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The New Workforce

How well do you understand the diversity in your workforce?  There are now five generations in the workforce which creates both real assets and is the potential for friction.  Here’s a recent post about the much talked about Millenials:

UWPV Basic Needs Grant Program

United Way of Pioneer Valley announces we are accepting Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2016-2017 Basic Needs Grant Program.These grants will support programs and services that provide temporary, short-term food, shelter, and heating assistance to individuals and families faced with an emergency due to loss of employment, housing, escaping domestic violence, natural disaster, fire etc. Grants will be awarded for a period of 12 months from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. The purpose of the Basic Needs Grant program is to support and sustain strong communities in Hampden County, South Hadley, and Granby, Massachusetts.



The Basic Needs Grants are intended to fund and support basic emergency services provided by organizations located in and serving the people of Hampden County, South Hadley and Granby, Massachusetts. The organization’s grantmaking programs are one of several ways that UWPV provides support for the communities and people in our region.


Organizations with current UWPV funding through June 30, 2016 may apply if their proposed program or service is consistent with the criteria as outlined in this RFP, and will provide the indicators and outcomes identified in the RFP.  Organizations should apply for a single program or project where UWPV funding can have the most impact.  Applicants who have current grant(s) with United Way and have outstanding requirements due, must submit these requirements before applying through this RFP.


The purpose of the Community Impact Grant program is to support and sustain strong communities in Hampden County, South Hadley and Granby, Massachusetts. Your proposal must discuss how you plan to improve the services you currently offer or expand the number of people you will assist.


This grant program has three areas of focus to assist people in meeting emergency, basic needs:


Shelter  Short-term housing for people  who are: homeless, escaping domestic violence, displaced due to a natural disaster, a fire, etc…


Food:   Support short-term food assistance for people facing economic hardship, homelessness, isolation (homebound), etc…  This will include food pantries, meal services, and completing SNAP applications.


Heating Assistance:    Short-term heating assistance for individuals and families whose household incomes are 201%-350% of federal poverty levels and 60%-80% state median income levels, and therefore not eligible for public assistance, up to $500 per household per year.


All organizations interested in applying for this Community Impact Grant will be required to submit aLetter of Intent by Friday, February 12.

Organizations will be notified by Feb. 19 if they are selected to submit a full application.


KEY DATES for this RFP


Request for Proposal released – January 25, 2016


Orientation session for applicants-Tuesday, Feb. 2, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. or Wednesday, Feb. 3, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. both sessions are at United Way, 1441 Main St, Springfield, MA


Online Letter of Intent to apply due – Friday, February 12 by 4:30 p.m.

Notify Agencies IF selected to submit a full Application- Friday, February 19


Online Full Applications  due- Friday, March 4 by 4:30 p.m.,


Notification of funding decisions – by May 31


Signed Memorandum of Understanding due – June 24, 2016


Funding released to 2016-2017 Basic Needs Grantees (quarterly)-July 2016

LPV Announces Addition of Amy Proietti as Leaders On Board Program Coordinator

Leadership Pioneer Valley Announces Addition of Amy Proietti as Leaders on Board Program Coordinator


Greenfield, MA– Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) announced that Amy Proietti of Greenfield has joined the LPV team as program coordinator for their new Leaders on Board Program which is being piloted in Franklin County.  In this role, Proietti will be responsible for coordinating and organizing LPV’s Leaders on Board program to develop new and existing members of non-profit boards and provide matching of new members to boards.  This position was made possible through collaboration with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Franklin Regional Council of Governments and Greenfield Community College.


Amy ProiettiAmy L. Proietti comes to Leadership Pioneer Valley as the Coordinator of Financial Aid at Greenfield Community College. Her twenty year career in colleges and universities covers the spectrum of higher education administration. Along with financial aid, other positions have included database administration, residential housing, and college athletics. Amy has previously held leadership roles in three professional organizations, the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA), the Northeast Association of College and University Housing Officers (NEACUHO), and the Membership Committee of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA).

