Powerful community partnerships: The MassMutual Foundation

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, it’s a new year that’s full of promise; and here at City Connects, we are excited about what’s next. 

We’re growing in Indianapolis and in Massachusetts. We have a new technical assistance center based at Marian University in the Midwest, so that we can work with more schools in that part of the country. We’re hiring new staff, and we’re seeing how the City Connects model is effective, resilient, and making a difference for children, families, teachers, schools, and communities, especially during the pandemic. 

We couldn’t do this work alone, which is why we’re so grateful to our many community partners, the nonprofit organizations and businesses that work with us to support students. 

One example is the MassMutual Foundation. 

Over the last few years, MassMutual has awarded grants worth millions of dollars to city of Springfield, Mass., to implement City Connects. 

Last year, when Springfield received the most recent $1 million grant, Dennis Duquette, president of the MassMutual Foundation, said, “City Connects delivers a highly effective, nurturing experience for students and their families, and delivers amazing results like no other program.” 

Thanks to this substantial philanthropic investment, Springfield’s City Connects program is also eligible for state funding, according to the news website MassLive.com.

As Duquette recently told MassLive, “One of the great things about this particular grant is that it brings the school system within Springfield to a scale where they can sustain the program with state funding, and that is a huge accomplishment for the district.

“As a funder we are always looking to create positive, but sustainable change.”

City Connects’ work of helping Springfield schools get the right services to the right child at the right time is particularly important now because of pandemic-related mental health needs.

“As a District, we made a concrete commitment to address the social-emotional needs of students in the fullest, most impactful way that we can because we understand the toll that COVID-19 has had on so many families in our community,” Daniel Warwick, the Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools, says in a press release.

“City Connects has been instrumental for us in these efforts and we could not be more grateful to the MassMutual Foundation for granting us dollars, once again, to ensure the continued success and sustainability of a program that has proven to work. This kind of corporate citizenry has a direct, valuable positive influence on the lives of our students and families.”

In other words, as we’ve learned from City Connects schools across the United States and in Ireland, engaged communities can cope with global disasters. Schools can systematically work with businesses and community organizations. And aligning existing resources can promote students’ success.

So as we welcome the new year, with a keen awareness of its stubborn challenges, we are proud and excited to move forward with the powerful support of our many community partners.

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