2024

  • Healey-Driscoll Administration Announcement Includes NewVue Communities’ Affordable Housing Project in Athol.

    January 22
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    Fitchburg– Chosen as one of 26 projects to receive funding to develop affordable housing while preserving two historical buildings, the Residences at the Park is a development project in Athol that will bring new life and purpose to the Riverbend and Bigelow Schools.

    Today, NewVue Communities Executive Director, Marc Dohan and Athol Town Manager, Shaun Suhoski, were in Boston to celebrate the awards with other recipients committed to addressing the housing crisis across the state.

    Athol Town Manager, Shaun Suhoski said “We are fortunate to have a strong partner in New Vue Communities, with the amazing support of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, to bring life to a pair of shuttered former school buildings.  A program that provides needed affordable housing, restores two historic buildings, adds modern apartments for senior citizens, and rejuvenates a neighborhood will surely have generational benefits for the town of Athol and the North Quabbin region.”

    Read the full announcement made by the Healy-Driscoll Administration including appreciation expressed by NewVue Executive Director, Mark Dohan for this critical funding.

    a group of people standing in a field next to a building.

2023

  • Fitchburg Arts Community Groundbreaking Draws a Big Crowd of Fans

    November 3
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    Derek Craig, Board Member,

    Thursday, November 2, 2023, a very large and enthusiastic crowd gathered on Academy Street to celebrate the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Fitchburg Arts Community. While the temperature at 10 am was a chilly 39 degrees, guests arrived with warm hearts, ready to celebrate the long-awaited milestone. NewVue Board Member Derek Craig welcomed guests and jumpstarted a series of meaningful comments from several public officials, funders, and others who have played a large role in moving the project forward. “This project is going to be more than just buildings. It’s going to be a canvas for creativity, culture, and connection, with 68 spaces for artists to live, create, and showcase their work. We are not just building homes; we’re crafting a vibrant hub that will enrich and elevate Fitchburg’s art scene,” said Craig. While construction equipment could be heard humming in the background, Mayor Steven DiNatale, State Senator John Cronin, and State Representative Micheal Kushmerek each spoke to the value of the Fitchburg Arts Community and the stamina of NewVue, the City, and partners to see this project through ten years of progress and challenges.

    EVENT PHOTOS

    Ed Agustus, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, and Dan Rivera, President and CEO MassDevelopment, made time to celebrate with the city and offered their congratulations for the unique reuse of three historic buildings and the impact of the project in our community and throughout the Commonwealth. In a follow-up to the event, Dan Rivera said “It was an honor to take part in this celebration, which was the culmination of 10-plus years of hard work by NewVue Communities and so many partners. Breaking ground on the Fitchburg Arts Community was an incredible milestone, and we can’t wait to come together again soon to cut the ribbon on this important project.”

    NewVue Executive Director Marc Dohan led the ceremony, and while not so tall in stature, it was clear that he has a heart as big Texas for affordable housing projects and, more specifically, what the Fitchburg Arts Community will mean for the residents and businesses of the City of Fitchburg and the region.

    Enjoy watching a video of the full groundbreaking ceremony beautifully captured by Nathan Glenny, Executive Director, Fitchburg Access Television.

    FITCHBURG ARTS COMMUNITY GROUNDBREAKING

    Below is a list of all event speakers. Each offered congratulations for the accomplishments thus far, comments that will clearly fuel the work of everyone moving forward.

    Event Speakers

    Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue

    Derek Craig, Resident of North of Main, NewVue Board Member

    Stephen DiNatale, Mayor, City of Fitchburg

    John Cronin, State Senator

    Michael Kushmerek, State Representative

    Jake Mastrandrea   Aid to Representative Lori Trahan

    Ed Augustus, Secretary of Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities

    Dan Rivera, CEO, MassDevelopment

    Roger Herzog,  Executive Director, CDAC

    Mark Teden, Vice President of Rental Housing and MassHousing

    Moddie Turay, CEO, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation

    Nick Capasso,   Executive Director, Fitchburg Art Museum

    Michael Williams, Relationship Manager, NeighborWorks America

    Tom Gray, Board President, NewVue

    Dolores Thibault-Muñoz, Deputy Director, NewVue

  • NewVue Communities Receives $150,000 Housing for Everyone Grant from TD Charitable Foundation

    May 31
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    PRESS RELEASE

    Fitchburg, MA, May 30, 2023 – NewVue Communities, the leading community development corporation in North Central Massachusetts was recently awarded a $150,000 Housing for Everyone grant from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. NewVue Communities is one of 37 non-profit organizations selected from more than 450 applicants to receive a Housing for Everyone grant as part of the TD Charitable Foundation’s signature grant initiative that has helped support organizations that are focused on providing affordable housing and affordable housing services since 2005.

    In recent years, the housing affordability crisis has continued to be a financial burden on families. As individuals and families across the country struggle with an exponential rise in rental costs and inflation, affordable housing providers face increased hardship given the growing demand for affordable rental units and emergency rental assistance.

    The grant will help preserve affordable housing in Fitchburg’s North of Main Neighborhood. This neighborhood is the focus of a comprehensive community development plan and was the focus of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge. NewVue Communities will focus on 52 apartments in three NewVue-owned buildings with renovations and system upgrades.

    “We are very grateful to the TD Charitable Foundation for supporting this work. This funding will strengthen our capital and operating budgets and will accelerate NewVue’s comprehensive community development work throughout North of Main,” said Marc Dohan, Executive Director at NewVue Communities.

    “The work NewVue Communities does to support the Fitchburg community and its residents is invaluable,” said Sheryl McQuade, Regional President of Metro New England, TD Bank. “NewVue Communities plays a critical role in providing access to safe, affordable housing, and the TD Charitable Foundation is excited to support their work preserving affordable housing in Fitchburg’s North of Man Neighborhood as part of this year’s Housing for Everyone grant competition.”

    Through the 17th annual Housing for Everyone grant competition, the TD Charitable Foundation awarded $7 million across the Bank’s Maine-to-Florida footprint and Michigan to help support affordable housing organizations that focus on preserving affordable rental housing in their work to deliver rental assistance, rehabilitating affordable rental housing properties, and build organizational capacity to address resident sustainability for the long-term. Since 2005, the TD Charitable Foundation has given more than $49 million to non-profit and charitable organizations through the Housing for Everyone grant competition and helped support more than 550 affordable housing projects and initiatives.

    The Housing for Everyone grant competition supports TD’s longstanding commitment to community enrichment through TD’s corporate citizenship platform, The TD Ready Commitment, which actively promotes inclusivity, economic vitality, and environmental wellbeing, enabling people of all backgrounds to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

    To learn more about Housing for Everyone and for a full list of this year’s grant recipients, please visit https://stories.td.com/us/en/article/td-charitable-foundation-awards-7-million-to-37-non-profits-helping-preserve-affordable-rental-housing.

    ###

    About NewVue Communities

    NewVue is the leading community development corporation (CDC) in North Central Massachusetts. As a community-based non-profit organization, NewVue’s mission is to improve the quality of life for low and moderate residents in North Central Massachusetts through community development. NewVue works to: improve and stabilize neighborhoods; promote small business development; and build the economic, physical and personal assets of local communities and their residents. To learn more about NewVue Communities, visit newvuecommunities.org or contact Kerry Flathers, Director of Development and Communications at kflathers@nvcomm.org.

    About the TD Charitable Foundation 

    The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. Since its inception in 2002, the Foundation has distributed over $300 million through donations to local nonprofits from Maine to Florida footprint and Michigan. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation is available at https://www.tdbank.com/corporate-responsibility/the-ready-commitment/funding-opportunities/.

    Release Date: 5/30/23

    Contact: Kerry Flathers

    Director of Development and

    Communications

    kflathers@nvcomm.org 978-870-2474

  • Congressman McGovern Brings Great News to Athol

    May 27
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    US Congressman James P. McGovern

    On Friday, May 26, 2023, US Congressman James P. McGovern greeted NewVue staff, Athol Board of Selectmen members, and supporters of NewVue and Athol residents to announce that he has personally secured $1,000,000 in federal funding to help construct 53 units of affordable housing in Athol. The NewVue Communities Riverbend-Bigelow Schools Project was funded as part of the omnibus appropriations bill that passed the House and Senate in December and was signed into law by President Biden. The development will preserve the historic schools and add a new building designed for seniors.

    Some comments from Congressman McGovern included: “This development will help address the pressing issue of affordable housing in our communitieis. I extend my sincerest gratitude to Town Administrator Shaun Sahuski and NewVue’s Executive Director Mark Dohan for their invaluable leadership and relentless efforts in championing affordable housing and community development. The NewVue Communities Riverbend-Bigelow Schools Project will infuse New life into this community and generate commercial demand in Downtown Athol – all while preserving the historic significance of these schools built over 100 years ago.”

    (Left to Right) Rebecca Bialecki, Athol Select Board,
    Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue,
    Congressman James P. McGovern,
    Andy Sudjak, Athol Select Board,
    Shaun Suhoski, Athol Town Administrator

    The development will preserve the original 1912 Ellen Bigelow School and the 1907 and 1937 portions of the Riverbend school. The historic buildings occupy a single town block [3.25 acres] set amongst several single-family houses, nearby places of worship and other small local businesses. Situated between both schools is a new social core articulated in a new addition. The building will extend off a central lobby extending to a wing of new apartments designed for an aging generation. Family units with two and three bedrooms bring new life to old classrooms with unique living spaces. Contemporary conveniences are provided to seniors in newly constructed units that stretch out from the common core in a distinct, traditional straightforward style. A two+ story addition, aligned with the primary floors of the existing schools, will be constructed connecting both historic buildings to a new residential section providing twenty-one-bedroom units.

  • NewVue Communities Graduates 65 Stewards

    May 5
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    NewVue Communities celebrated the graduation of 65 stewards on Wednesday, May 3 at the Highland Baptist Church in Fitchburg. Presented with certificates of completion, the graduates represented cohorts who participated in training series focused on the arts, youth and civic engagement, childcare entrepreneurs, and community organizing. The program is designed to provide residents with leadership development in a number of topics that equip them with the tools to impact the quality of life in their communities.  

    Marc Dohan, Executive Director for NewVue welcomed the audience and recognized the work and leadership of each graduate, and acknowledged the important partnerships that the steward training program has developed over the years. This past year, NewVue partnered with Fitchburg Cultural Alliance, The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Wachusett Area Social Justice Alliance, the Health Equity Partnership (of the Community Health Network of North Central Massachusetts -Region 9) and Empower Children for Success. He noted that what started as the first cohort of ten students in 2018 is now a group of over 300 stewards.

    Ines Palmarin

    Guest speaker, Ines Palmarin, is the Working Cities Challenge Manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Co-Leader of the Leaders for Equitable Local Economies. Leaders for Equitable Local Economies is a pilot initiative that aims to support leaders who are working to make their local economies more inclusive. Ms. Palmarin worked closely with Marites MacLean and Beth Robbins to offer training opportunities to those interested in the childcare profession. Ines said, “the early childcare initiative, as you can see from all the caps and gowns is real. By launching graduates into the early childcare career path this evening, you have already leveled up opportunities not only for the graduates and their families but also for the Fitchburg community. It takes not just leadership but the willingness to want to work together toward a shared vision.”

    Beth Robbins, a community steward leader also addressed the graduates. Beth spoke of her journey as a steward. “I became a steward in 2019 because I wanted a place where I belonged, and I could reach my own goals and those of my community. NewVue was that program that was the gateway for me to be able to connect with other people who shared a heart for stewardship and were looking to do some really good things in the community. It opened doors to meeting people and growing in leadership.”


    Anyone interested in becoming involved in NewVue Communities’ Steward Leadership Development Program isencouraged to reach out to Francisco Ramos, Director of Community Organizing, at framos@nvcomm.org.

