February 16, 2018

    The MassMutual Foundation Grants $1 Million to Springfield Public Schools

    The MassMutual Foundation Grants $1 Million to Springfield Public Schools

    Funds will support expansion of collaborative student support program
    Grant further underscores MassMutual’s commitment to region

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Feb. 16, 2018 — The MassMutual Foundation, Inc. – a dedicated corporate foundation established by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) – today announced it is providing Springfield Public Schools $1 million to expand the City Connects program into eight additional elementary schools throughout the city.

    This grant further demonstrates the MassMutual Foundation’s ongoing commitment to Springfield and aligns with its focus on supporting programs that broaden economic opportunity for students and their families by transforming the system of learning. It is also consistent with the company’s recent decision to expand and reinvest in Massachusetts, including continuing to be a leading community partner in the Springfield area.  

    “Education is a key lever in achieving financial security later in life and the MassMutual Foundation is committed to ensuring that students have access to the support system and resources needed to learn and thrive in school,” said Dennis Duquette, head of MassMutual community responsibility and president of the MassMutual Foundation. “The City Connects program has already garnered great results in our schools; this investment will expand the program’s reach, bringing positive change for even more students and their families.”

    City Connects, a national program executed by the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, launched in five Springfield Public Schools in September 2011 and has tripled its reach and impact, serving 15 schools in 2017. The MassMutual Foundation grant will enable City Connects to reach a total of 23 schools. The program provides support for students based on their individual needs by addressing out-of-school challenges that affect student success, and leverages existing community resources and support services to optimize students’ readiness to learn.

    During the 2016-17 school year, City Connects served more than 5,000 Springfield students, and nearly 100 community partners provided support and services to meet these students’ unique strengths, needs and interests. Research has shown that the City Connects program significantly improves students’ academic performance; some positive long-term effects include lower dropout rates, higher test scores, and less chronic absenteeism.

    “We are very grateful for the extremely generous support the MassMutual Foundation is providing our school district, to help us better serve the whole child,” said Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick. “The City Connects program has yielded measurable positive results and this funding allows us to expand a program with a proven track record to reach more students. This kind of corporate citizenry has a value that cannot be overstated and we are elated about what this means for our students and families.”

    MassMutual has been a leading corporate citizen of the Springfield community since the company’s founding in 1851. In addition to strengthening education in Springfield, the MassMutual Foundation invests in projects, programs and organizations focused on strengthening the city of Springfield through revitalization, development, and social capital. In recent years, signature investments in the region include $15 million of support over 10 years to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to drive education and economic opportunity in Western Massachusetts, $1 million to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Capital Campaign to revitalize the museum, $1 million of support over three years to Valley Venture Mentors,  and seasonally supporting the Springfield Museums. To learn more about the MassMutual Foundation please visit www.massmutual.com/responsibility.

    About the MassMutual Foundation

    The MassMutual Foundation strives to broaden economic opportunity for America's youth and their families by investing in financial education for middle and high school students across the United States and economic development and education locally in Springfield, Mass. 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.

    About MassMutual

    MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company 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 Springfield Public Schools

    The Springfield Public Schools are world class learning environments that produce 21st century leaders. Our students will graduate from high school, college and career ready. The school district attracts knowledgeable, highly effective and diverse teachers and principals who want to work in a high performing district. Parents and community members are moving into Springfield for the privilege of sending their students to schools that are thriving in A Culture of Equity and Proficiency.

    About City Connects

    City Connects is an innovative school-based approach to addressing the out-of-school factors that impact education. In each City Connects school, a full-time Coordinator meets with each classroom teacher to review every student’s individual strengths and needs every year.  Each student is then connected to a tailored set of services and enrichment opportunities in the school and/or community that address his or her unique strengths and needs. Services vary in intensity, ranging from prevention and enrichment (e.g., after-school programs, academic and arts enrichments, sports) to early intervention (e.g., behavioral interventions, mentoring, parent/family supports) to more intensive services (e.g., attendance support, health/medical services, trauma support). Over a decade of research has demonstrated that students who experience City Connects in elementary school significantly out-perform comparison peers in measures of academic achievement and life chances, including higher statewide test scores, lower chronic absenteeism, and half the rate of high school dropout.

    Currently in five states, City Connects was first implemented in Springfield, MA, in 2011-12, where it launched in five of the city’s Transformation elementary schools. Before the Transformation designation, these schools performed significantly worse than comparison schools in MCAS ELA and Math. After three years of City Connects implementation, these gaps were narrowed such that differences in MCAS scores in grades 3, 4, and 5 were no longer significant. In 2016-17, over 5,000 students in 15 City Connects schools were connected to over 35,000 services. In 2018, City Connects is expanding to eight more schools in Springfield, allowing the program to serve many more of the city’s students.