Page 95 - BusinessWest May 12, 2021
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Healing Racism Institute Receives
$300,000 from MassMutual Foundation
SPRINGFIELD — The Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley (HRIPV ) announced it has received
a $300,000 grant from the MassMutual Founda- tion, serving as lead gift for the launch of a $1 mil- lion, three-year capital fund drive for the institute. The Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley was formed in 2012; since then, more than 1,000 people from Western Mass. and throughout Massachusetts have participated in its signature, two-day Healing Racism program. HRIPV was formed as a result of the City2City of Pioneer Valley visit to Grand Rapids, Mich. in 2011, where area leaders discovered a simi- lar model embedded in the Greater Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. With the announcement
of the MassMutual Foundation grant, HRIPV has reached $450,000 in commitments over the next three years, with substantial contributions coming from the Beveridge Foundation and the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation. In addition to its signature two-day training seminars, HRIPV offers half- and full-day board and staff training and cohort develop- ment whereby the institute provides tools and train- ing, allowing organizations to continue the internal process of examining racism and its impact on orga- nizations and the larger community. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HRIPV has developed a completely online curriculum to sustain and grow
its reach and impact. Funding from the capital cam- paign will help the institute identify a permanent home, add critical staff, expand facilitator training, and provide scholarships for individuals unable to afford participation in the two-day signature session and related programming. Holyoke Community Col- lege has served as a critical partner by hosting most of the two-day trainings over the past eight years of operation.
Environmental Integrity Rebrands as ZEEP Technology
SOUTH HADLEY — Since 2007, Environmental Integ- rity has provided eco-friendly electronic recycling solutions for area businesses. Founder Steve Czepiel has always stayed true to the mission of creating a sustainable, forward-thinking company that can adapt to an ever-changing industry. As his daughter Kristina took on a larger role, they decided it was time for a brand that represented the future. “When the time came to rebrand, we wanted a fresh, bold name that reflected the progressive, woman-owned compa- ny we have evolved into over the years,” said Kristina Czepiel Dearborn, CEO of ZEEP Technology. “ZEEP also drives home the fact that we are a family busi- ness. Because of our last name, my father and I have been nicknamed ‘Zeep’ all our lives. Now the whole company answers to it.” ZEEP Technology maximizes product reutilization through repair, remarketing, and recycled materials. In an age of high security risks and data breaches, ZEEP also provides peace of mind through complete data destruction.
MCLA Receives $28,000 Grant from Massachusetts DHE
NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has received a $28,720 Higher Educa- tion Innovation Fund Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), which recently announced a slate of $1.7 million in grants for the state’s public colleges. These grants fund ini- tiatives that help colleges work toward racial equity in Massachusetts public higher education. The grant will allow the MCLA Department of Public Safety to work with a consulting firm specializing in improving
police departments’ relationships with their commu- nities. The consultant will work with MCLA to devel- op an interactive training module for the Department of Public Safety with the goal of increasing cultural competency and engagement of its officers and staff with the MCLA community. Most of the grant propos- als funded by DHE seek to provide faculty and staff equity training for transforming campus pedagogy, syllabi, curriculum, and campus life, with the goal of making the institution a truly nurturing environment for students of color.
UMass Board of Trustees Approves In-state Tuition Freeze for 2021-22
BOSTON — The University of Massachusetts board of trustees voted to approve UMass President Marty Meehan’s proposal to freeze tuition for all in-
state undergraduate and graduate students
at UMass Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and
Lowell for the 2021-22 academic year. The vote
marks the second consecutive year of tuition
and mandatory fee freezes at UMass for in-
state undergraduate and graduate students. The Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses also froze out-of-state student tuition. The net price of a UMass education — price minus financial aid — remains consistent with other New England public land-grant universities and 31% below peer private institu-
tions. In addition to a tuition freeze, the university increased its institutionally funded financial aid to a record high of $352 million this fiscal year. This aid, which is funded directly by the university, accounts for 40% of the total aid UMass students receive and is comprised primarily of scholarships and grants. Since 2015, institutional aid has increased by $116 million, or 49%. At least 25% of UMass students at each cam- pus receive Pell Grants. The Higher Education Emer- gency Relief Fund is projected to provide $23 million to UMass to further support students, and last year’s CARES Act provided $23 million in direct aid to stu- dents. These grants are not considered or included as financial aid.
