Leaders by USA TODAY

BOSTON — For a second consecutive year, Eversource Energy has been recognized by USA TODAY and Statista Inc. as one of America’s Climate Leaders for 2024. Ranked among the top utilities on the list, this distinction highlights the energy company’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions intensity, which is rooted in a commitment to sustainability throughout its operations. The USA TODAY list of America’s Climate Leaders recognizes the top 450 companies across the U.S. that have achieved the greatest reduction in their operational emissions intensity between 2020 and 2022, a measure of the amount of scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gases a company produces relative to its revenue. Following Eversource’s recognition in last year’s list, the company is ranked fourth in the Energy & Utilities category and 173rd overall for 2024.

 

Enlite Cannabis Dispensary Opens in Indian Orchard

INDIAN ORCHARD — Enlite Cannabis Dispensary celebrated the grand opening of its newest location at 479 Main St., Indian Orchard on June 4. The grand-opening event commenced with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring special guests, including state Sen. Adam Gomez, Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Ward 8 City Councilor Zaida Govan. As a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and social-equity dispensary, Enlite is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the cannabis industry. The Indian Orchard location marks Enlite’s second opening in Western Mass., reinforcing the company’s dedication to expanding access to high-quality cannabis products in the region. In conjunction with the grand opening, Enlite hosted a food drive to support the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

 

UMass Amherst to Join NSF SafeInsights Project

AMHERST — The Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst has joined the newly announced U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) SafeInsights, a five-year, $90 million research and development infrastructure for inclusive education research. Led by OpenStax at Rice University, SafeInsights is a large-scale education research hub that will safely connect digital learning platforms and educational institutions to learn about learning. This initiative represents the NSF’s largest single investment in R&D infrastructure for education at a national scale and will be the first national infrastructure of its kind. SafeInsights includes a multi-disciplinary network of 80 collaborating institutions and partners, including major digital learning platforms that currently serve tens of millions of students. Lan and UMass Amherst will join together with researchers and large-scale, digital learning platforms to enable privacy-preserving research studies to better understand student learning. According to national polls conducted by the Data Quality Campaign, 86% of teachers recognize the importance of research in effective teaching. However, the majority of teachers must individually piece together research-informed teaching and learning strategies, often with limited resources. SafeInsights will enable research studies that help researchers understand how students learn best, no matter who they are, what they are learning, or how they are learning. The insights gained can lead to the development of better, research-informed teaching tools and practices, promoting educational equity. SafeInsights stringently protects learner privacy. It uses a unique technique called ‘secure data enclaves,’ which unlocks valuable insights without revealing any student information to researchers or moving student information from the learning tools that it safely lives in today.

 

PeoplesBank Partner NYMBUS Wins FinTech Futures Award

HOLYOKE — FinTech Futures, the global market intelligence platform for financial-services technology, has named NYMBUS the Excellence in Tech winner for Core Banking System at the recent Banking Tech Awards USA ceremony held in New York City. The awards, recognizing the outstanding achievements and successes in the banking and FinTech industry across the U.S., included many of the most well-known and well-respected brands within the industry. Nymbus is a leading technology partner for PeoplesBank. “We are incredibly excited for this recognition for the NYMBUS team and their staff partners here at PeoplesBank,” said Aleda De Maria, executive vice president for Consumer Banking and Operations at PeoplesBank. “We believe that banks need to be able to offer the best technology for their customers, to create a simple banking experience. We are proud to align ourselves with an award-winning tech partner, which has allowed us distinguish ourselves in a competitive category.”

 

Westover Metropolitan Airport Launches New Website

CHICOPEE — Westover Metropolitan Airport announced the launch of its new website, westoverairport.com, designed to streamline the user experience and provide valuable information for travelers, pilots, and aircraft tenants. For close to five decades, Westover Metropolitan Airport has been committed to ensuring safe, convenient, and cost-effective travel. Situated in Chicopee, Westover Municipal Airport’s strategic location offers easy access to major highways. The newly launched website aims to further enhance the airport’s commitment and reputation to exceptional service by providing a user-friendly platform to access essential travel and destination information. Westover Metropolitan Airport benefits from the worldwide reputation of Westover Air Force Reserve Base, but it is important to provide the distinction between the military facility and high-profile operations and the civilian operations. The new website’s focus will help achieve that.

