CFInfo: Celebrating Regional Philanthropy February 2016

CFinfo provides quick updates on initiatives and grants, reminds you of upcoming events as well as news about philanthropy at its best in the region.  We hope you find this issue informative and welcome any feedback you would like to share with us.

Survivor Journeys Meets First Fundraising Goal
Survivor Journeys – a Springfield area-based nonprofit providing social and emotional support to cancer survivors, their families and clip_image002_022caregivers – has met the first goal in a two-part challenge issued by the S. Prestley and Helen Blake Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

The Blakes offered $25,000 in matching funds if the new organization could raise $25,000 from 125 donors by the end of December 2015. Having met this goal, a second match challenges the community to raise the same amount by March 31, 2016.

“This organization serves such a great need for people with cancer. We wanted to help ensure they could continue to help cancer survivors and their family members,” said Helen Blake.

Survivor Journeys is run by an all-volunteer board, which includes founder Dr. Jay Burton, a primary care physician whose own experience as a cancer survivor set him on a new path, both in his practice and in starting the nonprofit.

“I decided I wanted to provide primary care to cancer survivors, said Dr. Burton. “But there were things I couldn’t provide through my practice, which is why I wanted to start the nonprofit. We are offering support groups and referrals, and will be offering one-on-one mentoring in partnership with a national consortium soon. We are trying to do whatever we can to make the day to day life of cancer survivors and their caregivers a bit more tolerable.”

As part of the challenge, the group will be holding a wine-tasting fundraiser on Friday, February 26 at Lattitude Restaurant in West Springfield. Tickets to the fundraiser can be purchased on their website at

Steven Schwartz is This Year’s Distinguished Advisor in Philanthropy

The Community Foundation, in partnership with the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County and the Pioneer Valley Estate Schwartz_StevePlanning Council, announced Attorney Steven J. Schwartz of Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C is the recipient of the Distinguished Advisor in Philanthropy Award, to honor the important role that professional advisors play as champions of philanthropy in our region.

Professional advisors make critical connections between their clients and the mission-driven organizations that enhance quality of life in our region. Schwartz received the award at the January 12th meeting of the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County. He was also presented with a $1,000 grant to recommend to the charity of his choice. Steven Schwartz was nominated by Dana Barrows of Northwestern Mutual.

“Steven Schwartz brings a keen intellect, deep technical expertise and experience, common sense based advice, pristine integrity, and a total devotion to the clients’ best interest in every engagement in the closely held, family, and larger business and estate planning markets,” said Barrows.

Stephen is also active in the community volunteering for organizations including the Pioneer Valley Council Boy Scouts of America, Urban League, South End Community Center, the Jewish Community Center, and serving on the board of the William J. Gould Associates, Inc., which operates the residential therapeutic community, Gould Farm.

Schwartz said of receiving the award, “It is each of our responsibilities to discuss charitable gifts in the estate planning process. We are fortunate to have the Community Foundation available to assist our clients in fulfilling their charitable objectives.

VVM Expands Accelerator Program in Year Two

Year two of the Valley Venture Mentors Accelerator Program kicked off on February 5 with 36 start-up businesses looking to take their ventures to the next level. The Accelerator Program provides intensive training, mentoring, and VVMAcceleratoropportunities to compete for further investments in their business.

The program is made possible in part, from Community Foundation grants of $100,000 per year for three years, as well as funding from MassMutual, MassDevelopment, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, MassTech Collaborative, and others. This investment in the growing small businesses in our community is generating more investment and economic opportunity in the region. The first class of start-ups, which concluded in the spring of 2015, has earned $6 million in investment and revenue since that time.

The new class of 36 small businesses includes 22 start-ups from the Pioneer Valley, chosen from a pool of close to 200 applicants from 20 countries. The success of the first class led to increased interest in the program, from both start-up businesses and potential investors. Participating businesses last year credited the program with increased revenues, broader customer bases, and business expansion that necessitated hiring more workers. The 20% expansion of the class this year is expected to continue to multiply the returns on these investments.

