Springfield Institute – Update

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img_24342Dear Friends,

The excitement continues. Every day, new people are finding us and asking how they can help and get involved. That feels good! Here’s some highlights and updates:

1. Monthly meeting. Go to this link and tell us if May 11, 12, or 13 is better for you.
2. Our downtown home. We’re in! Still arranging furniture, and setting up computers, but the new space is shiny and new. Come visit us at 32-34 Hampden St. (free wifi). Plus, we still have a few vacant offices, so please refer people doing compatible things to us.
3. New Advisory Board member. A warm welcome to Amaad Rivera, Racial Wealth Divide Director for United for a Fair Economy. Amaad was born and raised in Springfield, and now divides his time between Boston and Springfield. (Full organizing committee & advisory board list here.)
4. African immigrant workshops. Led by Maryann Mohamoud, The Springfield Institute/Breaking the Silence workshop series for the African immigrant community has been very well received. Thirty people attended yesterday’s session. Several participants have begun organizing a community support structure (beyond the narrow focus of the workshop series), to which SI has committed to providing technical assistance. Thanks also to co-facilitators Dr. Opeyemi Parham and Clara Sarr. 
5. New project with the Holyoke Food & Fitness Policy Council. SI’s affiliate, Policy Development, will be working with HFFPC to build the capacity of their grassroots stakeholders to engage in the public policy issues that affect them. Combining community organizing and systemic change, HFFPC is an approach we’d like to replicate regionally. 
6. Social entrepreneurship/SI launch event. In partnership with the Valley Socially Responsible Investing Network, SI is starting to plan a formal Fall launch event for SI focused on social entrepreneurship writ large: socially and environmentally responsible investing, women- and minority- owned businesses, locally- and family-owned businesses, and youth entrepreneurship. Policy Development helped organize the wildly popular Valley SRI summit last year, and we are excited about using SI to incorporate Holyoke- and Springfield-based stakeholders, and giving prominence to the investment potential the region represents. 
7. Other upcoming events. Our inaugural event–Dr. Manuel Pastor at the Urban League–was absolutely energizing, and we have several follow-up events in the works: A facilitated community discussion focusing on the local African immigrant community; a “house warming” party and media reception at SI; and an outdoor film series. Let’s collaborate!
Thank you!

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