  • NewVue Communities Chooses Dolores Thibault-Muñoz as its New Deputy Director

    March 29
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    NewVue Communities is excited to welcome Dolores Thibault-Muñoz in the newly-created position of Deputy Director. Dolores started in the role on March 10th and will be overseeing NewVue’s housing services, community organizing, small business development, and fundraising and communications teams.

    NewVue’s Executive Director, Marc Dohan said, “Dolores brings a combination of skills, leadership experience, and an understanding of the region’s economic development needs that will support NewVue’s mission, strengthen our programs and stretch our impact. She offers a breadth and depth of human service experience in a variety of work settings, and we are fortunate to have her join our team.”

    Dolores Thibault-Muñoz

    Dolores moved to Fitchburg, MA in 2006, where she became the executive director of the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center.  She then became interim executive director of Growing Places and House of Peace and Education Inc. Dolores has served on multiple boards of local organizations. She was also the first Latina elected City Councilor in the City of Fitchburg. Dolores graduated from DePaul University with a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies with a concentration in Public Policy and graduated with a JD from The Massachusetts School of Law. She most recently was a criminal defense attorney who represented indigent clients for the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), Massachusetts’ Public Defender Agency in Worcester County. She currently lives in Gardner, MA.

    Dolores Thibault-Muñoz stated, “I look forward to taking the best of what I have learned thus far in my nonprofit leadership roles and pairing it with the exciting work in my role at NewVue. It is clear I have joined an organization that has the best interest of the community at the forefront of its work. Sometimes a change makes you feel like you have arrived back home. Returning to nonprofit community-based work in North Central Massachusetts feels very much like home.”

  • Current Apartment Availability in Fitchburg Apartamentos Disponibles Ahora en Fitchburg

    March 28
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  • NewVue Communities and Fitchburg Civic Forum Partner to Encourage Civic Engagement

    March 27
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    The NewVue Communities Stewards program presents a special municipal election year series of free workshops in partnership with the Fitchburg Civic Forum starting Wednesday, March 30, 2023. The four sessions will be held at the Fitchburg Cultural Alliance at 675 Main Street in Fitchburg.

    These workshops are for anyone interested in learning how to run for office, or the protocols for applying to serve on boards and commissions in Fitchburg. From 2008 until the pandemic, the Fitchburg Civic Forum organized a variety of educational opportunities to increase civic engagement and help residents learn how to serve the city that they love. This Civic Ambassador Stewards Training offered with the guidance of Francisco Ramos, NewVue Communities’ Director of Community Organizing will provide a unique opportunity for the public to learn about public service.

    Francisco Ramos explains, “although the forum is focused on the City of Fitchburg and community institutions, it is open to all area residents. It will include a presentation on the procedures of registering signatures for nomination papers, organizing a campaign, and voter outreach.”

    “Our tradition is to help guide interested individuals on a step-by-step strategy that will help guide them in their area of interest, whether it be serving as an appointed official, or putting oneself forward as a candidate,” says Fitchburg Civic Forum founder Sally Cragin, who also serves as a Councilor-at-Large on the Fitchburg City Council. “In the past, we have had residents from every surrounding town and we welcome everyone.” Ward 6 Councilor Derrick Cruz is also an organizer for this workshop series.

    “Programs like these are invaluable in promoting the democratic process and encouraging civic engagement from all of our citizens,” said Fitchburg Mayor, Stephen DiNatale.

    Attendance is FREE and open to all. Workshop dates are March 30, April 5, April 13, and April 19, 2023, from 6:30 to 8 pm.  If you are interested in participating or have questions, please contact Francisco Ramos at framos@nvcomm.org

  • “Donuts With Delegates” and Great Dialogue

    March 20
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    St. Patrick’s Day at NewVue Communities kicked off with a gathering of board members, staff, stewards, and delegates to discuss current economic development issues and budget priorities. Donuts With Delegates was an annual event before COVID, and this was the first time since the pandemic that NewVue hosted this event. Donuts With Delegates is an opportunity for staff to share current work, legislative priorities, and requests for support for community development-related budget issues. The gathering was held in person at NewVue Communities, 470 Main Street in Fitchburg.

    Staff and guests gather in the NewVue training room.

    Senator John Cronin, Representative Natalie Higgins (Leominster) and Rebecca Hess, Aid to Representative Michael Kushmerek (Fitchburg), heard firsthand the impact of the Community Investment Tax Credit Program and the Agency’s ability to leverage operational funds typically not supported through grants and other funding sources.

    Additionally, the delegation heard more about the need for affordable housing and small business programs, home ownership and supporting healthier homes. Equally important addressing climate change as well as advocating for increased opportunities for childcare were also raised as topics for discussion by members of the community that are graduates of NewVue’s Stewards Training. Senator Cronin and Representative Higgins and Ms. Hess listened wholeheartedly and voiced their support for NewVue’s key legislative priorities.

    Executive Director, Marc Dohan, talks with Board Member, Derek Craig, Representative Natalie Higgins, and Senator John Cronin.

    Senator Cronin and Representative Higgins and Ms. Hess provided the group with an overview of their assigned committees on the state legislature and the work that each of those committees would focus on moving forward.

    Marc Dohan, Executive Director at NewVue said, “the opportunity to sit and talk about what we see as priorities and to know they match strongly with the interests of our state legislative delegation is exciting. Senator Cronin, Representative Higgins and Representative Kushmerek have always been supporters and advocates for our mission. Their participation in our Donuts With Delegates event certainly reminded us of that strong support.”

    As a member of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC), NewVue Communities joins community development corporations across the Commonwealth to help drive the policy agenda for the 2023/24 legislative session. View all of the MACDC priorities related to advancing racial and economic equity by creating healthy communities:

    MACDC 2023-2024 ADVOCACY AGENDA

2022

2021

  • NewVue Communities Will Hold Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 5:30pm via Zoom.

    June 19
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    Join the NewVue team on Thursday, June 24, 2021, for our Annual Meeting. Our guest speaker is Dan Rivera, President, and CEO of the Mass Development Corporation. You can register HERE.

    The meeting will include a vote for approval of the minutes from last year. Those minutes are available for your review: Annual Meeting Minutes 2020.

  • NewVue Communities Steward Leadership Development Program and Fitchburg State University Resident Leadership Institute Celebrate 104 Graduates

    June 9
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    a group of people standing in front of a brick building.

    With the beautiful courtyard of the Fitchburg Art Museum as the background, NewVue’s Community Stewards gathered on Wednesday evening, June 2, 2021, to celebrate their individual accomplishments as well as their impact as a collective group of caring and committed members of the community. NewVue’s Steward Training Program is designed to provide residents with leadership development training in areas of their choice (Community Organizing, Mental Health, Children with Special Needs, Public Health, Art and Culture, and Clinton Cohort).  Many stewards were recognized for completing multiple trainings, a testimony to their interest in serving as advocates, leaders, and volunteers in the City of Fitchburg and throughout the region. The program graduated 83 Stewards who participated in trainings in the Fall/Winter 2020 and in Spring 2021. The 21 participants who completed the Fitchburg State University Resident Leadership Institute were also recognized.

    a man in a suit at a wooden podium
    William Cortezia

    The common theme for many who spoke was set in motion by William Cortezia, Associate Professor at Fitchburg State University and FSU Resident Leadership Institute Coordinator. His warm welcome to graduates and guests included acknowledging the overwhelming joy everyone felt being able to attend an in-person event. Live streaming of the event was provided for those stewards who were unable to attend the event in person.

    a woman standing at a podium in front of a crowd.
    Meredith Geraghty

    Meredith Geraghty, Program Officer at NewVue welcomed the audience and close-knit group, offering a congratulatory message focused on the incredible difference stewards have made during the past year. Stating that the notable accomplishments of the stewards are too numerous to include them all, Meredith offered the following examples. “You worked in partnership with ReImagine North of Main, Transformative Development Initiative and Team Better Block to implement a successful community art and performance event – the Leap Year Lights Festival at the Riverfront Park in February 2020. You organized one of the few virtual National Night Out events, convening over 350 residents to talk about issues of racial justice with Fitchburg’s Mayor, Chief of Police, and District Attorney.  Parents within the Fitchburg Public Schools benefited from over $55,000 in food and educational supplies as a result of the collaboration of Inform Fitchburg with the Fitchburg Arts Museum and the Fitchburg Public Schools.”

    a woman standing at a podium in front of a red sculpture.
    Beth Robbins

    Stewards, some of whom have ventured out to start up their own nonprofit organizations, spoke about the skills, knowledge and support the steward program provided, allowing them to be better informed as they developed their service mission and pursued a nonprofit status. Beth Robbins is President of Fitchburg Roots, a community-driven nonprofit organization that seeks to humanize Fitchburg’s history and the families who have chosen to settle there. When asked about her experience as a steward, Beth said, “NewVue has helped shape my connections within the community, provided a structure for leadership, and encouraged stewards to take initiative. I have watched fellow stewards pioneer meaningful projects that build bridges for our community.  As steward classes and the Fitchburg State Resident Leadership Institute continue to develop leaders, we will know no bounds in how our communities will flourish.”

    The Steward-based nonprofit organizations working to become tax-exempt 501(c)3 organizations are Fitchburg Loves the Children, Inc.; Fitchburg Roots, Inc.; The Thurston Consort, Inc.; Inform Fitchburg; and The Fitchburg Language Learners.

    Anyone interested in becoming involved in NewVue Communities’ Steward Leadership Development Program is encouraged to reach out to Francisco Ramos, Director of Community Organizing, at framos@nvcomm.org. Those interested in the FSU Resident Leadership Institute can contact William Cortezia at wcortezi@fitchburgstate.edu.

  • Grand Opening for Banm Santee, a Unique CNA Education Center

    May 10
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    FITCHBURG: DJenny Pierre announces the Grand Opening of Banm Santee, an organization with a mission to provide health support and quality education to all individuals. Banm Santee, meaning, “give me health,” provides Certified Nursing Certification training in both English and Spanish and can support students speaking French and Haitian Creole.

    two women holding up a certificate in front of a green wall.
    DJenny Pierre with one of her students

    Banm Santee was initially created in Haiti in 2010 under the ownership of DJenny Pierre and is now based at 483 B Electric Avenue in Fitchburg. The company’s founder is experienced as an LPN and medical technologist in addition to teaching CNA courses. DJenny is certified as a CNA and CPR Instructor.

    a man and a woman holding a certificate.
    DJenny with a class graduate

    Banm Santee focuses on education with a diverse network by respecting an individual’s cultural background and ensuring person-centered care. “Our graduates will be confident, competent, and compassionate nursing assistants and will be serving the healthcare community proudly. Our graduates will see patients as a whole,” said DJenny Pierre, Owner at Banm Santee. The business currently focuses on CNA courses, CPR classes, and Continuing Education classes for CNAs.

    The Banm Santee Grand Opening on May 15th at 483 Electric Avenue will be a celebration that includes a ribbon-cutting at 1:00 p.m. by Fitchburg Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale and State Representative Michael P. Kushmerek. Refreshments and appetizers will be served.

    Ray Belanger, Director of Small Business Assistance at NewVue Communities, worked with DJenny Pierre on her comprehensive business plan.  “It is clear DJenny places great importance on the quality of health of others and impacts that quality with her commitment to the course offerings and student experience at Banm Santee, said Ray. ‘DJenny was a pleasure to work with.

    DJenny Pierre, Owner of Banm Santee, can be reached at (774) 578-2141 or banmsantee@gmail.com. Learn more about Banm Santee at www.banmsantee.com.

    Our Small Business Technical Assistance Program is funded in part by Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.

    Mass Growth Capital Logo

                            

  • NewVue’s Carter School Apartments to Receive 2021 Paul & Niki Tsongas Award from Preservation Massachusetts

    April 20
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    a large brick building with a curved asphalt path and grass in front, on a sunny day, with an American flag at full mast
    Carter School Apartments, Leominster, MA

    NewVue Communities is pleased to announce that our most recent affordable housing project, The Carter School Apartments in Leominster, will receive the coveted 2021 Paul and Niki Tsongas Award from Preservation Massachusetts. The award celebration, slated for Thursday, May 20, will recognize projects that have displayed the highest level of commitment to historic preservation in Massachusetts.

