Tufts Health Plan Foundation awards $160,000 to the Public Health Institute of Western MA for Live Well Springfield Age-Friendly Work

The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts (PHIWM) was awarded a two-year grant of $160,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to work with the Live Well Springfield Coalition to foster an age-friendly ecosystem and health equity approach to policies and practices in Springfield and Hampden County.

“We are grateful to Tufts Health Plan Foundation for their continued partnership in building capacity for policy change so older adults can lead healthy lives. Our collaborative work in Springfield is a model for the state and nation,” said Jessica Collins, Executive Director.

The LiveWell Springfield Coalition will use this funding to ensure housing policies and solutions make resources accessible to all older people. The work includes: collaboration with the Sheriff’s Department, criminal justice reform advocates, housing, and behavioral health providers to advance supports for older adults with criminal records to ensure housing and health access; the development of an action plan and digital toolkit to support older adults’ health at home; and an effort to recruit and train older adult resident leaders who can advocate for age-friendly best practices and initiatives. Our key partners working to advance the ecosystem for older adults under this grant include Baystate Geriatrics, TechSpring, Baystate Neighborhood Health Centers, New North Citizen’s Council, Men of Color Health Awareness, and the Alliance for Digital Equity as well as the Age Friendly Advisory Board.

“The promise made in the 2019 designation to make Springfield an Age-Friendly city continues through this grant. I believe that older adults’ voices are being heard in our coalition and will continue to be heard and reflected in our work through our Age-Friendly ecosystem.” Samantha Hamilton, Live Well Springfield Program Manager.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation is the only regional funder exclusively focused on healthy aging. This is one of 16 new community investments totaling nearly $2 million reflecting the Foundation’s support for collaborative initiatives helping communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island be great places to grow up and grow old. The new grants engage older people in systems-level change to remove barriers responsible for inequities in communities across the region.

“Older people were among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Point32Health. “These investments will support community resiliency and build on what we’ve learned in the past 16 months—that collaboration across organizations and sectors strengthens communities and result in better outcomes.”

Kresge Foundation awards $600,000 grant to the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts to combat climate change, improve health equity

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our climate justice project so far and we have great news on moving forward on our policy priorities!

The Kresge Foundation has awarded the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts a $600,000 grant for the Live Well Springfield Coalition to advance policy solutions aimed at combating climate change and equitably reducing health risks in low-income communities. Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts (PHIWM) is one of 14 community-based nonprofits nationwide receiving grant funding as part of The Kresge Foundation’s Climate Change, Health and Equity initiative.

With this funding,PHIWM will work with Live Well Springfield coalition members including the Resident Advisory Board, Arise for Social Justice, Way FindersNeighbor to Neighbor,Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the City of Springfield and partners from other sectors to develop multi-year work plans that address community-defined health and climate priorities.

The Live Well Springfield Climate Justice Initiative will address climate change and health equity policy issues in Springfield with funding from the Kresge Foundation over the next three years. The Coalition is excited to continue the climate justice work started by grassroots advocacy groups and community residents around the creation of the Strong, Healthy, and Just: Climate Action Resilience Plan (CARP).  

In 2019 the Coalition was awarded a planning grant by Kresge to identify one to two policy ideas that could significantly impact greenhouse gas emissions, health, equity, and racism.  The coalition partners- Live Well Springfield, Arise for Social Justice, Way FindersNeighbor to NeighborPublic Health Institute of Western Mass, and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission– worked closely with stakeholders, Resident Advocates, and residents to narrow down to two policies out 156 in the CARP. The partners created a variety of community engagement projects like community conversation, surveys, and workshops to gain community input and feedback.

The Coalition is excited for this next chapter to address the systemic issues of climate change.  To show appreciation for the community engagement, they created a thank you video to Springfield residents and climate justice allies who helped the Coalition narrow down to two policies. Going forward, they will be advocating for community choice energy and a race and health equity impact assessment requirement. 

Live Well Springfield Featured on Kresge Website

Live Well Springfield was featured on the Kresge Foundation’s website, along with three other Climate Change, Health and Equity Initiative grantees. Watch grantee partners share in their own words what they were able to accomplish in 2020 and what keeps them inspired as they continue onward with their work in 2021.

NEW REPORT! Bringing Care, Food, and Love to Households: Go Fresh Distributes Over 5000 Boxes of Fresh Produce

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Go Fresh Mobile Farmers Market project pivoted to providing free boxes of fresh produce to older adults at housing and senior-centers, as well as patients and families identified by healthcare and social service partners.

By the end of the 27-week project, there were 19 site locations serving older adults and families in Springfield. Go Fresh distributed over 5000 boxes of fresh produce, 300 social isolation care packages, 900 sets of PPE, and much more!

Read the full report.

Climate Change & Health Equity Meeting

Get involved in Climate Change!

Join international expert and local leaders to talk about friendly efforts in Western MA

Meet and learn from Alexandre Kalache, Ph.D., medical epidemiologist specializing in the study of aging.

Former director of the World Health Organization global aging program, Dr. Kalache is President of the International Longevity Centre-Brazil and Co-President of the Global Alliance of International Longevity Centres.

Hear from local leaders Bobbie Orsi and Laura Kittross of Age-Friendly Berkshires; Jessica Collins and Samantha Hamilton of the Live Well Springfield Age-Friendly City Initiative; Cindy Langley and Marie Westburg of Age-Friendly Northampton; and Becky Basch of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, who also will share how they are making their communities great places to grow up and grow old.