Apply Now for Scholarships

The Foundation is now accepting applications to award roughly $2 million in scholarships and interest-free loans for local students planning to pursue education at the undergraduate and graduate levels for the 2016-2017 academic year. Over 125 funds will provide awards considering academic merit and financial need. Students may be awarded scholarships and interest-free loans ranging from $500 to $8,000. Many funds support students with special interests in areas including academics, athletics, and specific academic majors. Other scholarships support specific geographic areas, ethnicities and religious affiliations.

Several funds will be awarding for the first time this year, including the Rintoul Family scholarship, which is targeted to help students from Hampden or Hampshire Counties pursuing agricultural majors. The Rintoul family owned the Community Feed Stores in East Longmeadow and Easthampton before retiring in 2004.

Jim Rintoul said, “I was looking to do something for the community that had supported our family business all those years. A lot of our customers were farmers, so I wanted the scholarship to help people get an education in an agricultural field. I approached the Community Foundation because I knew they had the expertise to direct the scholarship to the people that need it.”

Last year the Community Foundation awarded $2 million in scholarships and loans to 823 individuals.

Students can apply for scholarships and loans by completing just one online application available at Applications and all supporting materials must be postmarked or submitted online by Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Valley Gives is on May 3, 2016, Nonprofit Registration Now Open
The Pioneer Valley’s 24-hour online giving event, Valley Gives, will be on May 3, 2016, and will continue to be organized VG-jumpby the CFWM. In its first three years, Valley Gives has raised over $5.8 million for 559 organizations from more than 24,000 donors. The success of this initiative has had a powerful impact for the Pioneer Valley. The three goals for Valley Gives are to:

– Raise unrestricted money for organizations throughout the Pioneer Valley that serve the needs and address the aspirations of our communities;

– Expand and enhance philanthropy and the spirit of giving throughout our community;

– Provide support and tools to organizations in the region that effectively increase their capacity to raise funds and share their stories.

In response to requests from participating organizations, the timing for Valley Gives was shifted to the spring, offering new ways to promote giving and engage new donors. In 2016, the Foundation will be promoting increased use of matching gifts by organizations, which has been shown to increase fundraising totals and engage donors. In addition, this year, Razoo, the online giving platform, will enable donors to fundraise directly with friends and family on behalf of the organizations they support. For more information, please visit

Outreach Sessions for Grants Programs
The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts is hosting three informational sessions on the 2016 grant-making programs. The focus will be on the five grant programs:  Mission (Standard, Express, Critical), Challenge, Innovation, Capacity (including Valley Gives) and Scholarship. Along with having a chance to meet and talk with program staff, there will be opportunities for informal networking for participating non-profits.

The dates are:

February 26, 2016:  10:00am – noon; Franklin County;  in the First Floor Conference Room at Greenfield Community College – Downtown Center, 270 Main St., Greenfield, MA  01301

April 29, 2016:  10:00am – noon; Hampden County – Tighe and Bond, 53 Southampton Road, Westfield, MA

September 23, 2016: 10:00am – noon; Hampshire County – Collaborative for Educational Services, 97 Hawley Street, Northampton, MA

Please join us and learn about our range of funding opportunities to support non-profit organizations in the Pioneer Valley!

Please make sure to register today as space is limited.  Click on this link to register now!

To view our current grant application dates, go to

Community Foundation Embarks on 25th Year in the Pioneer Valley
A committed group of volunteers — leaders in our community — worked together over many months to create a new community Stars in the form of confettifoundation that could serve the Pioneer Valley. Finally, on November 15, 1990 the trust document that created the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts was signed by 17 founding members. The Foundation is excited to celebrate 25 years working on behalf of Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. We will take the opportunity of our silver anniversary to celebrate all that has been accomplished thanks to the many people who have joined with us over the years to strengthen and support our Pioneer Valley. Look for more about how we intend to celebrate this milestone in future newsletters.

Thank you for your interest in the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. If you would like to learn more please join our mailing list.