MassINC Matters: The May/June Round-Up

The latest from our research, journalism, and polling

On this second day of the state’s new fiscal year, we’re sharing a wide range of updates from the past two months at MassINC. This edition includes highlights from two of our Greg Torres Senior Fellows, new research reports from the Policy Center, an update from CommonWealth Beacon, the latest from the MassINC Polling Group, and much more.


We hope you enjoy catching up on all that we’ve been up to and have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday.

Policy Center

Greg Torres Senior Fellows Program

On May 20, Senior Fellow Charlotte Golar Richie organized an impactful event on maternal health in Massachusetts with our partners at GBH. You can watch a recording of the event and read coverage of the event in CommonWealth Beacon. The panelists weaved their personal narratives into calls for legislative and community action. The event featured lessons from pioneers in this space in Massachusetts like Dr. Jo-Anna Rorie and Rep. Kay Khan, and new energy and ideas from the next generation of leaders like Dr. Amutah-Onukagha, Dr. Lomas, Rep. Fluker Oakley, and Sen. Liz Miranda, among others. A few weeks later, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation addressing many of these issues.

Birthing Justice: Finding a New Way Forward live photo

Senior Fellow Mary Wambui published an op-ed in CommonWealth Beacon along with Cindy Luppi, national field director for Clean Water Action. Together, they highlight crucial changes they believe are necessary for the state’s 2025-2027 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Plan. This includes greater access to heat pump installation, especially for lower-income households, and an explicit call for “distributive justice” to be a principle of the state’s implementation of this plan. Their op-ed also encourages the plan to be written in more accessible language as “complexity chills participation.”

Report Releases
The Policy Center released District Management for Downtown Vitality, a report that explores ingredients and recipes for success to support commercial districts that rely on high foot traffic for small business success. Analysis from the report reveals that while district management organizations (DMOs) can boost pedestrian activity, there is a funding shortfall for these initiatives. Modest state investment could foster a vibrant DMO sector, enhancing commercial areas across the Commonwealth.

In partnership with P2 Advisors, the Policy Center released Community Capital for Small Businesses: A Study of the CDFI and CDC Ecosystem in Massachusetts. The study explores small business lending services provided by federally certified Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) and state certified Community Development Corporations (CDCs).

Award Nominations

We need your help! We’re gearing up for the 12th Annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Awards & Summit and need your help finding nominees for the Innovation Award. If you know individuals or programs making a positive impact on housing in Gateway Cities, we’d love to know! Click here to submit your nomination.

MassINC Policy Center in the Media

MassINC CEO Joe Kriesberg wrote a letter to the Globe editor calling for the need to develop a statewide set of solutions to address the ongoing inequities and segregation in Massachusetts schools.
Presentation ties housing stock to school budgets

Newton Beacon

Diversity in Education: Insights from Amanda Fernandez & Benjamin Forman

Issue NECN

Upcoming Events 📅

  • July 24- MassINC Policy Center Actionable Strategies to Expand and Enhance ESOL Services in Massachusetts | Register 

Gateway Cities Innovation Institute

Mayors and Managers

27 Gateway City mayors and managers submitted letters to legislative leaders in support of the Downtown Vitality Act, a proposal that would dedicate a portion of the state’s online sales tax collections to a fund to strengthen local commercial areas like downtowns and main streets.


Gateway City Legislative Caucus

Policy Center staff presented its new report, District Management for Downtown Vitality, to the Gateway Cities legislative caucus. Shortly thereafter, 35 state representatives co-sponsored an amendment to include Downtown Vitality in the House’s economic development package (although it was not adopted).


Economic Developers’ Network

A working group tackling Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) challenges met with Assistant Secretary for MEPA Tori Kim and other senior staff from state agencies. Assistant Secretary Kim promised to convene an interagency group that would work with Gateway City leaders on possible solutions.

TransitMatters made a presentation on commuter rail transformation and fare reform during the network’s monthly Zoom meeting in June. Policy Center intern Isabella Buford explained our collaborative research project under way to explore transit fare equity.

CommonWealth Beacon

Staff Update

On May 6, Bruce Mohl announced that he would be stepping down from his role as editor of CommonWealth Beacon after leading the newsroom from its origins as a quarterly print magazine to its current state as an award-winning digital publication featuring daily news, in-depth journalism, and commentary. We congratulate Bruce on his remarkable career and thank him for his contributions to the Commonwealth. Bruce will continue to work with executive editor, Michael Jonas, and our reporters as we work with Koya Partners on the search for a new editor.