 

Summerlin Floors Makes Donation to Greenfield Community College

AMHERST — Summerlin Floors, woman-owned flooring business based in Amherst, made its annual donation of $2,500 to Greenfield Community College (GCC) in memory of Erin Summerlin, daughter of owner Ann Bronner, who hopes the gift makes a lasting impact and positive contribution toward the educational community. Bronner, a GCC alumna, aims to support the future generation of scholars and give back to the GCC community.

 

Goodwill Receives Grant from Eversource Foundation

PITTSFIELD — Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont announced it has received a grant of $1,200 from the Eversource Foundation for its Soar for Success program. In the last year, Goodwill’s Soar for Success program served 53 individuals with job coaching and other services, while providing 1,168 vouchers for clothing and household items to individuals in need. Goodwill’s Soar for Success job-training program focuses on teaching essential employment skills, provides interview and work-appropriate clothing, and helps community members secure meaningful work. The program is offered free of charge to all Berkshire County residents.

Incorporations

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

AGAWAM

R Q Trotski Inc., 10 Columbus St., Apt. 2, Agawam, MA 01001. Anatolii Trotskovets, same. Home remodeling.

GREENFIELD

Law Office of Mary Anne Royle, PS Inc., 277 Main St., Suite 400, Greenfield, MA 01301. Mary Anne Royle, same. Legal services limited to the issues of federal law.

HOLYOKE

Connect, Develop, Play Inc., 514 Main St., Holyoke, MA 01013. Kimberly Melendez, 22 Mt. Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013. Sports complex offering physical activity, nutrition guidance, athletics mentorship, and tutoring.

Jose Fernando Inc., 98 Lower Westfield Road, Holyoke, MA 01040. Fernando Soto, same. Sales consulting services.

Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 104 Scholarship Fund Corp., 86 Lower Westfield Road, Holyoke, MA 01040. Michael Langone, 91 Chalmers St., Springfield, MA 01118. Raises college scholarship funds and distributes awards to high-school students on the basis of their performance in school, demonstrated interest in the labor movement, and other criteria.

PITTSFIELD

3N Management Corp., 82 Wendell Ave., Suite 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Mikerlange Pierre, 289 Elmwood St., North Attleborro, MA 02760. A parent holding company specializing in the strategic oversight, financial management, and operational support of its subsidiaries in diverse sectors.

Black Tie Protection Services Inc., 82 Wendell Ave., Suite 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Kevin Schroeder, 2 Lake St., Suite 8, Monroe, NY 10950. Provides watch guard, guard, and private investigation services.

Heller Inc., 82 Wendell Ave., Suite 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Robert Heller, same. Consulting services.

Netart Group SRO, 82 Wendell Ave., Suite 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Sergej Masojedov, same. Data-processing travel agency.

Shadowboxing USA Inc., 146 1st St., Pittsfield, MA 01201. Apryl Breeding, 86 Madison Ave., Pittsfield, MA 01201. Nonprofit organization established to engrage in a broad range of strategies to promote community health, education, and development through the engagement of activities.

Zenvibe Collective Ltd., 82 Wendell Ave., Suite 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Qing Tan, same. Trading.

SOUTH HADLEY

M&J Deburring Inc., 27 Foch Ave., South Hadley, MA 01075. Melissa Oslin, same. Metal-finishing services.

SPRINGFIELD

Dragon Castle Inc., 338 Cooley St., Springfield, MA 01128. Mei Nuan Li, same. Restaurant.

Forged by Fire Inc., 180 St. James Ave., Springfield, MA 01109. Donald Coleman, 51 Stuart St., Springfield, MA 01119. Nonprofit organization to aid the homeless and formerly homeless with short-term housing, provide counseling and educational services, and solicit funds to aid in carrying out the mission of the corporation.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Amjad RB Inc., 425 Union St., #18, West Springfield, MA 01089. Mohammad Amjad Burhan, same. Franchise restaurant.

Oliveiras Drywall Corp., 1207 Morgan Road, West Springfield, MA 01089. Werley Teixeira de Oliveira, same. Home improvement and remodeling.

VCV Quality Flooring Inc., 39 Talcott Ave., West Springfield, MA 01089. Valeriu Cojocaru, same. Flooring contractor.

