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United Way of Pioneer Valley Receives $72,000 gift from Eversource Energy Foundation

 

Eversource Donation

June 19, 2017 – Pioneer Valley  — United Way of Pioneer Valley recently received a financial gift in the amount of $72,000 from the Eversource Energy Foundation, Inc. Eversource’s mission to deliver reliable energy and superior customer service includes a commitment to the strength of the communities the company serves. 

“On behalf of Eversource Energy, myself and Mike Vitavelli from the Community Relations team, we are so thrilled to sponsor the United Way and to be a continued sponsor of all the good work they do in the Pioneer Valley,” Haley Dunn of Eversource’s Community Relations said. “It’s our pleasure and we’re happy to be supportive of the organization now and in the future.” 

The donation of $72,000 was presented to Jim Ayres, President & CEO of UWPV, Yvonne Williams UWPV Director of Resource Development and UWPV staff members on Wednesday, June 14.

“Thank you for your support year after year after year,” remarked Jim Ayres. “It’s really that long term relationship that makes such a difference. This will impact the lives of so many people in our community.”

The donation will help the United Way continue to fight for the health, education and financial stability of families and individuals across the Pioneer Valley as well as fund UW programs including grants to local nonprofits.

 

About the United Way of Pioneer Valley

United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

UWPV & B&G Club of Westfield Partner on Baystate Children’s Hospital Project

 

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May 25, 2017 – Pioneer Valley  — Youth members of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield’s Torch Club recently partnered with the United Way of Pioneer Valley Youth Generate Program to create and donate more than 10 no-sew tie fleece blankets to patients in the Baystate Children’s Hospital. 

The Torch Club is a national character and leadership program for youth ages 11-13, aiming to motivate youth to bring positive change to the community and make a difference in the lives of other young people. Members of the Torch Club hope to bring comfort to the patients of Baystate Children’s Hospital and let the patients know youth in the community care about them.  

UWPV Youth Generate began in April, 2013 as a project and a precursor for other youth engagement projects in the region. Through this initiative, UWPV partners with schools throughout the Pioneer Valley to engage young people in community service during or around National Volunteer Week.  This initiative also allows UWPV to help create and strengthen relationships among agencies, school systems and communities in the region. The program reinforces UWPV’s community engagement work as a Volunteer Connector and capacity builder.     

Youth Generate provides another door of opportunity for young people.  United Way organizations across the country believe that organized youth engagement:

  •  Enables youth to become change-makers by developing entrepreneurial skills to solve community problems.
  •  Empowers youth by allowing them to take the initiative and lead community change.
  •  Engages youth in their communities, allowing them to recognize their role and the positive impact they can create.

Youth engagement helps young people assume a role that expects and encourages them to lead in positive social change and replicate that example throughout life. 

About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

United Way of Pioneer Valley Board Names Jim Ayres Next President and CEO

Jim AyresMay 11, 2017 – Springfield, Mass.  — The United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Jim Ayres as the organization’s next president and chief executive officer effective June 12. Ayres, who currently serves as the chief executive officer of the United Way Hampshire County, will succeed Dora Robinson, the organization’s most recent president and CEO and current president emeritus.

“After a comprehensive search, the board is thrilled to have found a strong leader with a proven track record to lead this organization that is such an integral part of the Pioneer Valley,” Ben Markens, United Way Pioneer Valley Board Chair, said. “The Board of Directors was impressed with Jim’s extensive nonprofit experience, leadership skills and collaborative approach to problem solving. As we approach our 95th anniversary, it’s only fitting that we’ve found a leader with both enthusiasm for theUnited Way mission and the skills to position us to provide essential services to the community for many years to come.”

Ayres comes to UWPV from the United Way of Hampshire County (UWHC) where he has served as CEO and executive director since 2011. During his tenure there, he expanded the donor base, and increased both funding diversity and overall revenue at a time when many United Ways nationally had experienced shrinkage.

Prior to joining UWHC, he served for 12 years as the executive director of the Center for new Americans, an education and resource center for immigrants, refugees and other limited English speakers in western Massachusetts. With roots in the Springfield Public Schools where he worked as a parent community and involvement coordinator, Ayres has extensive experience working with school systems, local and state governments, community coalitions, workforce boards and other nonprofit organizations to develop programming and policy. He is the incoming board president of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network and an adjunct professor of nonprofit administration and philanthropy at Bay Path University. Ayres holds master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“I am excited for the opportunity to partner with the United Way Pioneer Valley’s steadfast board of directors, dedicated staff and vital community partners to extend the organization’s impact in the communities we serve,” said Ayres. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with the organization’s leadership as we continue to fight for the health, education and financial stability of people across the Pioneer Valley.”