    The Carter School Apartments is also included in the pool of projects to be selected as the People’s Choice Award through a popular vote campaign. Join us in voting HERE as many times a day as you like.

    Learn why the Carter School Apartments project is so remarkable.

    A beautiful, stately building that sat vacant and badly deteriorating for over 20 years until it was rescued and restored, Carter School Apartments is the embodiment of preservation. Originally known as Leominster High School, it was designed by the locally prominent Worcester-based architectural firm of Frost, Briggs & Chamberlain. It is Leominster’s most elaborate public-school building. In 1963, the building was renamed to James G. Carter Middle School. In 1985, it was reorganized as an administration building for the School Department until 1995, when it was sold to a private party and remained vacant.

    A Classical Revival-style red brick and granite structure, Carter School is an impressive five-story building encompassing 63,000 square feet. A brick boiler house and smokestack totaling 2,100 square feet complete the site, located in a picturesque, open setting in a residential neighborhood. When NewVue Communities, Davis Square Architects, and the project team first surveyed the building, because of its quality design and craftsmanship, the exterior was in good condition and the masonry well preserved. However, interior access was extremely limited due to the structurally compromised conditions from major water infiltration, stemming from the failed roof. Some floors had collapsed on one another, preventing safe building entry, and a cherry picker lift was required to inspect the upper floors.

    The project team worked creatively to develop the best strategy to retain the school’s original character-defining features while creating quality housing. Classrooms were transformed into a mix of 14 one-bedroom units, 21 two-bedroom units, and four three-bedroom units featuring spacious layouts, high ceilings, and large windows allowing for an abundance of natural light. In the center of the building, former spaces such as the auditorium, cafeteria, and administrative offices were converted to common areas for resident gatherings and community space, fitness space, and storage. The boiler house was repurposed for additional storage space. Many historic elements were salvaged and re-installed, such as the original front and side doors, window and door wood trim, hardwood flooring, and chalkboards.

    Exterior envelop and heating systems were brought up to modern standards. The massive brick walls and roof received spray foam insulation, and the original single-paned wood windows were replaced with double-paned windows that closely match the original, yet are vastly more energy-efficient. The original heating plant, a coal-fired boiler that fed huge arrays of steam pipes, was replaced by heat pumps which use a fraction of the energy, shrink the carbon footprint, and provide air conditioning. The building proudly received Enterprise Communities’ GREEN Communities certification.

    a large brick building with a parking lot and a smaller brick building in front

    What makes Carter School’s transformation particularly special is the love, support, and pride from the community and local, state, and federal elected officials. Carter School enjoyed a long history filled with the community’s young students, providing education to many who remember the building fondly; some of those very same students have gone on to become residents. The significant alumni turnout of both students and staff at the community meetings and groundbreaking event made it clear to see just how much of an investment they had for their alma mater’s new chapter in life.

    CONGRATULATIONS TO A WELL DESERVING PROJECT AN INCREDIBLE DEVELOPMENT TEAM!

2020

  • Francisco Ramos Receives State-wide Recognition for Community Organizing Work

    November 25
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    On November 19, 2020, NewVue Communities’ Community Organizer, Francisco Ramos, received one of the most distinguished awards at the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations’ (MACDC) Annual Meeting. Honored as the recipient of The Ricanne Hadrian Award, Francisco’s work exemplifies the dedication and commitment to building economically and racially just communities through resident engagement.

    Named after a staunch champion for community organizing and former Deputy Director of MACDC who passed away in 1996, The Ricanne Hadrian Award recipient is chosen through nominations submitted by community development organizations.

    a man in a suit outdoors holding a framed award propped up on a bench, with grass and trees in the background
    Francisco Ramos, Community Organizer, NewVue Communities

    A resident of Clinton Massachusetts, Francisco joined NewVue Communities in October 2018, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role as community organizer. His work history includes working with several Massachusetts organizations such as Health Care for All, the EDCO Collaborative, and United Interfaith Action, as well as various community-based organizations in Chicago. 

    Marc Dohan, NewVue Executive Director said, “throughout Francisco’s career, he has been building a program model to train and empower community residents by engaging them in topic-specific trainings based on interests within the community. Our Community Stewards program started with Francisco’s arrival to NewVue and since that time, the impact of the program has been meaningful and longstanding. Our art stewards created festivals, painted murals and revitalized back alleys. In response to COVID, a group of stewards helped scale up the number of meals served by the North Central Massachusetts Faith-Based Coalition to homeless families from 200 to 1,600 per month. The education stewards partnered with the school department to foster parent engagement and to empower families of children with disabilities.  And in response to George Floyd’s murder, stewards helped organize marches, Juneteenth celebrations and a National Night Out event with the Fitchburg Police Department to talk about racial justice. These examples are just a small piece of the difference made by Francisco and stewards.”

    Following the MACDC Annual Meeting, Francisco stated,  “I thank everyone at MACDC for honoring me with this award. It is received on behalf of all the stewards that have completed the NewVue Communities trainings in the first two years of the leadership development program. The success of our work in Fitchburg and the North Central region is directly related to the commitment and volunteerism that the stewards have displayed. Their countless volunteer hours completing trainings, visioning projects, implementing them and creating social change, impacts our communities now and certainly for the future. The success of my work as a community organizer would not have been possible if it were not for the stewards. Thank you to everyone who celebrates this work with me.”

  • NewVue Communities and Fitchburg State University Team Up to Celebrate Graduates

    November 10
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    On Friday, October 30, 2020 NewVue Communities and Fitchburg State University held a virtual graduation ceremony for community members who have stepped up to complete trainings to benefit their own professional development, but more importantly, to prepare them for roles of servant leadership in the community.

    CHECK OUT OUR GRADUATION VIDEO

    Alex Rodriguez, Organizer Steward and a recent graduate said, ” I have had a great experience and opportunity. It was great to be with like-minded individuals who want to make a difference. It was very refreshing especially in the world we are in now. I look forward to growing with the stewards and the community.”

    Marc Dohan, New Vue Executive Director offered words of gratitude. “Thank you for taking the time to invest in yourself. By investing in yourself, you have made it possible to create change and make the world a better place. You are positioning yourselves to be better artists who will make the world more beautiful and better organizers who will make the world more just. You are taking care of your own financial future so that you can get out of debt, buy a car or a home or realize another dream. And many of you are thinking about the next generation by becoming education stewards and stewards for children with disabilities. We are so proud to be connected to the work that each of you do. Thank you”

    VIEW THE PROGRAM AND LIST OF GRADUATES HERE

  • Fall Art Steward Program Set to Start October 20, 2020

    October 9
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    Join us online every Tuesday evening from 6pm-8pm to participate in NewVue Communities Art Stewards Training.

    October 20 through December 8, 2020

    Rendering of a large brick building with 2 large art pieces mounted on the outer wall and sculptures displayed on grass in front, with seating area next to the sidewalk

    FOCUSING ON THE BIG PICTURE

    Welcome and Introduction  October 20, 2020

    Intro to Training Series

    By: Jessie Olson

    • What is The Big Picture
    • What topics will be included?
    • Who will be the presenters?
    • Goals for the series
    • Questions & answers

    Water Street Bridge  October 27, 2020

    The Rail Trail: Leominster-Fitchburg

    By: Tom Skwierawski, City of Fitchburg

    • What are the plans?
    • What is the timeline?
    • What is the cost?
    • When will it be completed?
    • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

    The Theatre Block Project  November 3, 2020

    By: Tom Skwierawski, City of Fitchburg

    • What are the plans?
    • What is the timeline?
    • What is the cost?
    • When will it be completed?
    • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

    FAM Artist Resident Selection November 10, 2020

    By: Nick Capasso, Fitchburg Art Museum

    The Fitchburg Arts Community  November 17, 2020

    By: Marc Dohan, NewVue Communities

    • What are the plans?
    • What is the timeline?
    • What is the cost?
    • When will it be completed?
    • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

    ReImagine North of Main    November 24, 2020

    MassDevelopment TDI

    By: Joe Fergusson and Francisco Torres

    • What are their roles?
    • Are there any future projects?
    • What are their costs?
    • Is there a timeline?
    • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

    Main and Boulder Streets December 1, 2020

    Two Way Streets

    By: Tom Skwierawski, City of Fitchburg

    • What are the plans?
    • What is the timeline?
    • What is the cost?
    • When will it be completed?
    • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

    Overview and Next Steps  December 8, 2020

    By: Jessie Olson, Facilitator

    • Public art and social justice
    • What does the current moment call for?
    • How do we respond?
    • How can art impact social change?

    GRADUATION CEREMONY December 18, 2020   6pm-8pm

    NewVue Communities thanks our fellow sponsors: City of Fitchburg, Fitchburg Art Museum, Mass Development and North of Main

  • National Night Out Scheduled for Tuesday, October 6.

    September 29
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    In its fifth consecutive year, Fitchburg will celebrate National Night Out, an annual campaign sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch that brings police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Fitchburg will join over 16,500 communities from all 50 states and US territories in hosting activities aiming to develop safer, more caring neighborhoods by enhancing the relationship between community members and law enforcement.

    While the event’s original goal to build community has not changed, many elements of this year’s National Night Out will be different from previous years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event, which is typically celebrated on the first Tuesday in August, was rescheduled to Tuesday October 6, 2020. Another change is that the event will take place on a virtual platform and be broadcasted through Facebook Live instead of being held at Lowe Park.

    Fitchburg National Night Out 2020. Panel Discussions. 4:30: 6 Pillars of 21st Century Policing. 5:30: Communication Between Police and Community. 6:30: Diversity and Inclusion in City Government and Services. Art, Performances, Storytelling, Resource Fair. Building police, community relations through open and honest conversation. Streaming Live! Tuesday, October 6, 4 to 8 PM.

    Coming on the heels of peaceful demonstrations denouncing police brutality in Leominster and Fitchburg, and a virtual celebration of Juneteenth, this year’s National Night Out will help to continue a community conversation emerging in the region right now related to contemporary issues of racial injustice.

    Organizers of Fitchburg’s National Night Out include representatives from NewVue Communities, the Fitchburg Police Department, ReImagine North of Main, the Yo Daddy Doe Sho, and the ARTivism Initiative. The planning team, in a collaborative effort, has developed a full itinerary including the following discussion panels:

    • The 6 Pillars for XXI Century Community Policing;
    • Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation in City Government and Services; 
    • and Strategies to Improve Communication Between the Police Department and the Community.

    The panels will be interspersed with art-sharing, storytelling, and performances touching on themes of human experiences and healing during this unprecedented year. The event will also include a virtual resource fair.

    Ernest Martineau, Chief of Police for the Fitchburg Police Department and planning committee member said National Night out 2020 will look drastically different from previous years, however the message of police community relations will be loud and clear.  Established in 1984 as a bridge between law enforcement and the communities we serve, now more than ever we see the importance in this relationship.” 

    Event organizer, Meredith Geraghty from NewVue Communities said “My favorite part of National Night Out has always been the resource fair. Our community’s health and safety depend on the quality of our law enforcement as well as access to housing, healthcare, education, healthy food, and art. This event highlights many of the great organizations and services that exist in the region. This year we are seeing new, young community leaders who are participating in NewVue’s Community Stewards program and are stepping up and taking the lead on this event. “

    Derek Craig aka Yo Daddy Doe said “I want to focus this year on broadening the conversation with first responders and the communities they serve as well as provide a platform for those who are participating in this event to speak, listen, and observe.  This will be as interactive as possible; from questions for the panelists to information and contacts to our resources here in North Central MA.  As an artist and activist, I feel personally responsible for providing this platform to people who look like me and to make this as constructive and relatable as it has been in previous years.” 