WILBRAHAM

The Valley Impact Project Inc., 63 Soule Road, Wilbraham, MA 01095. Thalvan Bui, same. Nonprofit organization providing financial assistance to individuals and families facing economic challenges who may not qualify for support on a large scale.

Agenda

Quartetto Mosso Concert

June 13: The Springfield Chamber Players will return to the Longmeadow Adult Center with a free performance by Quartetto Mosso at 6 p.m. The performance, held rain or shine, will feature violinists Ronald Gorevic and Beth Welty, violist Delores Thayer, and cellist Yoonhee Ko. Quartetto Mosso is a new Springfield Chamber Players ensemble, which made its premiere in the Berkshires last winter, before presenting a showcase performance in Springfield. The quartet will become the Springfield Chamber Players’ outreach and education performers. The Longmeadow program will include two works by African-American composers, William Grant Still and Florence Price; “Lullaby” by George Gershwin; Antonin Dvořák’s “American Quartet”; and Henry Mancini’s film music for Charade. Tickets are free, but advance reservations are required by calling (413) 565-4150, option 1. In case of rain, only a limited number of people can be accommodated indoors.

 

40 Under Forty Gala

June 20: BusinessWest will celebrate the 18th annual 40 Under Forty at the MassMutual Center in Springfield with fine food, music, networking, and the presentation of the class of 2024, profiled in the April 29 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com. The 40 Under Forty sponsors include presenting sponsor PeoplesBank and partner sponsors the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, Live Nation, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, and Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health. The event will also feature the announcement of the 10th annual Alumni Achievement Award, presented by Health New England. Tickets cost $125 per person and are available at businesswest.com/40-under-forty/40underforty

 

Hooplandia

June 21-23: Registration is now open for Hooplandia, the second annual 3×3 basketball tournament and festival, at www.hooplandia.com. The three-day event includes levels of play for all ages and divisions. Hooplandia launched in 2023. Taking place in the heart of Greater Springfield, the birthplace of basketball, the event is hosted by Eastern States Exposition (ESE) in West Springfield and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Most games will be played on the ESE grounds, with special games held at the Hall of Fame. Seventy-five basketball courts will be set up to accommodate more than 650 games played by approximately 2,100 participants of all ages. Divisions of play have been created to provide an all-inclusive environment for players of all ages and playing abilities. The diverse divisions include young girls, boys, women, men, high-school-level, college-level, OGs, veterans, and more. Players are invited to build teams of four, create their own unique team name and uniforms, and register at www.hooplandia.com.

 

Dulye Leadership Experience Virtual Leadership Program

June 26: Dulye Leadership Experience will present a Cultur Chat titled “The Shift You Need to Make When You Become a Leader.” This free virtual program begins at noon. Prominent LinkedIn leadership voice Evan Hickok will provide tips for avoiding the biggest barriers that cause 60% of new managers to fail within the first 24 months in their role. This one-hour session is ideal for current managers and professionals seeking a future management role. Hickok has leveraged his interest in building high-performing teams into a weekly newsletter, “Lighthouse Leadership,” and content creation on LinkedIn. He has held leadership roles in engineering and manufacturing at General Electric and General Dynamics, and has designed complex systems for the U.S. Navy and served as a program manager for multi-million-dollar projects with demanding customers. Throughout his two-decade experience in major corporations, he has conducted extensive research on the differences between successful and struggling teams. He created an onboarding process for a Fortune 100 company that accelerated the productivity of more than 500 new hires by accelerating their connections. Culture Chat is a career-focused program that fosters conversations and connections with professionals from different industries and companies. The interactive program format features a mini-workshop with the expert followed by small group discussions. Reserve a virtual seat here by visiting www.eventbrite.com/e/dle-culture-chat-the-shift-you-need-to-make-when-you-become-a-leader-registration-907236798687?aff=oddtdtcreator. There is no fee to attend, thanks to the sustained sponsorship of the Dulye & Co. consulting firm.

 

Yidstock

July 11-14: Tickets are now on sale for Yidstock: the Festival of New Yiddish Music. Now in its 12th year, Yidstock brings the best in klezmer and new Yiddish music to the stage at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. Highlights this year will include the Klezmatics, Frank London, Eleanor Reissa, Judy Bressler, Daniel Kahn, and many more. Concert passes are available and include admission to all concerts and the two dance workshops. Individual tickets are also available for purchase for those who can only attend for part of the weekend. This year, livestream concert passes will allow friends from afar to experience Yidstock from the comfort of their homes. These passes only include access to the seven concerts; they do not include access to talks, workshops, or the film screening. Visit yiddishbookcenter.org/yidstock for more information and to purchase tickets.