“He is an exceptional leader and very well respected United Way professional who has elevated the respect, trust and engagement of stakeholders with United Ways across our region,” said Robinson.  “I’m absolutely thrilled with the Board’s decision to hire Jim.”

UWPV will celebrate Ayres’s arrival at the organization’s 95th anniversary celebration on May 31 at the Barney Carriage House at Forest Park.

Ayers lives in Haydenville, Mass. with his wife Keira Durrett, and two sons, Jackson and Nate.

 

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About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation Donates $27,000 to United Way of Pioneer Valley

April 20, 2017 – Springfield, MA — Representatives from Bank of America visited the United Way of Pioneer Valley offices in Springfield on Tuesday, April 18 to present a $27,000 check from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. The funds are unrestricted and will be used further the mission of the United Way.

BankofA10“We are so grateful to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for this generous donation,” said Dora Robinson, United Way President Emeritus. “This donation will go a long way as we continue to fight for the health, education and financial stability of children and families in our communites.”

“As part of our commitment to investing in healthy communities across the Commonwealth, Bank of America is proud to partner with the United Way of Pioneer Valley toward our mutual goal of helping people become economically mobile and set them on a path to financial stability,” stated Miceal Chamberlain, Bank of America Massachusetts President.

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About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

United Way of Pioneer Valley Hosts Grand Friends Day to Help Seniors Learn Technology

April 10, 2017 – Pioneer Valley — Wednesday April 19 – Friday April 21, United Way of Pioneer Valley will partner with senior centers across Western Massachusetts to host Grand Friends Day, an intergenerational event matching senior citizens with teen volunteers that will help them learn and navigate new technologies. During this inaugural event, nine senior centers will open their doors to teen volunteers as they teach seniors valuable skills including managing email accounts, video chatting and maintaining social media accounts.

 

“In an age where technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in our lives, the senior population is falling behind on this trend,” said Jennifer Kinsman, United Way Director of Community Impact. “Through Grand Friends Day, United Way aims to get seniors more involved and comfortable with technology.”

 

The United Way recruited volunteers from Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, church groups, and Key Clubs for this event with the goal of empowering kids and teens to make positive change in their communities.

 

Grand Friends Day is sponsored by The Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The schedule for Grand Friends Day is as follows:

 

Wednesday April 19th

9am-12pm

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

110 Cherry St, Holyoke MA 01040

 

Thursday April 20th

10am-11:30 am

Jewish Geriatrics Services

770 Converse Street, Longmeadow MA 01106

 

12:30pm-2:30 pm

South Hadley Council on Aging

45 Dayton Street, South Hadley MA 01075

 

Friday April 21st

9:30am-11:30 am

Southwick Council on Aging

454 College Highway, Southwick MA 01077

 

11am-12:30pm

East Longmeadow Council on Aging

328 North Main Street, East Longmeadow MA 01028

 

1:00pm-3:00pm

West Springfield Council on Aging

128 Park Street, West Springfield MA 01089

 

2:00pm-4:00pm

Springfield Senior Computer Learning Center

1600 East Columbus Ave, Springfield MA 01103

 

 

About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

 

United Way of Pioneer Valley Hosts Grand Friends Day to Help Seniors Learn Technology

CONTACT:
Chris Woods
E: cwoods@uwpv.org
C: 413-454-1578

United Way of Pioneer Valley Hosts Grand Friends Day to Help Seniors Learn Technology

April 10, 2017 – Pioneer Valley  — Wednesday April 19 – Friday April 21, United Way of Pioneer Valley will partner with senior centers across Western Massachusetts to host Grand Friends Day, an intergenerational event matching senior citizens with teen volunteers that will help them learn and navigate new technologies. During this inaugural event, nine senior centers will open their doors to teen volunteers as they teach seniors valuable skills including managing email accounts, video chatting and maintaining social media accounts.

