October 1st, 2023
Residents can earn up to $500 annually for community engagement
Springfield, MA. – Union Capital, a nonprofit whose mission is to transform social capital into opportunity by rewarding community engagement, announced today its expansion into Springfield made possible by a $870,000 grant from the MassMutual Foundation. After a successful Springfield pilot in collaboration with New North Citizens’ Council in 2022, this funding will allow Union Capital to fully launch its model throughout Springfield while sustaining growth of the Boston program.
“We are excited to bring our successful community resource networking model to Springfield,” said Eric Leslie, founder and lead organizer of Union Capital. “We have found that providing an invitation, an incentive, and a connection to information supports residents in overcoming barriers to engagement and accessing resources that are critical for family prosperity. Springfield is a special community that we are excited to see leverage the power of social capital.”
This announcement was made today during the launch of Union Capital Springfield at the Greek Cultural Center, 16 Plainfield Street in Springfield, an event that was attended by state and local leaders as well as several Springfield nonprofit organizations and Springfield residents. During the event, residents took advantage of resources offered by the various organizations in attendance and signed up for the Union Capital app to begin earning member rewards.
Union Capital’s innovative approach combines technology and relationship building to strengthen neighborhood networks and build social capital. Its model consists of three core elements:
The Union Capital mobile rewards app aggregates hundreds of cross-sector resources into one searchable calendar. Over 4,000 individual members use the app to find new opportunities, - such as volunteering with nonprofits, attending public meetings, helping out a neighbor, or anything that strengthens the community - log their engagement and earn financial rewards for the time they commit. Participants also report measurable employment gains, improved finances, and higher voter participation.
“The MassMutual Foundation is pleased to support the efforts of Union Capital that are helping to foster greater financial resiliency in our Springfield neighborhoods,” said Dennis Duquette, head of Community Responsibility at MassMutual and president of the MassMutual Foundation. “The concept of social capital is integral to the work of the MassMutual Foundation as it constitutes the building of critical connections that contribute to better outcomes for members of the community, notably in the areas of long-term financial health and general well-being.”
Springfield residents that attended the launch event and signed up for the app automatically earned 1,000 points for each hour of attendance. Members can redeem up to $500 in rewards annually.
About Union Capital