10-Year, $15 Million Grant Aimed at Driving Education,
Economic Opportunity in Western Massachusetts
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., June 10, 2016 – The MassMutual Foundation, Inc. – a dedicated corporate foundation established by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) – today announced it is providing the University of Massachusetts Amherst $15 million over 10 years to further strengthen its world-class data science and cybersecurity research and education programs in Western Massachusetts.
The grant, a signature contribution of the MassMutual Foundation – and one of the largest donations in UMass Amherst history – was outlined by Nick Fyntrilakis, MassMutual’s Vice President of Community Responsibility and President of the MassMutual Foundation, at a briefing at the UMass Center at Springfield, located in Tower Square, which will house the new cybersecurity initiative.
“The implementation of new technologies across all industries is occurring at an extremely rapid pace, driving demand for scientists skilled in analyzing data and protecting digital information,” said Fyntrilakis. “The MassMutual Foundation is making this gift to take these leading data science and cybersecurity research centers to the next level, and to ensure that both the Pioneer Valley and the Commonwealth will be at the forefront of these emerging areas and a top destination for these important disciplines.”
A growing and exciting new facet of MassMutual’s corporate responsibility approach, the MassMutual Foundation is a dedicated corporate foundation created by MassMutual to manage eligible charitable contributions.
The MassMutual Foundation’s long term goal is to provide a total of $100 million through targeted charitable investments over the next five years. Fyntrilakis added that over the past 10 years, MassMutual has given back nearly $80 million to the communities where the company’s employees and agents live and work.
“Throughout our 165-year history, MassMutual has always made people a priority, and today that commitment to our policyowners, customers and the communities we serve continues with the creation of our Foundation,” said Fyntrilakis. “By giving back to our communities and providing economic opportunity, we are indeed strengthening the vitality of the region.”
In announcing the new UMass initiative, Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said: “We are deeply grateful for this extraordinary investment by the MassMutual Foundation. Today’s announcement represents a private-public collaboration that will uniquely benefit the Commonwealth. With this support, our researchers will expand our knowledge of data science and its uses and develop new cybersecurity systems to protect information networks. Our internationally recognized faculty also will help prepare the next generation of leading computer scientists, creating new knowledge and educating a growing workforce to create a range of new economic opportunities.”
The grant to UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth’s flagship campus, will provide substantial new resources to two of the university’s outstanding areas of academic and research excellence – both affiliated with the College of Information and Computer Sciences.
- $12 million to support the Center for Data Science, which will enhance UMass Amherst's standing as a leading destination for data science and related research. Funds will be invested to hire additional faculty, and support the Center's goals to double the number of data science courses and triple the size of the master's program in computer science. Students will engage with – and learn from – leading educators in data analytics. The center also focuses on creating new technology to manage and gain insight from big data while also educating tomorrow's data scientists.
- $3 million to support new research and education activities at the university's Cybersecurity Institute. The gift will establish the Institute's new Trust Assurance Cybersecurity certificate offered at the MassMutual Foundation/UMass Springfield Center for Training in Cybersecurity. The program will provide a significant economic development benefit to downtown Springfield, drawing professionals from the Springfield-Hartford, Conn., area as well as undergraduate students. The gift also supports new faculty hires by UMass Amherst to develop and teach the classes.
In addition to the collaboration with UMass Amherst, the MassMutual Foundation is focused on expanding its FutureSmartSM program, which challenges young leaders to take steps toward both a successful career and financial wellness for themselves, their families and their communities. To date, the program has reached more than 250,000 middle and high school students across the country. Its goal is to reach two million students by 2020.
The MassMutual Foundation will also fund such programs as Mutual ImpactSM, MassMutual’s employee giving program, and grants focused on economic development, academic achievement & workforce development and financial education. To learn more about the MassMutual Foundation please visit www.massmutual.com/responsibility.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The field of data science draws on statistical methods to address business issues and improve the customer experience in an array of fields. With respect to MassMutual, among the work currently being conducted by its team of data scientists, includes helping the company instantaneously assess risks, enable new products and streamline the underwriting process.
In 2015, MassMutual made a $2 million, four-year investment to enable Smith College and Mount Holyoke College to develop a comprehensive data science curriculum. The company also opened an industry-leading data science center in Amherst.
About the MassMutual Foundation
The MassMutual Foundation strives to broaden economic opportunity for America’s youth and their families by investing in economic development, academic achievement & workforce development locally, and financial education across the United States. The Foundation is a reflection of MassMutual’s longstanding dedication to corporate citizenship and its unwavering commitment to the communities in which we do business. To learn more about the MassMutual Foundation please visit www.massmutual.com/responsibility.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) is a leading mutual life insurance company that that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.
About UMass Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. As Commonwealth’s flagship campus in America’s education state, UMass Amherst makes a profound, transformative contribution to the common good—in Massachusetts and beyond.