 

“In an age where technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in our lives, the senior population is falling behind on this trend,” said Jennifer Kinsman, United Way Director of Community Impact. “Through Grand Friends Day, United Way aims to get seniors more involved and comfortable with technology.”

 

The United Way recruited volunteers from Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, church groups, and Key Clubs for this event with the goal of empowering kids and teens to make positive change in their communities.

 

Grand Friends Day is sponsored by The Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The schedule for Grand Friends Day is as follows:

 

Wednesday April 19th

9am-12pm

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

110 Cherry St, Holyoke MA 01040

 

Thursday April 20th

10am-11:30 am

Jewish Geriatrics Services

770 Converse Street, Longmeadow MA 01106

 

12:30pm-2:30 pm

South Hadley Council on Aging

45 Dayton Street, South Hadley MA 01075

 

Friday April 21st

9:30am-11:30 am

Southwick Council on Aging

454 College Highway, Southwick MA 01077

 

11am-12:30pm

East Longmeadow Council on Aging

328 North Main Street, East Longmeadow MA 01028

 

1:00pm-3:00pm

West Springfield Council on Aging

128 Park Street, West Springfield MA 01089

 

2:00pm-4:00pm

Springfield Senior Computer Learning Center

1600 East Columbus Ave, Springfield MA 01103

 

 

About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

 

United Way of Pioneer Valley Announces Grand Opening of Westfield Thrive Financial Success Center

February 28, 2017 – Springfield, MA — United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) along with key partners will hold the grand opening of the Thrive Financial Success Center in Westfield on Tuesday, March 14 at 11:00am at Episcopal Church, 36 Court Street in Westfield. Senator Don Humason, State Representative, John Velis, Westfield Mayor, Brian Sullivan, as well as representatives from program funders including Westfield Bank and the Davis Foundation will attend the grand opening.

 

The center, to be housed at Episcopal Church is the fourth of its kind in Western Mass.

“After the success of the Thrive Financial Success Centers at Holyoke Community College and in downtown Holyoke, we are thrilled to open a third Thrive Center at Springfield Technical Community College,” Dora D. Robinson, President and CEO, United Way of Pioneer Valley said. “At the United Way of Pioneer Valley, we believe basic financial literacy should be a key aspect of everyone’s education. No career goal or life’s ambition should be hindered because a person doesn’t know how to balance their checkbook or maintain a good credit rating.”

Thrive@ STCC anticipates it will serve 400 individuals in its first year of operation. Program offerings include confidential benefits screening and enrollment; money skills class; individual financial coaching sessions; free income tax prep through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program; links to workforce development and training workshops; and MassMutual’s LifeBridge program, a free life insurance program.

Thrive Centers currently operate in partnership with the United Way at Holyoke Community College and at the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center in downtown Holyoke.

 

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About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

 

United Way of Pioneer Valley Seeks Requests for Funding

Basic needs grant funding available for local organizations

United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) is seeking Requests for Funding (RFFs) for its Basic Needs Grant Program.  These grants will support programs and services in the Pioneer Valley that provide temporary and short-term food, shelter, and heating assistance to stabilize individuals and families faced with an emergency due to loss of employment, housing, natural disaster, domestic violence, etc.

Priority will be given for programs that serve seniors, veterans, residents living in communities with limited access to short-term emergency basic needs programs (e.g. rural communities), and residents ineligible for public assistance programs (e.g. fuel assistance) but in need of short-term emergency help to stabilize their situation.

Organizations should not approach this application with the expectation of ongoing annual operating support.  Grants will be awarded for a period of 12 months from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.  The purpose of the Basic Needs Grant Program is to support and sustain strong communities in Hampden County, South Hadley, and Granby, Massachusetts.

 

Application deadline is March 10, 2017. For more information contact LaTonia Monroe Naylor, Senior Manager of Community Investments, 413-693-0215 or lnaylor@uwpv.org.

 

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About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

 

United Way of Pioneer Valley Announces Personnel Changes

United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) is filling out its team as they expand services and bring new energy to staple positions. Today, they announced the addition of Jennifer Fernandes of South Hadley, as the new Case Coach for Thrive Financial Success Centers in Westfield and Holyoke, Chris Woods of West Springfield, as the new part-time Volunteer Coordinator, as well as the promotion of LaTonia Naylor of Springfield, from Community Impact Manager to Senior Manager of Community Investments.