Locally, Amy is a licensed foster parent and has previously facilitated a support group for foster and adoptive parents. Since 2006, she has volunteered countless hours each spring to assist college-bound students and their families with the submittal of financial aid applications. Currently, she serves on the Executive Board of her union local chapter, the Greenfield Community College Professional Association. She has a BS in Political Science from SUNY Brockport and an MS in College Student Personnel Administration from Western Illinois University.



Becoming The Woman With The Torch

January article in African American Point of View, by Lora Wondolowski

“A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”– Ezra Lazurus

Last month, Leadership Pioneer Valley focused on inclusive leadership in our core leadership program.  Our leaders dug deep into themselves to explore differences, micro-aggressions and ways to enhance understanding of one another.  There were frank discussions that built trust and better ways to talk to each other about difficult subjects.  We are incredibly proud of our cohort for their honesty and willingness to be uncomfortable in order to be better leaders.

This day was in stark juxtaposition to the current discourse in this country around Syrian refugees.  Many governors (including our own), members of Congress, and other leaders have suggested closing our doors to these exiles in need.  Our communities are filled with refugees from around the globe, yet some want to single out one group undergoing a humanitarian crisis.    In the 1970’s and 80’s Vietnamese refugees and immigrants came to the US and Springfield-area.  Central American refugees fleeing dictators and war settled in the Amherst-area in the 1980’s.  Recently, lost-boys and refugees from genocide in Sudan and other countries in Africa have come to the Springfield-area.  They all have left unimaginable circumstances to brave unfamiliar shores away from home, friends, and family.  All of these refugees have added to the richness of our communities by bringing new perspectives, ideas, and ways of doing things.  They have started new businesses, become our co-workers, community leaders, and married friends and family. We are better off because they are in our midst.

Leadership calls upon those who presume to be leaders to make difficult decisions during tumultuous times.  Inclusive leadership is not always easy.  It can be hard to include those that others perceive as “different” or a “threat”.  Inclusive leadership relies on leaders that can bring out our “better angels” when the task is difficult.  Being truly inclusive calls upon us to move along a scale from repugnance to tolerance to finally acceptance.  Leaders can model the way by taking risks and showing others how to be inclusive.  I call to mind the church leaders in Indiana who have drawn the ire of their governor for accepting refugees into their homes.  That is true leadership.  To be inclusive leaders, we must become the woman with the torch lighting the way to acceptance and tolerance so others can follow the way.

Job Opening: PVPC Seeks Manager of Communications

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission seeks Manager of Communications and Public Engagement.

See link below for more information.

LPV Launches Reach Program

Contact: Lora Wondolowski

Phone: (413) 737-3876






Mentoring program for recent LPV graduates

 October 22 – Springfield, MA Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) is pleased to offer a new mentoring program for recent graduates of their core 10-month regional leadership development program.  The Reach Program is designed to help recent LPV graduates apply the skills they learned in the LPV core to the workplace and to community leadership by pairing these recent graduates with established senior management-level professionals. The program serves the need for a one-on-one development process that LPV graduates can utilize to more effectively put their leadership skills into practice, on a personalized basis.

“We heard from our graduates that they learned so many skills that they were often overwhelmed with how to put them into action,” said Lora Wondolowski, LPV Executive Director.  “Our mentors are seasoned leaders in their professions and communities, who will be an incredible resource for their mentees.”

Mentors are senior management-level professionals from throughout the Pioneer Valley who desire to empower an LPV graduate by sharing their knowledge and experience.  Mentors must practice the leadership principles of Leadership Pioneer Valley including collaborative leadership, inclusive leadership, community trusteeship, and positive leadership.  All mentors must also be regionally or locally involved as civic leaders.  The mentoring relationship is structured to last for a year.