    NationAll residents of Fitchburg and the surrounding communities are invited register to attend the event at https://tinyurl.com/FitchburgNationalNightOut . Any organization or individual who wants to highlight a resource or service within the community during the event should email Francisco Ramos at Framos@nvcomm.org. Deadline for art submissions and resource fair materials is September 30th, 2020 at 11:59pm

  • STEWARDS DE EDUCACION PUBLICA

    July 22
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    Stewards de Educación Publica Para Niños(as) con Necesidades Especiales. Julio 30 - Septiembre 17, 2020. Jueves, 6 PM - 8 PM. Acompañenos online. Introducción al Entreniamiento. Julio 30, 2020. Lourdes Ramirez, Fitchburg State University. Introducción a Necesidades Especiales. Dr. William Cortezia, Fitchburg State University. Definiendo y entendiendo “necesidades especiales.” El rostro de alguien con necesidades especiales. Entendiendo intervención temprana. Necesidades especiales físicas. Necesidades psicológicas v cognitivas. Necesidades especiales en poblaciones de diferentes edades. Como Abogar Por Su Niño(a). Agosto 6, 2020. Leslie Leslie, Federation for Children with Special Needs. Entendiendo abogacía y sistemas. Conozca a su niño(a)/conozca sus derechos. Comunicación efectiva, negociación, y manejo de conflicto. Consejos y recursos. Ajustándonos a la pandemia. Niños(as) con Necesidades Especiales Parte 1. Agosto 13, 2020. Alicia Berrospe, Fitchburg Public Schools, Andi McMillan, Making Opportunity Count. ¿Cree que su hijo(a) tiene una necesidad especial? Los pasos siguientes. Disabilidades: los mitos y los hechos. Entendiendo un IEP en lugar de un plan 504. Acomodaciones razonables para estudiantes con necesidades especiales. Niñas(os) con Necesidades Especiales Parte 2. Agosto 20, 2020. Alicia Berrospe, Fitchburg Public Schools. Padres, distritos escolares, y el IEP. Involucrando a un estudiante con disabilidades en su educación. Derechos y responsabilidades de los padres.
    Recursos comunitarios. Agosto 27, 2020. Luisa Fernandes, Caroline Collins, y Evelina Paulino, Inform Fitchburg. Transición de la niñez temprana a la escuela. Andi McMillan, Making Opportunity Count. Transición de la High School a servicios para adultos. Septiembre 3, 2020. Paula Collins, Work Inc. Transicionando de la escuela al trabajo: entiendo sus opciones. Enfoque basado en fortalezas para ayudar a su hijo adulto. Nuestra sistema de servicios para adultos: DDS, MRC, y DMH. El valor de una fuerza de trabajo diverso. Adultos con Necesidades Especiales. Septiembre 10, 2020. Susanne Whitney, Community Forces for Justice. Diagnosis Dual de salud mental y retardos cognitivos. Reglamentos de DDS. Inclusión Comunitaria. Discriminación, Prevención, y Resolución. Más Profundidad en Asuntos de SPED: Equidad y Acceso. Lourdes Ramirez, Fitchburg State University. Inglés parlantes con necesidades especiales. Entendiendo y manejando comportamientos. Financiamiento en distritos urbanos y en distritos suburbanos. Evaluación y Próximos Pasos. Septiembre 17, 2020. Panel: Graduados de High School Graduates & otros participantes con necesidades especiales. Luisa Fernandez, Inform Fitchburg. Alicia Berrospe, Fitchburg Public Schools. Paula Collins, Work, Inc. Francisco Ramos, NewVue Communities. Ceremonia de Graduación, Octubre 1, 2020, 6 PM - 8 PM.
  • Organizer Steward Training

    July 22
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    July 29 to September 16, 2020. Wednesdays, 6 PM to 8 PM. Join us online. Welcome and Introductions, Intro to Community Organizing. By: Francisco Ramos, NewVue Communities. What is community organizing? Community organizing basic principles. The community organizing cycle. What is a listening campaign? What is credentialing? How to use it? Documenting findings. Identifying the Issues & Key Stakeholders. August 5, 2020. By: David Thibault-Munoz, Organizer. Identifying and prioritizing problems. Doing root cause analysis. Developing possible solutions. Conducting power analysis: identifying base, opposition, allies, and targets. Understanding and Managing Power 1. August 12, 2020. By: Danny Leblanc, Somerville Community Corporation. What is power? Individual power versus collective power. Power in the relationships. Private and public relationships. Power respects power. Power defines the rules. Jesus and Alinsky – analysis of power. Understanding and Managing Power 2. August 19, 2020. By: Danny Leblanc, Somerville Community Corporation. The world as it is versus the world as it should be. How do you move it? Exercising our constitutional right to organize. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass. Don’t wait for, or concede to, others to create change. Change may be, or may not be, confrontational, but it must always be smart.
    Campaign Organizing & Strategy. August 26, 2020. By: Francisco Ramos, NewVue Communities. What is a campaign? Elements of organizing a campaign. Problems versus issues. 5 Phases of a campaign. Campaign strategies and tactics. Power analysis in practice. The Art of Direct Action. September 2, 2020. By: Francisco Ramos, NewVue Communities. What is direct action? 2 main ways direct action works. The direct-action event planning template. Micro direct actions: changing culture. Electoral participation: very meaningful direct action. Self-Determination & Self-Reliance. September 9, 2020. By: Francisco Ramos, NewVue Communities. What is self-determination? What is self-reliance? Ultimate goals of community organizing. The myth of American exceptionalism. Organizing Brainstorming. September 16, 2020. By: Francisco Ramos, David Thibault and Danny Leblanc. What issues are important to you? What organizing campaign would you organize? Regional isolation – breaking through. Organizers’ Collaborative? Graduation Ceremony October 1, 2020. 6 PM to 8 PM.
  • ART STEWARDS TRAINING

    July 22
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    Art Stewards Training. July 28 to September 15, 2020. Tuesdays, 6 PM to 8 PM, join us online. Welcome and Introduction Intro to Training Series. July 28, 2020. By: Jessie Olson, Fitchburg Art Museum. Focus: artist empowerment, What skills will be included? Who will be the presenters? Goals for the series, questions and answers. Grants: Finding and Securing Funding. August 4, 2020. TBD. Grant research, proposal writing, resources available, crowdsourcing, fundraising events. Displaying Your Art for Profit. August 11, 2020. By: Eugene Finney, Local artist and curator. Where could I do it? How does it work? How much does it cost? How do I benefit as a local artist? How do I enroll? Navigating City Requirements. August 18, 2020. By: Tom Tskwierawski, City of Fitchburg. Permits necessary for public events, Are there fees involved? What about selling food? Mural painting on a public space, What’s involved in organizing a concert? What about using a park? What are the timelines?
    Income Taxes 101. August 25, 2020. By: Mass MoCA. A4A Program. Preparing Your Public Art Proposal. September 1, 2020. By: Eugene Finney, Local artist and curator. Arts and Cultural Initiatives. September 8. By: North Central Mass Community Foundation. Community enrichment funding programs, strengthening art and cultural assets area, grant proposal application processes, application requirements. Fitchburg Arts Collective. September 15, 2020. By: Fitchburg Arts Collective Members. Update presentation, possibilities for participation. Fitchburg Overview. Jessie Olson, Fitchburg Art Museum. Public art and social justice, What does the current moment call for? How do we respond? How can art impact social change? Graduation Ceremony October 1, 2020, 6 PM to 8 PM.
  • Public Education Stewards Training

    July 21
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    Public Education Stewards for Children with Special Needs. July 30 to September 17, 2020. Thursdays, 6 PM to 8 PM. Join us online. Introduction to Training. July 30, 2020. Lourdes Ramirez, Fitchburg State University. Introduction to Special Needs. Dr. William Cortezia, Fitchburg State University. Defining and understanding “special needs.” The face of someone with special needs. Understanding early intervention. Physical special needs. Psychological and cognitive special needs. Special needs in different age populations. How to Advocate for Your Child. August 6, 2020. Leslie Leslie, Federation for Children with Special Needs. Understanding advocacy and systems. Know your child/know your rights. Effective communication, negotiating, and handling conflict. Tips and resources. Adjusting to the pandemic. Children with Special Needs Part 1. August 13, 2020. Alicia Berrospe, Fitchburg Public Schools, Andi McMillan, Making Opportunity Count. Do you think your child has a special need? Next Steps. Disabilities: the myths and facts. Understanding an IEP versus a 504 Plan. Reasonable accommodations for students with special needs. Children with Special Needs Part 2. August 20, 2020. Alicia Berrospe, Fitchburg Public Schools. Parents, school districts, and the IEP. Involving a student with disabilities in their education. Parents’ rights and responsibilities.
    Community Resources. August 27, 2020. Luisa Fernandes, Caroline Collins, and Evelina Paulino, Inform Fitchburg. Transition from Early Childhood to School. Andi McMillan, Making Opportunity Count. Transitioning from High School to Adult Services. September 3, 2020. Paula Collins, Work, Inc. Transitioning from school to work, understanding your options. Strengths-based approach in helping your adult child. Our adult services system: DDS, MRC, and DMH. The value of a diverse workforce. Adults with Special Needs. September 10, 2020. Suzanne Whitney, Community Resources for Justice. Dual Diagnosis of Mental Health and Cognitive Delays. DDS Regulations. Community Inclusion. Discrimination, Prevention, and Resolution. Deeper Dive on SPED Issues: Equity and Access. Lourdes Ramirez, Fitchburg State University. English learners with special needs. Understanding and managing behaviors. Funding allocations in urban districts and suburban districts. Evaluation and Next Steps. September 17, 2020. Panel: High school graduates and other participants with special needs. Luisa Fernandez, Inform Fitchburg. Alicia Berrospe, Fitchburg Public Schools. Paula Collins, Work, Inc. Francisco Ramos, NewVue Communities. Graduation Ceremony October 1, 2020, 6 to 8 PM.
  • Congressman McGovern and State Representative Higgins Tour Completed Carter School Apartments

    July 21
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    2 men and 1 woman stand indoors in an apartment with a dark wood floor and light walls, with a gray couch and photos displayed on the wall
    Tenant, Carol Bergeron, welcomes Congressman McGovern and Marc Dohan to tour her apartment.

    Congressman James McGovern and State Representative Natalie Higgins joined members of the NewVue Communities leadership team for a tour of the Carter School Apartments on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.  The newly completed renovation of the Carter Junior High School on West Street provided a beautiful back drop for Marc Dohan, Executive Director to brief Congressman McGovern and Representative Higgins on both the challenges of a project like the Carter building and the positive impact of completing such an important affordable housing opportunity for the community. “We are very pleased to have this building completed and the apartments at full capacity. The condition of the building certainly provided some unique challenges given its earlier condition,” said Dohan.

    a man with glasses, a blue cloth face mask, a blue shirt, and black pants and shoes stands outdoors holding a paper file folder
    Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue Communities

    A tour of the building included meeting Carol Bergeron, a tenant who moved into her unit the beginning of March. Ms. Bergeron spoke with Congressman McGovern about how pleased she was to have secured an apartment, describing it as spacious and beautifully designed. Ms. Bergeron who was born and raised in Leominster was most happy about the opportunity that her new housing provided – an opportunity to move back home to Leominster. “There is a great deal to like about this place and my apartment, but probably the best thing is that the people who manage the building are so nice, responsive, and helpful,” said Bergeron.

    a woman in a blue dress and a white cloth face mask stands outdoors holding a piece of paper
    State Representative Natalie Higgins

    Congressman McGovern, who supported the Carter School project throughout its development, spoke about the critical need for affordable housing and encouraged NewVue to continue identifying projects that have the impact of the Carter School Apartments. “The opportunity to tour the Carter School Apartments as a finished project was wonderful, and I’m glad my office was able to help support this important project,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “While affordable housing continues to remain unreachable for far too many families, I was so glad to see that these welcoming and affordable units will serve as homes that families can be proud of. I commend NewVue for taking this project on and seeing it through to completion. It’s impressive.”

