HCN News & Notes

MassMutual Foundation Gives $1.5 Million to Way Finders Capital Campaign

SPRINGFIELD — The MassMutual Foundation Inc. announced it will give Way Finders $1.5 million to help fund the organization’s new Housing Center currently being constructed in Springfield. This donation will enable Way Finders to serve even more people in the community who are facing homelessness or struggling to achieve financial security.

“Way Finders shares our vision for building thriving communities and takes an innovative approach to improving economic opportunity for all,” said Dennis Duquette, head of MassMutual Community Responsibility and president of the MassMutual Foundation. “We are proud to make a significant investment that will bring Way Finders closer to its fundraising goal and allow the organization to focus on its mission and deliver services to more people who need them at its new location.”

Way Finders is in the midst of constructing a larger, more centrally located Housing Center at 1780 Main St. in Springfield that will be more easily accessible by transportation and the nearby Union Station complex, eliminating one of the greatest barriers to accessing services. The new facility will house all 160 of Way Finders’ Springfield-based staff and is slated to open its doors in April 2020.

“Once again, MassMutual steps up to the plate to strengthen our neighborhoods and our city with this most generous donation to Way Finders,” Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said. “MassMutual has been an outstanding corporate citizen for over 168 years. MassMutual’s continued efforts allow Way Finders to expand their first-time homebuyers empowerment programs, which is very near and dear to my heart and the American dream of home ownership.”

In 2018, Way Finders’ programs impacted the lives of more than 47,000 people, including thousands of children, through services including homelessness and foreclosure prevention, financial education, first-time-homebuyer workshops, and employment training. The total number of walk-in requests so far in 2019 has exceeded 2018 demand, demonstrating the growing need from the community and the crucial support the new Housing Center will provide.

“Way Finders is honored to receive this incredible lead gift from the MassMutual Foundation in support of our capital campaign,” said Peter Gagliardi, CEO of Way Finders. “Our two organizations share core values that emphasize equity, teamwork, innovation, and impact. We believe in the strength of our community and the world of possibility that exists when we join together to help our neighbors.”

He added that “our new Housing Center will be a place of care and compassion for those who are facing a housing crisis, and, equally important, it will be a place of discovery and support for our region’s residents as they work toward a brighter future for their families.”

Way Finders has also been an important local partner of the MassMutual Foundation as part of its Live Mutual Project pilot in Springfield. Conversations and meetings are currently underway to understand and identify the barriers that keep residents from becoming financially secure and determine what resources are needed to create sustainable solutions. Additionally, community workshops are taking place to identify opportunities for public-space improvement in three key neighborhoods: downtown Springfield, Mason Square, and the North End.