Western Mass Orgs Prepare to Lead Call-to-Action Summit to Advance Racial Equity Across the 413

A groundbreaking event is on the horizon as several prominent organizations come together to organize Equity in the 413, an inaugural summit aiming to advance equity in workplaces across western Massachusetts. The day-long event, proudly presented by an alliance of dedicated organizations including the Behavioral Health Network, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Health New England, Hilltown Community Health Center, Human Service Forum, Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, Springfield DHHS Office of Health and Racial Equity, Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, and the Women of Color Health Equity Collective, will take place on October 24, 2023 at 8:00 AM at the Sheraton Springfield.

Organizers will bring together dozens of industry leaders and hundreds of professionals across multiple sectors. Attendees can expect to gain valuable insight as presenters from an array of businesses and organizations delve into lessons learned from their own implementations of racial equity policies and practices. Sessions will offer opportunities for meaningful dialogue, relationship building, self-care exercises, and the provision of tools and resources centered on assisting business professionals in implementing racial equity practices in their workplaces.

“This event marks a significant step forward in the ongoing journey towards an equitable future,” said Megan Burke, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. “We are thrilled to be part of this transformative Summit. It not only underscores our commitment to fostering actionable change, but also represents a pivotal moment in Western Mass’s collective journey toward a more equitable region in which we can all thrive.”

“Behavioral Health Network is proud to be an organizing partner of the Equity in the 413: Western Massachusetts Racial Equity Summit,” said President and CEO, Steve Winn. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion are an integral part of BHN’s mission and philosophy, and we have learned so much in our efforts to operationalize social justice values in our workplace. We look forward to coming together with other organizations to share learnings and take meaningful collective action advancing racial equity across western Massachusetts.”

Jessica Collins, Executive Director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts also shared, “The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts is proud to be an organizing partner of the Equity in the 413 Summit, and we look forward to the opportunity for mutual learning. We are eager to share insights from our own journey to advance racial equity within our organization and the region, including learnings from our collaboration with the Women of Color Health Equity Collective and other regional organizations to center racial equity to reduce tobacco use.”

Session presenters include professionals from the Summits’ organizing partner group as well as Willful Change LLC, National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Caring Health Center, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Arise for Social Justice, CORE XP Business Solutions, Hub International, Franklin County Community Development Corporation, Estoy Aqui LLC, and many more.

For those interested in attending this landmark event and securing seats, tickets are now available for purchase on the Community Foundation’s website at bit.ly/equity413. You can also visit the website to learn more about the Summit’s organizing partners, for a full list of session presenters, and to learn how to become a community partner in support of the Summit.

About Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts 

Established in 1991, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts is dedicated to enriching the quality of life for all people across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties. As a catalyst for positive change, the organization actively engages partners and leverages resources to address challenges to contribute to the common good. Committed to creating a lasting positive change in the communities it serves, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts centers five strategic priorities which include marshalling resources and increasing charitable giving across its region; encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in workplaces and institutions including its own; supporting a strong start for all children, providing pathways to completion of post-secondary education and professional training; and supporting a vibrant local arts and creativity ecosystem. For further information, visit http://communityfoundation.org/

About Behavioral Health Network, Inc.
Behavioral Health Network, Inc. (BHN) is a regional provider of comprehensive behavioral health services for adults, children, and families. Since its origins in the Child Guidance Clinic of 1938, BHN has grown into the largest behavioral health service provider in Western Massachusetts. BHN serves those with life challenges due to mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Across all programs, BHN offers support, guidance, and tools that help individuals make positive changes and live fulfilling lives.

About Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts
The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts formed over 25 years ago with the goal of building measurably healthier and more equitable communities through community engagement, collaborative partnerships, research and evaluation, and policy advocacy. For more information, visit PublicHealthWM.org

For event inquiries and more information, please contact Briana Wales-Thaxton by email at bwales@communityfoundation.org or by phone at (413) 732-2858.

For media inquiries and more information, please contact Emma Mesa-Melendez by email at emesa@communityfoundation.org or by phone at (413) 732-2858.