Jennifer FernandezFernandes will coordinate the UPWV’s Thrive program, which serves to strengthen the financial capacity of community college students and residents. Through community collaborative efforts, Thrive promotes and supports activities related to financial literacy, including access to a one-stop financial resource center, workforce development services, and public benefit screening and enrollment. Fernandes has a B.A. in Psychology from UMass Amherst and a M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lesley College. She has been working with the Adult Basic Education program in Holyoke, and has been involved in financial literacy, academic and career counseling.

 

Chris WoodsWoods earned his B.S. in Marketing from Bentley University. Following graduation, he became an Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) member for a year and traveled across the country working on volunteer projects. For the past year, he has been a math tutor with Springfield Math Fellows, and he continues as an assistant swim team coach with the West Springfield Torpedoes. Woods will be coordinating volunteer activities for United Way Youth Generate, Stuff the Bus, and Day of Caring programs, among other projects.

 

“We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer and Chris to our team,” said Jennifer Kinsman, United Way Director of Community Impact. “They both bring the type of enthusiasm and talent we need as the United Way continues to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community across the Pioneer Valley.”

LaTonia Naylor HeadshotNaylor’s promotion to Senior Manager of Community Investments will have her overseeing grants management for the education, basic needs, small grants and emergency food and shelter programs. She’ll also provide technical assistance to United Way grantees and community partners and become the UWPV community liaison for education initiatives.

Latonia is a strong and extremely capable employee. Her passion for and commitment to the mission of the United Way and the communities we serve make her the perfect choice for this position,” added Kinsman.

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About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community by finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises.

United Way of Pioneer Valley President & CEO Dora Robinson to Retire in June

United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) today announced that the organization’s President and CEO, Dora Robinson, will retire effective June 30, 2017, starting an orderly leadership transition over the next six months. The Board of Trustees named Jeffrey Ciuffreda as the organization’s interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Robinson will continue to serve UWPV as president emeritus.

 

Robinson’s decision will bring to a close a remarkable career of over 40 years of non-profit leadership in the Greater Springfield Community, the last 7 with UWPV. “We thank Dora for her years of service, celebrate her contributions, and are excited to build upon them,” said Bennett H. Markens, president of the UWPV Board of Trustees. “It is our sincere hope that she enjoys this well-deserved retirement.”

 

“It has been an honor to lead this organization alongside our dedicated volunteers, staff and board members,” said Robinson. “I look forward to working with Jeff, the board and the management team during the six-month transition period.”

 

Robinson began with UWPV in 2009. Under her leadership, UWPV launched several new strategies to diversify revenues contributing to education, homelessness, basic needs and financial security programs, among others. During her tenure she co-founded the UWPV Women’s Leadership Council to engage local women leaders in supporting financial literacy and health initiatives for women and girls. She also led the effort to establish UWPV as a support organization for local and regional disaster recovery efforts.

 

With Ciuffreda managing day-to-day operations the board of directors will conduct an exhaustive search for Robinson’s successor. “As the search for a permanent replacement moves forward, we know that UWPV is in good hands and that there will be no interruption in the critical services we provide in our community,” said Markens.

 

“The United Way has been providing key support to families and organizations across the Valley for 94 years and has operated at a high level in this role,” said Ciuffreda. “It is my hope to not only maintain the organization’s success, but also build upon it. I am honored to lead an organization with such an impressive legacy.”

Ciuffreda becomes interim president and chief executive officer of UWPV after his August retirement from the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he served as president for five years. Ciuffreda joined the Chamber in 1987 as vice president of legislative affairs and became president in 2011. Prior to his work at the Chamber, Ciuffreda served as an aide to Congressman Silvio O. Conte for eight years and prior to that, served as deputy director of the United States Peace Corps program in the country of Lesotho in Africa. Ciuffreda has served as a board member with the Food Bank of western Massachusetts, the Friends of the Homeless, and the United Way of Pioneer Valley. A native of Pittsfield, Ciuffreda was a selectman in Williamsburg for 17 years, where he still lives with his wife, Mary Ann. They have two adult children.

 

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About United Way of Pioneer Valley
United Way of Pioneer Valley mobilizes people and resources to strengthen our communities. We envision a thriving, caring region where individuals have opportunities to realize their potential, become economically self-sufficient, and contribute collectively to improve the quality of life in their communities.

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