    State Representative Natalie Higgins offered her thoughts on the project and said “I’m so thrilled to see the Carter School Apartments filled with new and old neighbors. NewVue Communities worked relentlessly to ensure this project was successful, even helping residents move in throughout the start of the COVID-19 state of emergency and continues to bring so many opportunities to the residents of Leominster through its work.”

  • 2020 Annual Meeting a Success

    June 29
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    Thursday, June 25, brought 65 guests to the NewVue Communities virtual 2020 Annual Meeting. Leominster Mayor, Dean Mozzarella,  guest speaker for the evening, offered a very positive overview of NewVue’s purchase and rehabilitation of the former Carter Jr. High into what is now 39 affordable housing units in the Carter School Apartments. “NewVue has an amazing team. I have 27 years of being involved in these projects and the work on this building was remarkable. We have a historic building that now offers sorely-needed housing in a nice area of Leominster. It really shows that if you have the right team you can accomplish anything,” said Mayor Mazzarella.

    A short business meeting included the renewing of the following board members to a three-year term: Jay Bry, Christina DiRusso, Thomas Gray, Erin Nano. Laura O’Kane, the newest board member voted on Thursday, has served on NewVue’s real estate committee for three years and works at Geronimo Properties in Leominster.  Laura is a resident of Fitchburg.

    Portrait photos of 14 people arranged around a banner, Wingate: The Right People. The Right Real Estate. The Right Results
    Wingate’s Leominster and Fitchburg Housing Management team.

    Three awards recipients were recognized at the meeting. Wingate Companies, NewVue’s housing management company for the past 8 years, received the Community Partnership Award.

    Commenting on the award, Michael Martin, President of Wingate Companies stated,  “we are truly honored to receive NewVue’s generous recognition of our dedicated Wingate staff.  We are so proud of their commitment and compassion especially when recent circumstances have been so uniquely challenging.  Such dedication is only possible because Wingate and NewVue share a true partnership and we look forward to an even stronger alliance over many more years to come.”

    a portrait photo of a woman with curly gray hair and brown eyes, wearing a white collared shirt, green necklace, and silver earrings
    Stacey Fenton, former Fitchburg resident and Public Education Steward passed away last April

    Stacey Fenton, a former Fitchburg resident and NewVue Public Education Steward,  was recognized posthumously with the Luz Sanchez Resident Leadership Award. Close friend and fellow Steward, Luisa Fernandez, said “Stacey actively participated in the fight for education in Fitchburg. She had a great vision of what she wanted and an enormous strength to achieve it. Thank you, Stacey, for this huge life lesson that you gave us,” said Luisa.

    Jackie Mastrangelo, Small Business Developer at  NewVue had the pleasure of presenting a new award, Small Business of the Year, to Stacey Sparrow Murphy, owner of Art on the Rocks. “ NewVue selected Art on the Rocks not only for their impressive small business growth but also for the ability of Stacey and her husband to stay current, accessible and operating full time during COVID-19 and surpassing her business goals during the most recent six months.  Stacey strengthened her business through offering social media video classes,” said Jackie. Art on the Rocks is in their tenth year of operation.

    Marc Dohan, Executive Director, reported into the Zoom meeting from Carter School and assured guests an appropriate ribbon cutting ceremony would take place when guidelines allowed.

    a combination of 2 photos with a smiling woman on the left and a partial screenshot of a Zoom meeting on the right
    Madeline Mendoza, Housing Services Manager, with some of the May 2020 Homebuyers Class graduates.

    Marc provided an overview of the Agency’s work during the past year with a focus on the impact of COVID-19 and the staff’s timely response in shifting NewVue services to meet the ever-changing needs of clients  Face-to-face homeownership and financial classes and coaching went virtual as well as the technical assistance offered by the small business team. Community organizing continued to be strong, just different, also counting on virtual meetings.

    Acknowledging the incredible work of the Carter Apartments development team, Marc was able to walk guests through the condition of the building prior to construction and the character and beauty of the current building with before and after construction photos. “Thank you to our terrific contractor, Hutter Construction and our design team led by Davis Square Architects for making this all happen,” said Marc. The New Liabilities to Assets project was also highlight.

    a black and white photo of a man speaking into a handheld microphone
    Derek Craig, Art Steward and organizer of the June 5, Fitchburg march

    Marc included in his comments his reaction to the recent events in our country leading to marches in some of the cities and towns across our service footprint – offering his steadfast commitment to ensure NewVue is an active participant in the solutions to end social injustice.   He spoke specifically about how structural racism in housing has made it harder for Black Americans to purchase a home.

    In closing, Marc stated, “none of what we do at NewVue can be accomplished without partners, funders, and donors. You energize us with ideas, inspire us with your action and fund the work that we do every day.  Our board guides us through these turbulent times, and both encourages us and holds us accountable.  We couldn’t do what we do without our great staff. Thank you all for taking the time to come out tonight and thank you all for providing me with hope.”

  • NewVue Celebrates NeighborWorks America

    June 9
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    If you are connected in any way to the work of NewVue Communities, then you have been impacted by the great work of Neighborworks America. This week, the 240 plus community development organizations in our nation, like NewVue Communities, are celebrating all that we can accomplish as a result of the supportive structure Neighborworks America provides its members. June 6 – 13, is Neighborworks Week and NewVue is proud to be a member.

    Neighborworks America offers quality resources, demonstrating their commitment to affordable housing and safe neighborhoods. Their technical assistance, including peer exchange opportunities, as well as training and leadership development, position community development centers to be current in best practices and promising strategies as they plan work related to affordable housing, economic development, and community leadership. “We make regular use of the learning resources made available to employees,” said Marc Dohan, NewVue’s Executive Director. “The conferences, webinars, and various peer learning groups are excellent. They are designed specifically for our work and that makes for strong and worthwhile training opportunities.”

    Financial support through grants is an important way that Neighborworks America demonstrates an interest in the progress and success of each member. Their funding helps NewVue leverage additional funding so we can achieve our mission.  Learn More about NeighborWorks support of our Liabilities to Assets program.

    Self evaluation is key to any successful nonprofit and Neighborworks makes available applicable tools to measure progress and evaluate data that makes for better informed planning and decision making.

    Bottom line – we value NeighborWorks America and the impressive, supportive and professional relationships we have established as a result of our membership. THANK YOU Neighborworks America!

    Building Strong Communities Together Every Day. NeighborWorks Week June 6 - 13, 2020. NeighborWorks America. 2 photos of a little girl painting on asphalt and a young woman gathering leaves in a paper bag

  • First Liabilities to Assets Home Made New

    June 9
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    Our newest program, Liabilities to Assets has completed the first home, rehabbed and made beautiful for an income eligible family. The house is located on Lorchris Street in Leominster. Liabilities to Assets is a pilot project and partnership between NewVue, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the five municipalities of Athol, Gardner, Leominster, Fitchburg and Clinton.

    a small pale yellow house with a white door and gray roof surrounded by an overgrown lawn and large trees
    Before

    This program was made possible, in part, through the support of Neighborworks America. A grant from Neighborworks provided the much-needed initial funding for this project that identifies abandoned houses causing blight and rehabilitates those houses.   The program provides families with incomes between 60% and up to 110% of the area medium income an opportunity to purchase an affordable home.

    Neighborworks’ grant, in support of NewVue’s expansion and growth, funded the legal, financial and feasibility studies, housing assessments to start the 121A Plan (cataloguing potential homes) as well as staff and administrative startup costs.  That initial investment has resulted in the recent completion of the first home on Lorchris Street and positioned NewVue to move forward with other houses in the region.

    a pale yellow house with a white door, a gray roof, and a red brick path in front, shaded by surrounding trees
    Ready for Sale

    Hired in March of 2019  as the Director of the Liabilities to Assets program, Anne Reitmayer oversees the transformation of each home beginning with identifying qualifying houses through to the sale of the rehabbed home. Anne, who has spent most of her career in real estate stated, “this  program is making a difference, it’s important work that benefits neighborhoods, the new homeowner and our economy. The value of this program can be measured well beyond the joy it will bring to the new homeowners, although that is my favorite part.”

    NewVue has additional homes under development in Fitchburg, Leominster and Athol.

    a kitchen with brown cabinets, gray marble patterned countertops, a steel double sink, steel refrigerator, gas oven, microwave oven, and open shelves
    an empty room with wood flooring, beige walls, and mirrored closet doors
  • NewVue Small Business Client Earns Big Recognition

    April 29
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    Being recognized as a Small Business of the Year by the Small Business Administration is a big accomplishment. NewVue Communities’ Small Business client and Cleartech Group President, Tony Fields, has much to celebrate as the recipient of the 2020 Minority Owned Small Business of the Year for Massachusetts Award.

    “The SBA was great, but it was NewVue Communities that helped me with financial projections. What it would take to make it. Goals to hit, services to focus on and revenue generating activities,” stated Fields in the Sentinel and Enterprise April 29, 2020 article.

    Ray Belanger, Director of Small Business at NewVue described Tony as one who epitomizes the entrepreneurial spirit by being true to his mission, clients, and employees. “We are certainly excited for Tony and Cleartech Group, but not at all surprised by this deserving award.”

    Read more about Cleartech Group and Tony’s personal and professional journey that led him to this impressive achievement. Sentinel Article

    a man in a black suit and a woman in a green blazer smile at the camera
    NewVue Communities Director of Small Businesses, Ray Belanger
    and Small Business Developer, Jacqueline Mastrangelo

  • Thanks To Our 2019 CITC Donors

    February 21
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    We thank those businesses, foundations and individuals who supported NewVue Communities in 2019 through the Community Investment Tax Incentive Program

    Anonymous
    Athol Savings Bank
    Berkshire Bank
    Blue Hub Capital
    William Brassard
    Kate Casa
    Crocker Foundation
    Davis Square Architects, Inc.
    DeVellis Zrein, Inc.
    Robert Dorfman
    Enterprise Bank
    Fidelity Bank
    Matthew and Kellie Fournier
    Samuel Godin
    Greater Worcester Community Foundation
    Hackett Feinburg, P.C.
    Mathew Hutt
    Hutter Construction
    ICON Architecture, Inc
    Klein Hornig, LLP
    Leominster Credit Union
    Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
    Erin and Heidi Nano
    Michael R. Martin
    Quality Contracting Inc.
    Resolution Architects LLC
    Rollstone Charitable Foundation
    Resource Management Inc.
    Rocheford Family Trust
    Robert Ruxin and Peggy Shukur
    Santander Bank Foundation
    Ann Silverman
    United Way of Mass Bay
    Andrew and Elizabeth Van Hazinga
    WaypointKLA
    Wingate Management Company, LLC

    If you would like to support NewVue Communities or learn more about
    the benefits of the Community Investment Tax Credit program and join
    our CITC Team, learn more. Or, contact Kerry Flathers, Director of
    Development and Communications at kflathers@nvcomm.org.

  • NewVue Art Stewards Selected for Arts-Focused National Fellowship

    February 11
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    In November 2019, NewVue Communities submitted a 2020 Community Revitalization Fellowship application offered through the Center for Community Progress in Washington, DC. NewVue’s Program Officer Meredith Geraghty, and Community Organizer, Francisco Ramos prepared the application with full confidence that the Fitchburg Community Art Stewards can make a national difference using the arts to transform abandoned and distressed properties.

    Today, February 11, 2020, NewVue Communities proudly shares the Center for Community Progress press release announcing that six Fitchburg Art Stewards have been selected to participate in the national training program. Congratulations to our Art Stewards.

    Center for Community Progress Press Release

  • Dreaming of Owning Your Own Home?

    January 22
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    people seated indoors at multiple tables while a woman stands and speaks

    Are You Dreaming of Owning Your Own Home? That’s the big question asked in the promotional material for NewVue Communities’ Homebuyer Education class. Madeline Mendoza, Housing Services Manager and the instructor for the classes convinced participants on Wednesday, January 21, that big dreams need planning and it is never too early to start.

