In 2018, we began the Live Mutual Project in the Frayser neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee, and the North End neighborhood of Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Frayser Neighborhood
The Frayser neighborhood of Memphis sprang up around the railroad in the late 1800s. In the 20th century, factories moved in, shopping centers and schools opened and the community thrived.
In the 1980s, plants closed, people left, and businesses stopped investing, leaving Frayser one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in America.
Per capita income in Frayser is lower than 99% of U.S. neighborhoods. 87% of children at Frayser Achievement Elementary school qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.
Despite these challenges, Frayser is full of potential. In 2017, a passionate MassMutual agent inspired us to do more. After learning about the damaging effect payday lenders had on the area, we were ready to act but didn’t have all the answers – we needed to take a mutual approach.
In 2018, Frayser welcomed the opportunity to be one of the first neighborhoods to participate in the Live Mutual Project.
Springfield's North End
Springfield’s North End includes Brightwood, Memorial Square and Liberty Heights. For more than a century, it has been a first home for various immigrant communities. While some have thrived, others experience health and well-being far below city, regional, and state expectations.
North End residents face challenges accessing financial services. With few formal banking services in the area, people rely on a few ATMs, check-cashing options in bodegas, or payday lenders in surrounding neighborhoods.
As the location of MassMutual’s headquarters, Springfield, Massachusetts was a natural place for us to pilot the Live Mutual Project. We work with longstanding partners to support residents’ financial well-being.
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