Making news in business, April 4

Jillian Duclos

Jillian Duclos

Ricard Torres-Mateluna

Ricard Torres-Mateluna

Jenna Perna Elias

Jenna Perna Elias

Chris Harper

Chris Harper

Published: 04-04-2024 7:01 AM

Northampton Jazz Festival welcomes 2 board members

NORTHAMPTON — The Northampton Jazz Festival has welcomed two new board members who bring broad skills and deep experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, community organizing and music from world cultures.

The new members are Ricard Torres-Mateluna, who joined last month, and Jillian Duclos, who came on the board in September 2023.

Torres-Mateluna, of Belchertown, is a communicator and marketing strategist with more than 20 years in the field, having worked in advertising agencies and startups run by people from all backgrounds. Torres-Mateluna’s current role is vice president of marketing and communications for the Springfield-based human services agency Viability Inc.

He has been a jazz lover since childhood and is also a member of the editorial board and U.S. correspondent for Papeles de Jazz Magazine in his native Chile. He holds a double bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the Universidad ARCIS, Chile, and a master’s degree in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in politics at Mount Holyoke College as a Francis Perkins Scholar, class of 2017, Duclos, a resident of Easthampton, became a grassroots organizer, a driver of work-force development and then a business owner.

Now, as executive director of the Downtown Northampton Association, she facilitates collaboration with city leaders, downtown organizations and community members to drive economic development for downtown Northampton and to provide a much-needed safety net to local and small businesses who anchor the community.

Whole Children celebrates 20 years with new leadership

NORTHAMPTON — As Whole Children & Milestones, after-school enrichment programs for people with disabilities, is nearing its 20th anniversary, the organization recently announced a new generation of leaders to guide the programs into the next era of growth and innovation.

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Whole Children founder Carrie McGee recently introduced the new leadership team at Whole Children and Milestones, both programs of the Springfield-based Pathlight, a provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities.

Chris Harper, who has been with the organization since 2010 and served as the manager of the Milestones day program, is taking on the role of Director of Whole Children, Milestones, and Whole Selves (the programs relationships and sex education program). Harper holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and brings extensive experience in leadership and working with individuals with disabilities. Beginning her career as a teacher at Whole Children, Harper has progressively assumed greater management and leadership responsibilities.

Jenna Perna Elias will step into the role of the Milestones day program manager. Perna Elias, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in education, came to Whole Children and Milestones as a teacher in 2017. She has been an integral part of the Pathlight community, serving on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, and contributing as a lead teacher and member of the Whole Selves creative team.

Liana Marks, who was named manager of the Whole Children after-school program in February, rounds out the new management team at the Inclusive Community Center at Village Hill in Northampton.

As the transition takes place, McGee will remain at Pathlight as the vice president for family services to oversee the change and set goals for the programs to ensure continued success.

Women’s Fund invites applications for 2024 grants

SPRINGFIELD — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts welcomes grant applications for its 2024 grant cycle and intends to award 10 to 15 grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 by summer.

WFWM encourages smaller, community-based grassroots organizations to apply. Organizations with 501(c)3 status and those with fiscal sponsors are welcome to apply, and those serving women and girls and transgender and gender-diverse people in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties are encouraged to do so.

Priority will be given to organizations aligning with race and gender justice and equity, and WFWM’s strategic pillars — economic security, equality in positions of power and leadership, and freedom from gender-based violence.

The two-year unrestricted grants can be used for general operations or program support

To apply, complete an online application. For the English application, visit; for the Spanish version, visit Submit a brief, one-page letter of intent.

Applications are due by midnight on May 15. The Grantmaking Committee will announce recipients on Aug. 30.

Florence Bank donates $4K to West Springfield 250th

FLORENCE — Florence Bank has donated $4,000 to the city of West Springfield to help support four events the city has planned in 2024 as part of a year packed with 250th anniversary festivities.

Florence Bank’s backing of the West Springfield 250th Celebration specifically offers support for three 5K races, one of which took place in March and the other two scheduled for July and November; a 250th Block Party on June 22 and 23; and a golf tournament in July.