    Seventeen individuals representing 13 families jump started their new year with a commitment to learn more about buying a home. Attendees traveled from Athol, Fitchburg, Gardner, Littleton, Westminster and Worcester to participate in the first of three evening classes. Madeline engaged the group in a variety of discussions including one’s readiness to buy a home, budget and savings plans, credit and debt management, and the application and approval process for a home purchase loan.

    a woman and a man look to the left of the photo at something out of frame

    Let’s face it, sometimes, it’s all about the snacks, and in this class the snacks are plentiful. Madeline understands that most participants who arrive for the three-hour class have likely already put in a full day. “In addition to making sure participants benefit from a carefully designed workshop, I want them to be comfortable. I want them to look forward to the next session. We hear a lot of laughter during the class and that makes everyone’s time enjoyable,” said Madeline.

    “It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey to purchase a home. The Homeowner Education classes will help you build buyer confidence, develop a workable plan, and hear about the experience of others in the group,” stated Madeline.

    a close-up view of a table with a notebook, folder, and printed paper materials

    This class is being held in the community room of the Watermill Apartments on Water Street in Leominster. Classes are often held at the NewVue training room at 470 Main St. in Fitchburg.

    Dreaming of owning your own home? Check out Future Homebuyer Classes at newvuecommunities.org or call 888-978-6261.

  • Bay Colony supports NewVue Communities Small Business Technical Assistance Program

    January 9
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    FITCHBURG—The ideaLab in the Fitchburg State University Theater Block continues to partner with local and regional agencies in support of small business development in the city.

    Bay Colony Development Corp. President and CEO Mary Mansfield recently presented a check for $10,000 to NewVue Communities Executive Director Marc Dohan to support NewVue’s Small Business Technical Assistance Program. 

    Fitchburg State is redeveloping the Theater Block at 717 Main St., with the ideaLab on the second floor hosting a variety of business development initiatives in partnership with NewVue Communities. Small businesses interested in securing financing and technical assistance are encouraged to contact NewVue at 978-342-9561 or to visit their website at nvcomm.org.

    The program focuses mainly on micro-enterprises (businesses with 5 or fewer employees) and very small businesses (businesses with 20 and fewer employees) and in addition to Bay Colony Development Corp. is supported by the City of Fitchburg CDBG Program, Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, United States Department of Agriculture, City of Gardner CDBG Program, corporate grants and private donations.                           

    Bay Colony Development Corp. is a Certified Development Company designated by the U.S. Small Business Administration to market, process, and close SBA 504 loans in the states of Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and certain counties in Connecticut.  The SBA 504 program provides up to 90 percent financing for commercial and mixed-use real estate purchases, new construction, equipment acquisitions, debt refinance and leasehold improvements. 

2019

  • Stewards Celebrated at Awards Dinner

    December 19
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    FITCHBURG:  On Wednesday, December 18, 2019, staff from NewVue Communities along with city officials celebrated the accomplishments of 11 Art Stewards and 10 Public Education Stewards. Stewards in both programs are selected for their interest in serving their community in leadership roles.  The award ceremony and dinner took place in the Hammond Hall at Fitchburg State University.

    The Community Organizing department of NewVue Communities, under the direction of Francisco Ramos, trains residents to be leaders and changemakers in their communities.

    Both the Art Steward Training and the Public Education Training series are designed to drive social action in the community.  The focus of the training is helping individuals to increase their awareness of, and to build their skills in, civic engagement.

    Event speakers included: Mayor Stephen DiNatale; Marc Dohan, Executive Director, and Meredith Geraghty, Program Officer, both from NewVue Communities; Joseph Ferguson, Director for ReImagine North of Main Initiative,and, Joseph Bowen, Community Steward and Fitchburg Cultural Council Chair.  NewVue Communities Board Members and Stewards Quenton Chestang-Pittman and Evelina Paulino spoke about their experience as stewards and encouraged others to move the community forward with their creativity, energy and commitment to making a difference.

    “Not only wast he Art Steward Program an opportunity to learn about what other creative people were doing in this area, what they had done successfully, or what they were hoping to do in the future, it was also a chance to connect with kindred spirits.  It was an opportunity to connect with fellow community members who had a common ambition to make Fitchburg a city that not only celebrates the arts but thrives on it,”stated Jessie Olson, Membership and Events Manager at the Fitchburg Art Museum.

    Mayor Stephen DiNatale addressed the audience and spoke of the importance of partnerships in the City of Fitchburg, offering examples of past and current projects that have a positive impact on the city.  Mayor DiNatale called on a few members of the audience to speak about what they had learned through the Steward leadership program. Monica McNamara, Fitchburg resident and Art Steward said, “I learned a lot. I’m anxious to make things happen and to have a strong and talented team to join me. I’m excited to make things happen.”

    Some Stewards have already moved forward with some concrete projects to impact the local community. Emmanuella Demosthenes, a Health Steward participating in the event, organized an event called Salsa On The Riverfront, which taught salsa classes at the Riverfront Park last summer free-of-charge to promote active living and usage of our parks. With the winter upon us, she will be holding salsa classes at the Fitchburg Art Museum during the month of January 2020, and is planning to go back to the Riverfront Park during the summer of 2020.

    Several Public Education Stewards graduating last night have also taken their first steps in impacting the community by organizing a project called Inform Fitchburg, an organization of Fitchburg parents educating parents, and by joining the Parent Advisory Council within the English Acquisition Department within the Fitchburg Public School. A group of Art Stewards also graduating last night wrote and submitted a grant proposal to Mass Development trying to secure funding to open Affordable Art Studios for local artists in the downtown area of Fitchburg. Finally, a group of Stewards have also began a Voter Registration Campaign to promote electoral participation in the city.

    Those who are interested in learning more about participating in the Steward Leadership Program at NewVue Communities can contact Francisco Ramos at framos@nvcomm.org.

2018

2017

  • First-time Homebuyer Class is Slated for Nov. 14-16

    October 23
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    If you are planning on purchasing a home in the next year, here is a great opportunity to learn all about the home buying process.

    NewVue Communities is hosting a first-time homebuyer class in Gardner, Mass.

    When: Nov. 14, 15 and 16, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Where: Gardner Chamber of Commerce, 29 Parker St., Gardner, Mass.

    Pre-registration and payment is required.

    To learn more:  click here.

  • First-time Homebuyer Class is Slated for Oct. 17-19

    September 27
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    If you are planning on purchasing a home in the next year, here is a great opportunity to learn about the home buying process.

    NewVue Communities is hosting a first-time homebuyer class in Fitchburg, Mass.

    When: Oct. 17, 18 and 19, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Where: NewVue Communities, 470 Main St., Fitchburg, Mass.

    Pre-registration and payment is required.

    To learn more:  click here.

  • Grant gives NewVue new life for turning former Leominster school into housing

    August 22
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    Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

    By Peter Jasinski

    pjasinski@sentinelandenterprise.com

    LEOMINSTER — With a new state grant promised, NewVue Communities hopes to be able to move forward soon with its long-planned conversion of the former Carter Junior High School on West Street into affordable-housing units.

    “It’s very exciting and we’re very fortunate to get this,” NewVue Executive Director Marc Dohan said. “We’ll be taking a school that’s no longer in use, that a lot of people have memories tied to, and putting it back into use. This is a critical day for us to get this funding.”

    Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced Tuesday that $72 million in grants had been awarded to projects throughout the state to rehabilitate and preserve nearly 2,000 housing units. The plan to create 39 units of housing in Leominster is among those listed, though no mention was made of how much money NewVue communities was awarded.

    Dohan said Wednesday that he hasn’t yet been told the exact amount of money, but he’s confident it’s enough to cover the rest of the costs for the project.

    He estimated that between $10 million and $11 million will come from the state.

    He said the total cost of the project is about $16 million, and that NewVue has already raised between $5 million and $6 million already.

    “We have some that we’re borrowing and some from other grants as well,” Dohan said.

    The project has been in development for about five years, and NewVue communities has been waiting more than a year to have enough funding before being able to begin construction.

    Plans for the renovation have already been completed and approved by all pertinent city departments.Once completed, the former Carter School will feature 39 affordable family housing units, 16 of which will be designated for households earning less than 30 percent the area median income. The building’s remaining units are expected to house only tenants with annual incomes between $25,000 and $50,000.

    Empty since the mid-1990s, the school has experienced significant deterioration of its interior, including fire damage, a breached roof and a collapsed stairwell.

    The renovation is expected to take about a year, but Dohan was unable to say when a start date might be scheduled.

    “We’re trying to go over everything as quickly as we can, but we don’t have a date at this time,” he said.

    Dohan said NewVue will continue to seek additional money as it considers possible upgrades to the current plan.

    When reached for comment Wednesday, Ward 5 City Councilor Richard Marchand, who represents the neighborhood in which the housing units are being built, said he’s happy to hear the project is moving forward.

    “The Carter building has been a contentious item in this city for decades, and I’m glad to see this proposal come to fruition,” Marchand said. “The concerns of the neighborhood have always been on the table, and I think we’re all pleased with this.”

    Marchand added that he hopes rehabilitation of the property will also help alleviate current traffic problems at Hall and West streets, located at the corner of the Carter School property.

  • First-time Homebuyer Class is Slated for Sept. 19-21

    August 21
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    If you are planning on purchasing a home in the next year, here is a great opportunity to learn about the home buying process.

    NewVue Communities is hosting a first-time homebuyer class in Fitchburg, Mass.

    When: Sept. 19, 20 and 21, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Where: NewVue Communities, 470 Main St., Fitchburg, Mass.

    Pre-registration and payment is required.

    To learn more:  click here.

  • First-time homebuyer classes August 22-24 in Leominster

    July 19
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    If you are planning on purchasing a home in the next year, here is a great opportunity to learn about the home buying process.

    NewVue Communities is hosting a first-time homebuyer class in Leominster, Mass.

    When: August 22, 23 and 24, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Where: Watermill Apartments, 142 Water St, Leominster, Mass.
    Pre-registration and payment is required.
     To learn more, click here. 
  • Join Us for National Night Out Aug. 1

    June 26
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    Join us for National Night Out – August 1, 2017, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    What: National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.

    When: August 1, 2017, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

    Where: Lowe Park, on Elm Street in Fitchburg

    What:

    • Music
    • Food
    • Fun
    • Prizes
    • Face Painting
    • Games
    • Meet Your Neighbors
    • Resources

    If you have questions,

    Meredith Geraghty

    Director of Community Organizing

    978-342-9561 Ext. 120
    978-400-0162
    mgeraghty@nvcomm.org

  • First-time homebuyer classes July 18-20 in Gardner

    June 19
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    If you are planning on purchasing a home in the next year, here is a great opportunity to learn about the home buying process.

    NewVue Communities is hosting first-time homebuyer classes in Gardner, Mass.

    When: July 18, 19 and 20, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

    Where: Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, 29 Parker St, Gardner, Mass.
     To learn more, click here. 
  • Homebuyer classes June 20-22 in Fitchburg

    May 23
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    NewVue Communities is hosting first-time homebuyer classes June 20-22 in Fitchburg, Mass.

    If you are interested in buying a home, learn more through one of our first-time homebuyer classes. 

    When: June 20-22, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Where: NewVue Communities, 470 Main St., Fitchburg, Mass. 
     To learn more, click here. 
  • Fitchburg given a facelift

    May 15
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    Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

    By Elizabeth Dobbins

    edobbins@sentinelandenterprise.com

    FITCHBURG — Buildings were painted, facades were replaced and gardens were prepped during the community clean-up led by Crossroads Church, NewVue Communities, ReImagine North of Main and the city Saturday.

    “We want to be a force in the community for good,” said Adrian Gates, media director for Crossroads Church on 839 Ashby State Road.

    Gates said the outreach event has been put on annually since 2011 and drew about 300 volunteers to 25 projects around the city.