ComomnWealth Beacon meets with peers at national conference

CommonWealth Beacon and representatives from members of the Institute for Nonprofit News gathered in San Diego for the organization’s two-day annual conference. There was good news about continued growth of the nonprofit journalism sector – along with some warnings about the challenges of navigating the fast-changing media landscape.  Unique visitors to members’ websites were down, in aggregate, in 2023 compared with 2022, something attributed to a sharp drop in referrals from the turbulent worlds of Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).  A majority of outlets, however – including CommonWealth Beacon – saw growth in the number of email newsletter subscribers, a way of reaching readers that may become an increasingly crucial vehicle for delivering the journalism we produce.

CommonWealth Beacon’s Michael Jonas at the Institute for Nonprofit News annual conference


We recently completed our June Membership Drive, aimed at growing our community of readers who set up recurring donations of at least $10 per month or make a one-time contribution of $120 to help sustain our newsroom. The campaign raised over $8,300 for CommonWealth Beacon’s award-winning civic news journalism. Although the drive is over, you can still become a member anytime by clicking here.



Dan Kennedy, professor at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and member of CommonWealth Beacon’s Advisory Board shared a story via his blog that pointed to our newsroom’s early coverage of Josh Kraft’s possible upcoming campaign for Boston mayor. Read the CommonWealth Beacon article here.

Top CWB Articles 📰

  1. South Coast Rail coming to New Bedford, but not with MBTA assessments
  2. MBTA is ‘barely treading water’
  3. Social equity marijuana businesses sold ‘bag of dreams’
Popular Opinion 📈

  1. Dissecting the ‘toxic’ State House culture
  2. Abolishing BPDA costing many employees their strong job protections
  3. Troubling signs at Healey’s transportation funding task force
Most listened to Codcast Episode

Decarbonizing New England’s power grid | Listen here

Bruce Mohl is joined by Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England, to discuss the challenges of moving to a decarbonized grid while maintaining an adequate and affordable electricity supply.

Do you receive The Download, our daily newsletter covering statewide politics and civic life or CommonWealth Voices, our Sunday newsletter featuring opinion pieces from key contributors? If the answer is no, subscribe today to get them delivered to your inbox and consider becoming a member.

The MassINC Polling Group

  • MPG and EdTrust hosted the virtual event “Beyond Words: Parent Perceptions on Early Literacy”, to mark the release of our latest statewide poll of K-12 parents, sponsored by the Barr Foundation. You can watch the full event on YouTube.


  • Rich Parr, MPG’s Senior Research Director presented polling on biking in Massachusetts at a convening at the Conine Family Foundation. Rich also presented a Boston-specific version of the data at a meeting for City of Boston transportation officials in June.


  • MPG President Steve Koczela presented before the MBTA Board of Directors about trends in public opinion around transit. Steve drew on more than a decade’s worth of polling MPG has done on transportation, sponsored by The Barr Foundation.


Poll Releases

Most listened to Horse Race Episode

Episode 302: Head over Healey | Listen here


Governor Maura Healey joins Steve Koczela, Jennifer Smith, and Lisa Kashinsky to discuss her economic development priorities, the Commonwealth’s role in building new climate technology, and her upcoming visit to the Vatican. Meanwhile, Steve shares what’s on the minds of youth and small business owners in new polls, including climate change; and Lisa breaks down what’s in the Senate’s budget proposal.

MassINC Polling Group in the Media

How Biden and Trump discussed issues on Mass. voters’ minds


Poll finds widespread concern about reading education among Massachusetts parents


Single biggest issue.’ Are Massachusetts politics on immigration changing?

-Cape Cod Times

Poll: Most Massachusetts parents think state should require the ‘science of reading’ in classrooms

-Boston Globe 

Poll shows parents more focused on unmet needs in BPS, less familiar with busing era

-Dorchester Reporter

Work with MPG

Did you know that MPG offers clients the opportunity to add questions to statewide surveys? Adding questions is a more affordable way to get a quick read on public opinion. Interested?

Email us at!

Staff and Board News

MassINC’s Summer Interns

We welcomed Isabella Buford, Derrick Seegars, and Nikolas Lazar as interns to join us this summer to work on key projects through our Policy Center and Gateway Cities research and advocacy. Isabella and Derrick are both pursuing their master’s degrees at Tufts University and are part of the Racial Equity in Policy & Planning (REPP) fellowship. Isabella will be focusing on transportation issues this summer, while Derrick is supporting our Gateway Cities housing work and broader agenda. Nikolas is joining us before starting a new role at Education Resource Strategies in the fall and is working to complete our Early College impact assessment.


Board Member Updates

Congratulations to MassINC Board Member, Kat Adam, who was recently announced as Denterlein’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the firm’s Public Affairs Practice.


Congratulations to MassINC Board Member, Keith Fairey, for winning the 2024 CHAPA Award for Community Engagement in honor of his leadership in the housing sector.

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