About Leadership Pioneer Valley:
The mission of Leadership Pioneer Valley is to identify, develop and connect diverse leaders to strengthen the region. Formed in 2010 to fill a critical need for a leadership program that builds a network of emerging leaders to address the challenges and opportunities of the region, Leadership Pioneer Valley combines both classroom and hands-on, experiential learning at different locations throughout the Valley. The curriculum is designed to foster the skills, collaboration, and commitment needed to further a vibrant and culturally competent Pioneer Valley. The inaugural class launched in the fall of 2011.


Leadership Pioneer Valley Kicks Off Class of 2016


Leadership Pioneer Valley Kicks Off Class of 2016

35 Emerging Leaders Unveiled

SPRINGFIELD, MA — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) officially kicked-off the 2016 program year and introduced the Class of 2016 on Sept. 21 at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke at its annual Reach Beyond Reception. The reception marked the inception of an intensive, ten-month regional leadership development curriculum for the new cohort.

LPV’s regional leadership development program annually features a diverse class from Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties—representing private, nonprofit, educational and public organizations. This year’s class includes 35 emerging leaders from the Pioneer Valley that filled the room with energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to the future of the region.

“The LPV Class of 2016 represents the future of our region,” commented Leadership Pioneer Valley Executive Director, Lora Wondolowski. “They bring a wide variety of experiences and skills to bear while all of them are committed to deepening their community involvement. With LPV in their toolboxes, they will go far.”

Leadership Pioneer Valley addresses the critical need to build a diverse network of leaders who aspire to work together across traditional barriers to strengthen the region. The region-specific curriculum is designed to help the participants refine their leadership skills, broaden connections, and develop a greater commitment to community trusteeship and cultural competency within the Pioneer Valley.

In January of 2014, Class of 2014 member Isabel Serrazina passed away suddenly.  To honor her memory and leadership, fellow-class members, alumni, and the board created the Serrazina Scholarship Fund to enable potential participants to attend LPV.  The second-annual Serrazina Scholarship was awarded to Jose Saavedra, an advocate for low-income children and families in Springfield.  Jose embodies Isabel Serrazina’s longtime work on low-income family issues in Springfield.

LPV Class of 2016 Participants

Name Affiliation
Ryan Barry of Easthampton Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP
Monica Borgatti of West Springfield WGBY
Heather Budrewicz of South Hadley Town of Southampton
Lakisha Coppedge of Springfield Mema’s II Family Childcare
Donald Courtemanche of Springfield Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
Adrian Dahlin of Holyoke Conway School of Landscape Design
Damon Depaolo of Torrington, CT MassMutual
Yvonne Diaz of East Longmeadow Health New England
Charlene Elvers of Williamsburg Springfield College
Joshua Garcia of Holyoke Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Desilynn Gladden of Springfield D.R.E.A.M. Studios
Lisabeth Jasniewicz of Northampton Smith College
Cathy Jocelyn of Westfield Westfield Bank
Amy Lantaigne of Springfield Sisters of Providence Health Systems
Freddie Lopez Jr. of Springfield NAI Plotkin
Josh Lubas of West Springfield MassMutual
Laura Masulis of Springfield MassDevelopment
Alison Messier of Springfield Springfield City Library
Daniel Montagna of Feeding Hills UMass Springfield
LaTonia Naylor of Springfield United Way of Pioneer Valley
Callie Niezgoda of Holyoke Common Capital
Christy O’Brien of South Hadley Center for Human Development
Jacquelyn Ouellette of Easthampton Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Noel Petrolati of Springfield Travelers
James Pignatiello of East Longmeadow MassLive
Amy Proietti of Greenfield Greenfield Community College
Shirley Rodriguez of Springfield City of Springfield
Jose Saavedra of Springfield Latino Education Institute
Lucesita Scammon of Springfield Baystate Health/Bay Care Health
Jeffrey Sexton of Agawam Comcast
Sonja Shaw of Springfield MassMutual
Katherine Sliwa of Chicopee Health New England
Jennifer Smith of Enfield, CT MassMutual
Kathleen Snow of Windsor Locks, CT Baystate Health
Bradford Turner of Belchertown UMass Amherst