    Among them was the replacement the decaying wood on the outside of the empty building on the corner of Main and Oliver Street.

    “It was just all nasty looking,” volunteer and Gardner resident Glenn Wallace said. “Rotten,” Westminster resident Kevin Fuller said, pointing to a pile of wood that they had pulled off the building.

    By early afternoon, the new siding was almost completely replaced.

    Across the street, several volunteers were painting the formerly beige outside of Gallery Sitka (West) red and blue.

    “Artists don’t typically like the color beige,” Tricia Pistone said, laughing.

    Pistone, project director for ReImagine North of Main, said the organizations involved in the clean-up and residents collaborated to come up with project ideas such as clearing the brush in Lowe Park, painting the gazebo in the Upper Common and planting flowers around the police station.

    Gates said the renovation of the library at Reingold Elementary School is the largest of the many projects that were in progress Saturday.

    “It’s something special when you get to do it for the kids,” he said.

    Pistone said this is not the first time the church has lent a hand to give downtown a facelift. In 2015, among other projects, Crossroads Community Church and partners removed the rust stains from the building where The Local Spot is currently located.

    “We really want to do things that can transform an area,” Gates said.

  • May 16-18, first-time homebuyer classes in Gardner

    May 8
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    NewVue Communities is hosting first-time homebuyer classes May 16, 17, 18 in Gardner, Mass.

    If you are interested in buying a home, learn more through one of our first-time homebuyer classes. 

    When: May 16 – 18, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Where: Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, 29 Parker St, Gardner, Mass.
     To learn more, click here. 

     

  • Neighbor Up Saturday – May 13

    May 5
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    Neighbor Up Saturday – May 13

    We are kicking off our season of North of Main Neighbor Up Saturdays with a variety of projects during the Ward 4 & 5 Cleanup.

    Projects include:
    Lowe Park Woods Clean Up
    Prichard St. Garden Landscaping Project
    Church Painting and Flower Giveaway Project
    Prichard/Academy Placemaking Project
    Marshall St. Beautification

     

    To sign up for a project, contact:

    Meredith Geraghty

    Director of Community Organizing

    978-342-9561 Ext. 120
    978-400-0162
    mgeraghty@nvcomm.org

  • Community Yard Sale May 20

    May 5
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    Community Yard Sale – May 20 in Leominster

    WHEN: Saturday, May 20, 2017

    TIME:  8:00 am – 2:00 pm

    WHERE: Water Mill Apartments, 142 Water Street, Leominster, Mass.

    Located at the corner of Water Street & Whitney Street at Water Mill Visitors’ Parking Lot

    If you are interested in being a part of the yard sale, please email BRENDA PICCARD-MUÑIZ or call 978-400-0167.

  • NewVue Annual Meeting Held May 4

    May 5
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    This past fiscal year was another productive year for NewVue Communities.

    We would like to thank all those who came out to celebrate.

    NewVue elected two new board members, Philip Duffy and Christina DiRusso.
    NewVue recognized ReImagine North of Main with the 2017 Community Partnership Award.
    Marta Albizu was recognized with the 2017 Luz Sanchez Resident Leadership Award.
    Thank you to Rick Healey of Foster-Healey Real Estate for the comprehensive presentation of the housing marketing, nationally and in North Central Massachusetts.

    We are pleased to share our annual report with you. Click Here.

  • NewVue’s Annual Meeting May 4

    April 20
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    Please Join Us As We Celebrate 37 years of Creating Strong & Healthy Neighborhoods

    What:

    NewVue Communities 37th Annual Meeting

    Date:

    May 4, 2017, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Location:

    Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg & Leominster
    365 Lindell Ave., Leominster, Mass. 

    RSVP:

    Please RSVP@nvcomm.org

  • Celebrate Earth Day

    April 10
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    Come and celebrate Earth Day

    April 22, 2017, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Sundial Community Gardens
    179 Elm St., Fitchburg, Mass.

    • LEARN ABOUT A FREE, NEIGHBORHOOD GARDEN CHALLENGE!
    • LIVE MUSIC
    • REFRESHMENTS
    • KIDS ACTIVITIES
    • CONTAINER GARDEN DEMOS
    • CREATE AN HERB SPIRAL

    Download Earth Day Flyer

  • NewVue Communities Hosts ‘Donuts with Delegates’

    March 28
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    Donuts with Delegates was a forum that allowed staff and residents to talk with our state representative and senators about initiatives that will affect our communities and work.
    This year, we had the meeting at NewVue Communities with Representative Stephen Hay and Senator Jennifer Flanagan.

    a group of smiling people stand in front of a NewVue Communities banner on the wall

  • Salem Five Charitable Foundation supports NewVue’s Homeownership Program

    March 28
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    Thank you Salem Five Charitable Foundation for your support of NewVue’s Homeownership services!
    (Pictured below: Jacqui Keogh, VP-Residential Lending, Salem Five Bank & Madeline Mendoza, Homeownership Program Manager, NewVue Communities)
    2 smiling women hold a check while standing in front of a NewVue Communities banner on the wall
  • First-time homebuyer classes Apr. 18 – 20

    March 28
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    If you are interested in buying a home, learn more through one of our first-time homebuyer classes. 

    When: Tue, April 18 – 20, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Where: 142 Water St., Leominster, Mass.
    To learn more, click here. 
  • First-time homebuyer classes Mar. 20-22

    March 10
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    Thinking of buying a home in the next year, join us in Gardner Mar. 20 – 22.

    To learn more or register, please click here.

  • Grant helps homeowners get the lead out

    February 20
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    Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

    By Joe Atmonavage

    jatmonavage@sentinelandenterprise.com

    FITCHBURG — When Brian Taylor purchased a Summer Street property in April, hoping to provide quality low-income housing for families while turning a profit, he was going through his checklist of refurbishing the more than 100-year-old, three-unit property when he realized lead was going to have be removed.

    While looking to hire a contractor to do the work, he was alerted that the city had money available to help investors and homeowners delead their properties.

    SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN

    Taylor, owner of 347 Summer St. in Fitchburg, speaks about the Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control program.

     In July, the Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control program, which serves Fitchburg, Gardner, Clinton and Athol, received $3.2 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay for the inspection and deleading of 150 qualified homes at up to $10,000 each over the course of three years.

    Seventy-five percent of Fitchburg homes built before 1978 screened positive for lead, and the screening rate for the city in 2015 was 58 percent, making Fitchburg one of the communities on the state’s “high-risk list for childhood lead poisoning,” said Jenna David, environmental programs director for Montachusett Opportunity Council, a partner in the deleading program.

    Since 1978, state law requires any home with children 6 or younger to be inspected and made “ lead safe” by professionals because those children are “ especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

    “This work would have been done, regardless of the program, but given that the program was available to me, it was extremely beneficial to me because it is saving me quite a bit of money,” Taylor said. “The other aspect is it really integrates you with the town and helps you understand the priorities of what the city of Fitchburg is about, which is providing healthy low income housing.”

    Building owners in Fitchburg who apply for the program must have tenants who live in two bedroom apartments or larger and have a median income below $52,550.

    For single-family homeowners, they must have a child under age 6 living in the home or visiting at least six hours a week. The household must have an income below $65,700.

    Taylor, a Concord resident and a father of three, said safety of his residents is his No. 1 priority as landlord, and programs like these make it easy to protect families from dangerous conditions.

    “If we are going to rent this out to anyone, we want healthy, safe spaces for people, and part of that is making sure there is no lead that is going to create a danger or pose a threat to a child,” Taylor said.

    And while Taylor said the process, from applying for the money to meeting with a contractor the city brought in to do the work to the actually deleading of the property, was “seamless,” few others in Fitchburg have taken advantage of the available money.

    In Fitchburg, only nine properties have completed the deleading process, said Shannon Erb, the coordinator for NewVue Communities, another partner in the program. There are 15 active cases in the city, she said.

    “It has been a little slow going,” said Liz Murphy, Fitchburg’s director of housing and development. “We are not sure why folks aren’t applying. We have gotten quite a few applications, but not as many cases.”

    When the city received the money in July, Murphy said the challenge of the program was going to be making sure they reach those residents who can, and should, apply. To do that, the program partners are increasing their outreach. Erb said NewVue, which handles the application process, has been doing direct mailing and holding meetings with various organizations about the program.

    “We are hoping as the spring comes in, we increase the number of people who do the program,” said Madeline Mendoza, NewVue Communities’ homeownership program manager. “Overall, it has been positive,” said Mendoza. Homeowners “are grateful for the advantage of this program. They have been grateful and happy with it.”

    Taylor is one of those residents — he stumbled upon the program — and he encourages anyone who has concerns about lead levels in their home to apply for the program.

    “I would highly recommend to anyone who is looking to buy some investor property in Fitchburg or if you are a homeowner in Fitchburg, you should definitely think about it,” he said. “It is a win-win. It is a win for the city. It is a win for the people who live in the building,” Taylor added. “I can’t be more enthusiastic about the program.”

    Brian Taylor, owner of 347 Summer St. in Fitchburg, talks about taking advantage of a grant to help remove lead from homes in the city.

    SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN

  • Feb. First Time Home Buyer Classes

    February 6
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    Thinking of buying a home. Join us

    Feb. 21, 22, 23

    NewVue Communities

    470 Main St., Fitchburg, Mass.

    To Register For A Class

  • Beemers Pub & Grill Grand Opening

    January 25
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    Reprinted from Sentinel and Enterprise.

    FITCHBURG — After Beemers Pub & Grill burned down in March 2015, it was a treacherous road for owner Pete Cote to find a new location and reopen the business.

    But he did, opening up the restaurant and bar on Main Street in September.

    Now Cote is giving residents another option as the Falcons Nest Sports Bar opened up below Beemers at 310 Main St.

    “I am calm,” Cote said after a hectic past year. “It is a whole burden off me. Now it is time to really focus on the business side of things.”

    The intention when he purchased the building was to always have two establishments, giving patrons and local residents options.

    Beemer’s Pub owner Pete Cote has opened the Falcons Nest Sports Bar in the ground level of Beemer’s. A pub menu is abailable as well as pool

    Originally, Cote said, he wanted to do dining upstairs and a nightclub downstairs, but after speaking with people, he decided on a dining area upstairs, Beemers Pub, and “relaxed” sports bar downstairs, offering “pub food,” pool tables, virtual sports games and full bar.

    The menu includes burgers, hot dogs, cajun shrimp, chicken wings or tenders, quesadillas, and other typical sports bar food. The food will be prepared in the Beemers kitchen, Cote said. The same 16 beers on tap at Beemers will be on tap at the Falcons Nest.

    He said he plans on expanding the menu for the sports bar slightly to included various dishes from upstairs.

    “This will be a twist on the upstairs food,” Cote said.

     The Falcons Nest, which can hold up to approximately 150 people, will be available for private parties as well as a pool league. Cote bought two Diamond Billiards pool tables to “draw a better class of pool players.”

    “No place around here has Diamond tables,” he said.

    “When you go out to Vegas, those are the tables you play on.”

    Cote said he has teams lined up for the pool league and hopes to have it begin soon.

     He said with both businesses opening during the holiday season, he expects them to struggle early on, but he hopes when people go out to eat, they spend their money in Fitchburg.

    “It helps everybody,” he said. “If you spend locally, things will improve.”

    He said the goal of having Beemers upstairs and Falcons Nest downstairs is so people can have a quality sit-down meal upstairs and head downstairs to hang out and socialize, or head straight to the sports bar to watch a game and grab a quick meal.

    “It’s different down here,” Cote said. “It is a relaxing atmosphere.”

    Beemer’s Pub owner Pete Cote has opened the Falcons Nest Sports Bar in the ground level of Beemer’s. A pub menu is available as well as pool tables.
  • Thank you to our generous donors of 2016! We utilized all of our Community Investment Tax Credits!

