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Smith Announces $520,000 in Community Investments

Smith & Northampton

  • April 13, 2016
View of the street in front of Northrop and Gillett, 2012. Photo by Jim Gipe.

Smith will invest $520,000 in new community contributions to benefit Northampton and its civic and cultural organizations.

“Smith College is committed to the success of Northampton,” said President Kathleen McCartney, describing the gifts as “voluntary investments to strengthen priorities across the city.”

The recipients of the funds are the City of Northampton, the Valley Community Development Corporation, the Northampton Community Arts Trust and the Downtown Northampton Association.

The City of Northampton

Smith will donate $300,000 in unrestricted funds ($100,000 per year in each of the next three years) to the City of Northampton to support city priorities at the discretion of Mayor David Narkewicz. This funding is in addition to revenues to the city from the college’s annual development agreement, which totaled more than $90,000 in the previous fiscal year. “This gift recognizes and strengthens a historic partnership between Northampton and Smith that has benefited each in countless ways,” McCartney said.

The Valley Community Development Corporation

Smith will subsidize the development of affordable housing through a gift of $100,000 to Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) in support of the corporation’s housing project on Pleasant Street in downtown Northampton. The gift builds on prior investments the college has made in affordable housing with Valley CDC as part of Smith’s 2005 development agreement with the city.

The Northampton Community Arts Trust

Smith will donate $100,000 to the Northampton Community Arts Trust in support of the 33 Hawley Street building project. The facility will strengthen Northampton’s cultural community by providing permanent space for teaching, exhibitions and performing arts. The Hawley Street building is intended as permanent, affordable space for arts and artists in the heart of downtown.

The Downtown Northampton Association

The college also announced a new, annual contribution of $20,000 to the Downtown Northampton Association (DNA), an organization focused on promoting and supporting the success of the downtown business district. Last year, Smith contributed $10,000 in one-time startup funding to the DNA, and the college will play an active role in the organization’s leadership. The new annual contribution recognizes the importance of maintaining a vibrant and welcoming downtown—one of Northampton’s distinctive assets.

Smith is Northampton’s largest taxpayer by a significant margin and the city’s second largest employer after Cooley Dickinson Hospital. More than 40 percent of Smith’s faculty and staff live in Northampton, representing almost $38 million in local wages.

In addition to the newly announced community funding, Smith will continue its widely utilized program of offering college courses to Northampton High School students at no cost. In the past year alone, this program enrolled 140 high school students in classes at Smith and was valued at $1 million.

Founded in 1871, Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction, developing leaders for society’s challenges. The largest women’s liberal arts college in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,600 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.