 

Party for a Purpose

Sept. 19: With the goal of making sure Square One’s children have a new, state-of-the-art, outdoor learning and playspace, Friends on a Mission will host its annual Party for a Purpose to raise funds for the playground project at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center in Springfield. Now in its second year, Friends on a Mission started with a trio of friends — Bob Perry, Walter Tomala, and the late Jenn Schimmel — who set out to spend time together while giving back to the community. Their inaugural event held last fall raised more than $38,000 for Make-A-Wish of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. With early sponsorship support from PeoplesBank and Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C., this year’s Party for a Purpose, featuring cocktails, food, and festivities, will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Delaney House in Holyoke. Interested sponsors should contact Perry at (413) 530-3787. For tickets, visit www.startatsquareone.org.

Company Notebook

Gagne Wealth Management Group Announces Expansion

GREENFIELD — Gagne Wealth Management Group is expanding its footprint with the addition of two financial advisors, three employees, and an expansion that will double its office location at 238 Main St. in Greenfield. The advising firm, which offers comprehensive estate and income planning, retirement solutions, and investment services, has served Franklin County since 2006. The acquisition will expand the reach of Gagne Wealth Management, an affiliate of Northwestern Mutual, and comes after Forbes magazine named Gagne Wealth Management to its Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list for the third consecutive year. Dave Bonomi, Tad Malek, Sam Smith, Jenn Hoffman, and Lane Simmons have joined the team, nearly doubling its size. Gagne said the expansion will not only allow the firm to continue to grow in supporting its clients, but also provide significant local revenue to continue its support of local commerce and nonprofits.

 

Springfield Rotary Partners with Dress for Success on Program to Empower Women

SPRINGFIELD — This year, the Springfield Rotary Club, in partnership with Dress for Success Western Massachusetts, recently launched an initiative aimed at empowering women entering the workforce with essential financial skills and strategies. Spearheaded by Flavia McCaughey, vice president of the FR Investment Group and a Springfield Rotarian, the program addressed the unique challenges faced by these women. Under McCaughey’s guidance, participating women underwent an education program designed to equip them with financial literacy and long-term planning tools. Following the sessions, they had the option to consult with a financial advisor of their choice and apply for a Rotary grant to kickstart their financial journey. Four women received grants of $300 each. Many of the program’s attendees were single parents, for whom this initiative represented a crucial stepping stone toward securing their financial future. Funding for this program was made possible through the support of a district Rotary grant. The initiative culminated in a panel discussion held at White Lion Brewing in Springfield, centered on fostering support networks and promoting financial empowerment. Looking ahead, both the Springfield Rotary and Dress for Success look to expand upon this initiative in the coming year, further extending its reach and impact within the community.

 

Eversource Launches 2024 Main Streets Program

SPRINGFIELD — As part of its ongoing commitment to helping customers across the Commonwealth take control of their own energy use with optimized solutions, Eversource announced it will bring its successful Main Streets program to more than 40 Massachusetts communities in 2024. Through Main Streets, sponsors of Mass Save, including Eversource, partner with municipalities to connect small-business owners with approved contractors that offer no-cost energy assessments to discuss upgrades that lower energy use and reduce costs. Evolving from a small, Eversource-only initiative, Main Streets has continued to grow over the years, with more than half of all planned events in communities across the Commonwealth in 2024 in collaboration with other sponsors of Mass Save, including several events outside the Eversource service territory organized solely by other sponsors. Through Main Streets, customers have saved on average nearly 13 million kWh per year — equivalent to the greenhouse-gas emissions saved from recycling over 3,000 tons of waste — as well as more than 100,000 therms of natural-gas savings annually. This year, Eversource will continue building on that success through close collaboration with local community partners, multilingual marketing efforts, and language support at in-person events.

