Girls Inc. gets a $2M federal boost for new headquarters in Holyoke

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced $2 million in federal money will go to Girls Inc. of Holyoke to help with renovation of a new headquarters at 480 Hampden St.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced $2 million in federal money will go to Girls Inc. of Holyoke to help with renovation of a new headquarters at 480 Hampden St.

Staff Report

Published: 10-17-2023 11:42 AM

HOLYOKE — A $2 million federal earmark is supporting the renovation of the 480 Hampden St. headquarters and program center for Girls Inc. of the Valley, a nonprofit organization that serves to empower more than 1,000 girls from underserved communities, including Holyoke, Springfield and Chicopee.

The 16,000-square-foot, two-story building, the historic former home of The O’Connell Companies, is undergoing a $7 million overhaul so Girls Inc. has its own space for assisting students, ranging in age from 5 to 18. Those students participate in programs offered year-round that help them make better decisions about their health and lifestyles, set and achieve higher academic goals, and put themselves on track to lead independent, successful lives.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal was on hand with Girls Inc. of the Valley Executive Director Suzanne Parker to announce the federal support, an allocation made possible through Congressionally Direct Spending from the Department of Education. Neal included the funding in the fiscal year 2023 spending bill signed into law last December.

“The federal funding that Congressman Neal secured for our program center renovation will allow Girls Inc. of the Valley to complete our work on a beautiful, educational space that the youth of the Valley deserve, even amidst rising construction costs and supply chain disruptions,” Parker said in a statement, noting the organization’s commitment to area youth to provide them resources they need to grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

Girls Inc. bought the property for $790,000 in September 2021.

Neal described the earmark as ensuring regional equity.

“These funds are highly competitive, and the proposal by Girls Inc. illustrated a worthwhile investment that will help them continue their mission of serving our region’s youth,” Neal said.

The roots of Girls Inc. goes back more than 40 years, to the Girls Club of Holyoke in 1981.

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“Supporting an organization that inspires our children and provides them with the opportunity to achieve their full potential is certainly an investment that will be of great benefit to the Pioneer Valley,” Neal said.

The Girls Inc. project is one of 15 Congressional Directed Spending projects, totaling over $20 million, submitted by Neal for funding in his district.