SPRINGFIELD — MassDevelopment awarded a $10,000 grant to Blues to Green Inc., which will use the funds to relocate the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival downtown to the Springfield Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) district to help catalyze economic recovery and support black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)-owned businesses in the neighborhood. Festival events will also take place at local parks and businesses, including three emerging black-owned businesses, and will provide employment and exposure opportunities to local Springfield artists.
Blues to Green will also crowdfund this summer; if the organization reaches its $40,000 goal, it will receive an additional $40,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment. The funds are awarded through MassDevelopment’s special Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places, which was made available specifically to assist local economic-recovery efforts as community partners prepare public spaces and commercial districts to serve residents and visitors.
“Before this pandemic, the vibrant centers of our cities and towns were not only a driving force behind the strength of local economies, they were the places where we gathered to dine, to shop, and to be entertained, and the Commonwealth Places program is one way that we can help these areas bounce back stronger than ever,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who chairs MassDevelopment’s board of directors. “The Baker-Polito administration continues to support downtowns and town centers through various economic-recovery programs, and these Resurgent Places grants are providing nonprofit community organizations with the resources to activate public spaces, boost economic activity, and support an equitable recovery.”
Added MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera, “we are proud to support Blues to Green Inc. in this way as it relocates the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival downtown to drive foot traffic to BIPOC-owned businesses,” said. “MassDevelopment is focused on assisting hard-hit neighborhoods as they recover from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. Our Resurgent Places grants will help make it easier for people to come together again for arts and cultural celebrations that benefit both the local economy and the larger community.”