PVPC One of Six Awardees from PolicyLink to Advance Equity Agenda

16 Mar 2015

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, on behalf of LiveWell Springfield, is one of just six organizations across the country to receive an award from the Leadership Conference Education Fund and PolicyLink to advance affordable, accessible transportation policy.

PVPC will use funds to embed transit equity principles into LiveWell Springfield and will host local activities to engage, educate, and empower local leaders within communities of color to lift up the Equity Caucus Agenda locally and federally. Specifically, PVPC is collaborating with Joseph Krupczynski and the Center for Design Engagement, Natalia Muñoz of Verdant Multicultural Media, and Evelín Aquino to expand the successful Capacity Building sessions implemented in 2014 for emerging leaders in Springfield. (For a summary of this work, go to: http://www.pvpc.org/content/new-video-building-skills-equity-and-engagem...).

"When we completed our three-and-a-half-year HUD-funded equity and engagement work last year, we knew we needed more funding to expand our capacity building workshops,” explained Catherine Ratté, Principal Planner and Section Manager at PVPC. “Our civic engagement goal is not just to engage individuals from under-represented groups, but also to create pathways for them into positions of power. Participation in democracy, especially from communities that are too often left out, brings important voices to the table and makes sustainable growth and development possible,” she said.

The five other grant recipients are Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equality (Kansas City, MO), Puget Sound Sage/Tacoma-Pierce County Equity Network (Seattle, Washington), Services for Independent Living (Euclid, Ohio), Urban Habitat (Oakland, California), and WISDOM (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Emerging leaders from Springfield will meet with representatives from these communities in Washington, D.C. this June to share information about the work.

Equitable transportation investments are crucial to connecting people to jobs, educational opportunities, affordable housing, health care, and other basic needs. Through a coalition of over 100 organizations, the Transportation Equity Caucus is charting a new course for transportation investments, one that is focused on policies that advance economic and social equity in America. For more information, see www.equitycaucus.org.

Live Well Springfield, a movement to promote healthy eating and active living, has been working for the last few years putting systems into action that support safe and friendly walking and biking, As part of LiveWell Springfield's work in 2012-2014, PVPC facilitated creation of the City's Pedestrian and Bicycle Complete Streets Plan, implementation guide, draft Complete Streets policy and Complete Streets Build-out plan and map (www.livewellspringfield.org). For more information, please contact PVPC’s Catherine Ratté at (413) 781-6045 or cratte@pvpc.org