 

Thunderbirds Raise $40,000 for Rays of Hope

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Thunderbirds announced a donation of $40,000 to Rays of Hope thanks to proceeds from the live jersey auction during the T-Birds’ seventh annual Pink in the Rink game on March 9. Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa and Vice President of Sales & Strategy Todd McDonald presented a check to Rays of Hope earlier this spring inside the MassMutual Center. This year’s Pink in the Rink game, as has become tradition, set new records for total funds generated, and fans at the MassMutual Center came out in full force with a seventh straight Pink in the Rink sellout crowd of 6,793. Established in T-Birds’ inaugural season in 2016-17, Pink in the Rink celebrates the commencement of Rays of Hope fundraising efforts each March to shine a light on breast-cancer awareness outside the traditional October awareness month. Every year, the fundraising efforts culminate in the annual Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer in October in Springfield. Since the establishment of this staple night, the Thunderbirds have generated more than $140,000 for the Rays of Hope Foundation, all of which stays local in Western Mass. in pursuit of a cure. Since its inception in 1994, Rays of Hope has raised more than $17.2 million to support women and men living in Western Mass. touched by breast cancer. Funds also support vital research at the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research. This year’s Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer will be held on Sunday, Oct. 27.

 

Hampden County Chambers Unite to Support Food Bank

CHICOPEE — The East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce, West of the River Chamber of Commerce, Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, and Springfield Regional Chamber all came together on March 27 to support the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The event, which took place at the new Food Bank headquarters in Chicopee, was an evening of networking showcasing the new building to the community while giving area chamber members the opportunity to meet for a good cause. The event raised $10,863 and 1,400 pounds of food, which will provide more than 30,000 meals to local people in need. Event sponsors included Baystate Health, Country Bank, KNF&T, the Latino Economic Development Center, PeoplesBank, Westfield Gas & Electric, Andrews Associates, Comcast, Commercial Distributing, the Employers Assoc. of New England, the Markens Group, Polish National Credit Union, Blaze Express, the Center for EcoTechnology, Development Associates, Florence Bank, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Holiday Inn Ludlow, Holyoke Gas & Electric, MassHire Holyoke, and Park Square Realty.

 

Girls Inc. of the Valley Receives $80,000 for STRIVE Program

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced $480,000 in grant funding to six community-based organizations for the Successful Teens: Relationship, Identity, and Values Education (STRIVE) program. STRIVE is a DPH initiative that teaches youth (ages 10-15) personal responsibility, leadership skills, and healthy decision making, while preventing future youth risk behaviors. One of the grant recipients is based in Western Mass.: Girls Inc. of the Valley in Holyoke. The others are the Boys and Girls Club of South Boston, Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, the Edinburg Center in Bedford, Girls Inc. of Lynn, and Lowell Community Health Center. Each of the six organizations will receive $80,000 to increase youth connections to caring and trusted adults in their communities; increase protective factors for youth, such as school and community engagement; increase internal and external developmental assets, such as caring and honesty, positive peer influence, and community support; decrease risky youth behavior in later teenage years; and increase educational and economic opportunities through greater connection to community resources, increased school connectedness, and positive internal and external developmental assets. The STRIVE program aims to reach kids early in adolescence to promote healthy choices and maximize life opportunities, instilling the skills needed to thrive in high school and beyond. Grantees are expected to focus on one of three priority populations: youth who identify as Black or Hispanic; LGBTQ+ youth, or youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

 

Rachel’s Table Receives $30,000 from Antonacci Family Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Rachel’s Table of Western Massachusetts announced a $30,000 donation from the Antonacci Family Foundation to support the organization’s refrigerated van delivery program. Both organizations celebrated the announcement with an event in Springfield to unveil the addition of the foundation’s name to the van. Since the inception of the refrigerated van in October 2022, more than 1.1 million pounds of healthy food has been distributed to agencies and individuals across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties by Rachel’s Table. The van has enabled Rachel’s Table to deliver perishable and nutrient-dense items like meat, milk, and cheese more frequently and more equitably in greater quantities across its service area. This donation will help further expand its reach by providing funding to support staffing, maintenance, and fuel for the van. Each month, the refrigerated van delivers more than $100,000 worth of nutritious meat. The van helped double Rachel’s Table’s distribution of primarily meat, dairy, and produce. In 2023 alone, the organization gleaned and donated 71% more farm-fresh produce to more than 90 recipient partners and agencies, adding 19 more food donors and seven more agencies throughout three Western Mass. counties. Fifty percent of those agencies are not served by other food-access programs.