    January 24
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    Thank you donors! button

    NewVue Communities would like to thank each and every one of our donors who made 2016 a success!  Your support makes our work in our communities possible and we couldn’t be more thankful for your gift.

    Big thanks to our corporate and individual donors that utilized the Community Investment Tax Credit, we were able to utilize all of our 2016 credits!

    2016 Corporate CITC Supporters

    Alexander, Aronson, Finning & Co., P.C.
    Athol Savings Bank
    bankHometown
    Davis Square Architects
    Dorfman Company, Inc.
    Eastern Bank
    Enterprise Bank
    Fidelity Bank
    Hackett Feinberg PC
    The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts
    Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
    Rollstone Bank &  Trust
    Resource Management, Inc.
    Wingate Management Co., LLC

     

  • Hear How NewVue Helps Small Businesses

    January 7
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    a woman in a red apron and headband stands in front of a wall with photosClick Here to Learn How Ray Belanger from NewVue Communities assisted three local businesses: Brother’s Barber Shop, The Man Cave and  Yolanda’s Food Truck. If you are interested in learning more about NewVue’s Small Business Assistance Programs, contact Ray Belanger. 

2016

  • Time is Running Out to Take Advantage of Tax Credits

    December 23
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    Time is Running Out to Take Advantage of the State’s 50% Tax Credit

    Donate to NewVue Communities by 12/31/16 and receive a 50% Tax Credit 

    The Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) is a refundable state tax credit aimed at forging new financial support and partnerships in support of community development corporations such as NewVue Communities. The CITC program enhances community support for the work of organizations like NewVue Communities. This program provides a 50% tax credit against Commonwealth of Massachusetts tax liability.

    The CITC program is a refundable tax credit.

    Donors will invest in the agency’s Community Investment Plan (i.e. our business plan) providing flexible working capital that can be used to seed new programs, fill funding gaps and leverage other resources and achieve maximum impact. If the donor does not have sufficient tax liability, the credit is refundable, whereby the Commonwealth will issue a check for the balance of the credit to the donor.

    DONATE ONLINE TODAY

    You can also make a CITC donation by calling or emailing:

    Lisa Dutton-SwainResource Development Director
    lds@nvcomm.org
    Direct: 978-400-0171

  • First-Time Homebuyer Classes in Gardner

    December 21
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    Thinking of buying a home. Join us

    Jan. 17th, 18th and 19th

    Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce

    29 Parker Street, Gardner

    To Register For A Class

  • Coat Connection

    December 12
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    Have a coat you don’t need? You can drop it off at Burlington Coat Factory, 100 Commercial Rd., Leominster, Mass.  

    NewVue Communities will make sure it gets to families in need.

    If you are a nonprofit and need coats for your clients, please contact

    Meredith Geraghty

    Director of Community Organizing

    978-342-9561 Ext. 120
    978-400-0162
    mgeraghty@nvcomm.org

  • Lead paint is still a problem in Massachusetts homes

    November 18
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    The Boston Globe has an excellent article on the elevated lead levels in Massachusetts homes…

    Read more. 

  • First-time Homebuyer Classes in Leominster Dec. 13 – 15

    November 18
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    Thinking about buying your first home? Learn about home buying process through one of your classes. To learn more, click here. 

  • First-Time Home Buyer Classes in Gardner Nov. 15-17

    October 31
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    Are you tired of renting? Learn more about homeownership.

    Homebuyer Education Classes in Gardner

    November, 15, 16 and 17 2016

    Learn more

  • Young treaters take to the streets in the Twin Cities

    October 31
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    By Elizabeth Dobbins

    Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

    edobbins @sentinelandenterprise.com

    The streets of downtown Fitchburg and Leominster were each filled with monsters and superheroes during the cities’ annual Halloween events on Saturday. “This is our downtown, and we want people to come down and really enjoy it,” said Tricia Pistone, project director of ReImagine North of Main, of the Fitchburg event. “Not just today but allyear long.” Children, parents and dogs wore costumes to trick or treat at local businessesin the downtowns

    of both cities. For some, like Fran Henderson, manager of Coldwell Banker in Leominster, passing out treats to children is a yearly tradition.

    “It’s fun. We do it every year,” she said. “I thinkit’s a great way to give back to the community.”

    For others, including Fitchburg resident John Chevrette, venturing into the downtown of his city is a rarity.

    “I just learned we have two Chinese businesses right next to each other, so I get to learn about the businesses as well,” he said.

    “Yeah, there’s a lot of different things I didn’t know,” added his wife, Tanya Chevrette. “I didn’t knowthere was a tattoo parlor.”

    The Chevrettes came with their three children, 12-year-old Max, 2-yearold Wednesday, and Frankie, who was dressed as Supergirl and celebrating her fourth birthday. Her favorite part of the day: “getting lollipops.”

    Audrey Chow was standing outside her business, Curious Escape Rooms, which opened this summer in Fitchburg.

    “(Escape rooms are) more of an adult thing but these kids were coming with parents and a few people have already askedfor our cards,” she said.

    Halfway through the Fitchburg event, about 1,200 people had stopped by Main Street to trick or treat, get balloon animals and participate in Halloween activities.

    The event was hosted by New Vue Communities, the city of Fitchburg, ReImagine North of Main and Fitchburg Pride.

    In Leominster, children were also trick-ortreating with parents at downtown businesses following the annual Halloween parade.

    The event brought Fitchburg residents Nick and Lori DiPrima and their two children todowntown Leominster.

    “We come to a lot of the festivals,” Lori DiPrimasaid. “We like Halloween. We like all the holidays, especially the autumn,” Nick DiPrima said. “Autumn in New England is the best time of year.”

    Donna LaPointe, branch service specialist, was passing out candy in front of Enterprise Bank in downtown Leominster. She said the afternoon was a family-friendly event.

    “It’s gone wonderfully,” she said. “It was nice to see families getting together.”

    Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter and Tout@DobbinsSentinel.

    SENTINEL ENTERPRISE PHOTOS / ASHLEY GREEN

  • Main Street Fitchburg Trick or Treat

    September 29
    Main Street Fitchburg Trick or Treat
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    2 adults in Halloween costumes, a witch and a pumpkin-head, pose outdoors for the camera on a sunny day

    Join us Saturday, Oct. 29 from 12 noon to 2 pm, downtown Fitchburg, for a great afternoon of trick or treat and other fun activities.

  • Water Mill Tenants

    August 4
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    people seated at tables arranged in a square, holding up printed fake 100 dollar bills

    Water Mill Tenants enjoyed the first “Game of Life” Club event focused on family finances and budgeting with guest speakers from American Consumer Credit Counseling and Hometown Bank. To learn more, contact Madeline.

  • Small-business lessons from four who know Owners share advice at NewVue annual meeting

    May 27
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    Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

    By Anna Burgess, aburgess@sentinelandenterprise.com
    UPDATED: 05/26/2016

    FITCHBURG — At the NewVue Communities 36th annual meeting on Wednesday, NewVue Executive Director Marc Dohan emphasized the importance of economic success to community success.

    Their organization was founded, he said, in response to the closing of many factories in the area.

    “Economic development is in our blood,” Dohan said.

    NewVue Communities also focuses on housing improvements, health and wellness of local residents, and community involvement, but this year’s annual meeting centered around small businesses.

    NewVue accomplishments in the past year include counseling 109 businesses, and assisting 20 businesses to secure $2.1 million in loans.

    Owners of four of these businesses — Fitchburg consignment store The Man Cave, Fitchburg and Leominster barber Luxury Cuts, Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, and Fitchburg restaurant Beemers Pub — spoke on a panel at the meeting.

    They shared lessons from their experience as business owners. Here are their top three tips:

    1. Do your homework before you open.

    “You really have to get educated as much as you can,” said The Man Cave owner Marta Albizu.

    Beemers owner Pete Cote said to be aware of business regulations ahead of opening.

    “I don’t care what business you’re in, the government regulations are going to kill you if you don’t do your homework,” he said.

    “And make sure you have a business plan, make sure you have a bank behind you, make sure you have enough money to open.”

    Luxury Cuts owner Carlos Rosado said creating a business plan was important for “exposing the challenges” of the business, to better prepare for these challenges.

    Albizu agreed, saying having a plan made her “more confident” when opening.

    2. Get creative when tackling challenges.

    Al Rose, the owner of Red Apple Farm, deals with unpredictable factors like the weather in operating his business. He can’t control the weather, so he has instead tried to diversify the business. This means diversifying location, like selling regularly at a market in Boston, and diversifying product, like making cider doughnuts and other year-round foods.

    Albizu said a challenge she has faced in the past year is not generating enough revenue to be able to pay an employee besides herself.

    Her creative solution, now in progress, is to work with Fitchburg State University students looking for business internship experience.

    3. Use resources in the area.

    All four business owners said working with NewVue Small Business Director Ray Belanger was a huge help.

    Albizu said he helped her negotiate rent with the landlord, submit a loan application, and do other pre-opening work.

    Rose said making a business plan with Belanger gave him “concrete goals and a concrete direction.”

    Cote agreed.

    Rosado also said he found North Central Chamber of Commerce a very helpful resource. He attended several of their workshops when he was first opening Luxury Cuts, and said he learned a lot about long-term financial planning for a business.

    Rosado, who Dohan said was one of the first NewVue business clients, had one extra piece of advice for would-be business owners: “Pick something you love. If you don’t love it, you’ll quit when things get hard, and that shouldn’t be an option.”

    Follow Anna Burgess on Twitter and Tout @AnnaBurgess18.

     

  • NewVue Communities Annual Meeting

    May 18
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    NewVue Communities
    36th Annual Meeting
    Celebrating Small Business in No. Central Mass.
    May 25th
    5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
    Where: Beemers Pub & Grill
    310 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420
    The location of the meeting has been changed to:
    NewVue Communities
    470 Main Street, Fitchburg, Mass. 
    *Child Care will be provided*
     
    Hear from a panel of the Small Businesses we have work with 
    RSVP NOW
    Lisa Dutton-Swain
    978-342-9561

     

     

  • Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home

    May 13
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    The City of Fitchburg is a partnering with NewVue Communities, Montachusett Opportunity Council, Montachusett Public Health Network, and the participating communities of Gardner, Clinton, and Athol to form The Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control Program. This Grant will provide funding to low and moderate income owner-occupants and investors who rent to low income tenants in these four communities to remove Lead Paint Hazards from their homes. Applications are now being accepted for the program.

     

    Press Inquiries: Dorothy Preston
    Program Manager, City of Fitchburg
    166 Boulder Drive, Fitchburg, MA 01420
    Dpreston@fitchburgma.gov (978-829-1859)

     

    Applicant Contact: Shannon Erb
    Intake Specialist, NewVue Communities
    470 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420
    serb@nvcomm.org (978-400-0170)

    https://newvuecommunities.org/home-ownership/

    Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems. Those most likely at risk are children 6 years and younger, pregnant women and unborn child, and people living in houses that are being renovated.

    When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood. Lead may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, and in extreme cases, death. Some symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness and irritability, but often, children who are lead poisoned may show no symptoms at all.

    Lead dust and lead paint in old homes can poison children. When old paint peels and cracks, it makes lead dust which can come from opening and closing old windows. There are risks both inside and outside the home. Deteriorated lead-paint mixes with household dust and soil and becomes tracked in. Children may become lead poisoned by:

    • Putting their hands or other lead-contaminated objects into their mouths.
    • Eating paint chips found in homes with peeling or flaking lead-based paint.
    • Playing in lead-contaminated soil.

    The Lead Law protects families with children 6 years old and under who live in a home built before 1978. If there is lead paint in the home, the owner must use licensed professionals to make it safe.

    The Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control Program has published a brochure on Lead Paint Hazards that can be distributed freely in your community. The brochure can be downloaded as a PDF file from: https://newvuecommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Lead-Paint_HUD-Brochure_NEW.pdf.

    Lead Poisoning is a serious societal issue and one that all of us need to address. These are tough times. Help make them easier for a child at risk.

2015

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