Holyoke Community College to Freeze Student Fees
HOLYOKE — Citing the financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Holyoke Commu- nity College (HCC) board of trustees voted to freeze student fees for the upcoming academic year. The vote, which was 8-0, locks HCC’s educational service fee at $188 per credit and the student service fee at $145 per semester for fiscal year 2022, which begins July 1. Over the past five years, HCC has raised fees by about 5% annually. Tuition for all community colleges in Massachusetts is set by the state. At HCC, tuition
is $24 per credit, a number that has not changed in more than 10 years. Since the pandemic began, HCC has received more than $3.7 million in higher-educa- tion relief funds for direct student financial support. That has enabled HCC to provide $550 block grants to every student enrolled for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters. Those grants, and other incentives, are likely to be available again for the fall 2021 semes- ter. In addition, HCC has received more than $7 mil- lion in stimulus money to cover additional expenses incurred during the pandemic.
Center Park in Chicopee Holds Ribbon Cutting
CHICOPEE — Center Park, coined a “Swiss army knife of a park” for Chicopee business owners and entrepreneurs, hosted an official ribbon cutting on April 23. The quarter-acre lot, with pea gravel landing
and 10-foot picnic tables, is canopied by four golden shade sails and aims to attract food-truck festivities, outdoor gatherings, and exercise classes over the coming summer months. Born out of the Chicopee Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Partner- ship’s revitalization efforts in downtown Chicopee, and spearheaded by the city of Chicopee, the Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, business owners, and residents, the park aims to uplift Chicopee Cen- ter by creating alternative space for economic activity, partnership, and community. The project was made possible with the help of $10,000 from MassDevelop- ment’s Transformative Development Initiative and $10,000 from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program. Chicopee TDI fellow Andrea Monson has played an integral part in site development by raising community voices, visioning with key stake-
Company Notebook
holders, and pinpointing the need for more vibrant, active sites available for business-owner use in the district. Julie Copoulos, executive director of the Greater Chicopee Chamber, noted that A. Crane Con- struction, Interstate Towing Inc., Gasoline Alley Foun- dation, and the Ondrick Co. independently donated time and resources to get the project over the finish line.
Big Y Reports 2.4 Million Meals Donated to Food Banks
SPRINGFIELD — To facilitate this past season of giv- ing food to those in need, Big Y converted its Sack Hunger campaign from a $10 bag of groceries to a streamlined $5 donation to the five food banks within its marketing area. These regional food banks — the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the Worces-
ter County Food Bank, and the Greater Boston Food Bank in Massachusetts, as well as Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank in Connecticut — sup- port local soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs, children’s programs, and more for the 2,100 member agencies they serve every day. Dur- ing November and December, Big Y customers and employees contributed almost $300,000 to help their friends and neighbors in their communities.
In order to expand their support, Big Y matched this contribution bringing the total up to $600,000 or
2.4 million meals. This past year has seen dramatic increases in food insecurity throughout the region. Big Y’s Sack Hunger donation is part of its ongoing support throughout the year, including almost daily donations of meat, fresh produce, and bakery items, along with grocery, frozen, and dairy items. And based the pandemic challenges of the past year, Big Y had already contributed another $250,000 in sup- port of the food banks for their work with vulnerable populations.
AIC to Name Renovated Basketball Locker Room in Honor of Frank Oppedisano
SPRINGFIELD — The American International Col- lege (AIC) men’s basketball locker room will enjoy a much-needed makeover with help from friends in the community. Earlier this year, a group of alumni expressed an interest in doing something meaning- ful to help AIC men’s basketball in memory of their friend and former teammate, Frank Oppedisano, class of 1967. In addition to their fundraising effort,
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