31 May

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


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


kflathers@nvcomm.org 978-870-2474

27 May

Congressman McGovern Brings Great News to Athol

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.

5 May

NewVue Communities Graduates 65 Stewards

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.

27 Mar

NewVue Communities and Fitchburg Civic Forum Partner to Encourage Civic Engagement

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

9 Aug

Riverfront Park Draft Stage Plans to be Reviewed

On Thursday, August 18 at 5:30 pm, Tom Skwierawsk, Executive Director for Community Develpment and Planning, Fitchburg and Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue Communities, will faciliate a discussion about the Riverfront Park drafts stage plans. The discussion will take place at RiverFront Park.


a flyer for the riverfront park stage coming soon
19 Jun

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

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.

9 Jun

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

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.

29 Sep

National Night Out Scheduled for Tuesday, October 6.

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

29 Jun

2020 Annual Meeting a Success

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.”

9 Jun

NewVue Celebrates NeighborWorks America

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