Event Recap | 4th Annual Gateway Cities Leadership Summit

On Tuesday, July 18, 2023, we gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for the first in-person Gateway Cities event since 2019.

MassINC Board member Michael Hunter and MassDevelopment’s President and CEO, Dan Rivera, kicked off the morning with opening remarks on the importance of working together to help Gateway Cities excel in the transition to clean energy technologies. Dan also took the opportunity to describe the state’s latest efforts to address climate change, the creation of the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank. As the nation’s first green bank committed to addressing affordable housing, it will allocate millions in funding to decarbonize affordable housing across the state.

Following the opening speakers, Ben Forman, MassINC’s Research Director, offered a high-level review of MassINC’s Gateway Cities research pipeline. Ben featured new efforts within current focus areas, including digital equity and Early College, and introduced several fresh topics, such as investigating strategies to connect housing development with school improvement and neighborhood revitalization.

Ben then passed the mic to Steve Lisauskas, who shared preliminary findings from research on the inequitable burden that historic public pension obligations place on the current residents of Gateway Cities.

Gateway City Mayors Panel


Andre Leroux, Gateway Hubs Project Director led the conversation from there. Andre laid out shared Gateway City policy priorities for the 2023 – 2024 legislative session. He highlighted several successes, such as increased funding for Early College and capital funding for neighborhood stabilization projects through MassHousing. Then he reviewed progress on several Gateway City bills, including HDIP expansion, the downtown vitality fund, bonding for downtown parking and EV infrastructure, fare equity, and public procurement and inclusive entrepreneurship. Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia led a discussion with Gateway City mayors, highlighting how these bills can help communities address the unique challenges that they face. The Federal Reserve Bank’s Working Places team, represented by Pierre Joseph, closed the morning session with updates on their efforts to create place-based approaches and people-centered strategies to improve local economies. Slides are linked below.

Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer


Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer provided the luncheon keynote with eye-opening remarks on the serious impact that climate change is already having on communities all over the world. A panel of leaders responded with how Gateway Cities act now, including POUA’s Mary Wambui, Eastern Bank’s Natalia Urtubey, Anna Vanderspek from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Jennifer Applebaum. Alexis Washburn from the Emerald Cities Collaborative expertly led the discussion.

Finally, MassINC CEO Joe Kriesberg closed the event with an invitation to our next Gateway Cities event on November 14, the 11th Annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Innovation Awards & Summit. Make sure to subscribe to our Gateway Hubs newsletter list to receive event details. More to come very soon!


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