Date: Monday, October 28, 2019

Time: 10 a.m. – noon

Location: Community Music School of Springfield at the Robyn Newhouse Hall, 127 State Street, Springfield, MA 01103

Register by Wednesday, October 23 

Live Well Springfield presents at Springfield Bound

On Saturday, September 28th, 2019, Live Well Springfield (LWS) presented an Age-Friendly presentation for the Springfield Bound event at Chestnut Hill. This event is a day-long interactive event connecting students, faculty, and staff members from the Five Colleges who are interested in interning, volunteering, and collaborating with Greater Springfield community leaders. It offers a diverse set of workshops led by community organizations and walking tours of Springfield’s downtown area and local neighborhoods.

The workshop that was specifically presented by LWS went over the assessment process for housing and transportation in Springfield for the Age & Dementia Friendly Coalition. LWS went over how the coalition engaged older adults to identify service gaps and needs. Students were thrilled to obtain an understanding of the Age-Friendly framework and how it relates to their current and past experiences.

Kresge Foundation awards $100,000 grant to the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts to build climate resilience, improve health

The Kresge Foundation has awarded the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts a $100,000 grant to advance policy solutions aimed at improving climate resilience and equitably reducing health risks in low-income communities. The Springfield Climate Justice Initiative, a new project of the Live Well Springfield coalition convened by the Public Health Institute, is one of 15 community-based collaborations nationwide receiving grant funding as part of the planning phase of Kresge’s Climate Change, Health and Equity initiative.

The Springfield Climate Justice Initiative will focus on planning and implementing strategies identified in the 2017 Strong, Healthy, & Just: Springfield Climate Action & Resilience Plan for reducing GHG emissions and improving climate resilience in Springfield, Massachusetts. Our planning will focus on developing front-line residents’ capacity to accelerate municipal action on the top GHG emissions reduction strategies included in the Climate Action Plan.

With this funding, the collaborators who worked together to develop the city’s Strong, Healthy & Just Plan—the Public Health Institute of Western MassachusettsPioneer Valley Planning CommissionArise for Social Justice, and the City of Springfield —will work with partners from other sectors to develop multi-year work plans to address community-defined health and climate priorities. Our new partners in this Live Well Springfield initiative are Way FindersEner-G-Save and the City of Springfield’s new Sustainability Coordinator.  Specific activities will include building the capacity of residents and stakeholders related to climate action and its health equity impacts, conducting additional research to rank and prioritize climate actions as well as identifying the health equity impacts of proposed actions. 

“With a ten-year opportunity to avert the worst consequences of our climate crisis, this grant will give us the opportunity to build, nurture and develop community leadership and advocacy to accelerate implementation of the city’s 2017 climate plan,” said Jessica Collins, Executive Director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts.

 “Climate change is impacting people in real ways – today.  The good news is that community leaders across the country are making smart choices about how they can combat climate change while improving people’s lives and well-being, Lois DeBacker, managing director of the foundation’s Environment Program, said. “Our newly awarded grants will help more communities proactively tackle the health risks that climate change introduces or exacerbate.”

Following the one-year planning phase, Kresge will award multi-year grants to up to 12 planning grant recipients.  

The organizations will be supported by the Institute for Sustainable Communities, which serves as the national program office for the planning phase of the community-based strategy of the Climate Change, Health & Equity initiative. ISC’s mission is to help communities around the world address environmental, economic and social challenges to build a better future shaped and shared by all. For more information on the Climate Change, Health & Equity initiative, visit

“Guess what I did?” Resident Advocate Role Model Campaign Press Conference

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Springfield Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, City Councilors  Tracye Whitfield and Jesse will join the Live Well Springfield Resident Advocates and member organizations for the kick-off of its “Guess What I Did” Resident Advocate Role Model Campaign. The press conference will be on August 23rd at Duryea Way Park on Stearns Street form 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM. The Guess What I Did? Campaign highlights the power we have as everyday people in making a difference in our community. We feature 6 experienced role models from across the city who truly believe in the power of leading by example. Over the next year, the coalition will tell the stories of their efforts to improve lighting, safe streets, and school food in Springfield. 

Guess What I Did? Campaign Kickoff Media Advisory

Springfield schools open $21M culinary and food center described as a national model

A decade-long dream turned to reality on Friday when Springfield schools and local officials celebrated the opening of a $21 million, state-of-the-art Culinary and Nutrition Center that will serve 30,000 students daily. City and school officials, students, and representatives of Sodexo Food Service Company were part of a large crowd gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new center, at 75 Cadwell Drive, in East Springfield. The event included music from the High School of Science and Technology band, a flag-raising ceremony and raves from guest speakers.

Bike Week- Complete Streets Demo Day May 11th -19th

Bike enthusiasts, municipalities and transportation partners have once again scheduled a great slate of activities for the 20th Annual Pioneer Valley chapter of Bay State Bike Week. This is a week that celebrates bicycling as a means of transportation as well as recreation and highlights new sections of shared use paths, improvements to local roads, and the wealth of energy and enthusiasm of the Pioneer Valley biking community.

Age-Friendly City Summit June 13th at the Ray Jordan Senior Center

The Live Well Springfield Coalition will be presenting their findings, and recommendation for an Age-Friendly Springfield on June 13th for 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM at the Ray Jordan Senior Center. The Age-Friendly Advisory Coalition, convened by LWS and the Public Health Institute of Western Mass, funded by a two-year grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation, has led an assessment of the current housing and transportation conditions for seniors living in Springfield. Over the two years, the AFC Committee conducted a variety of community assessment strategies including but not limited to; walk audits, key informant interviews, focus groups, and workshop.  In addition, the coalition engaged senior residents throughout the assessment process to uncover their experience and perspectives. At the summit community resident and local partner will discuss plans and ideas to make Springfield an Age- Friendly City. To register for this event please click the link below.