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Girls Inc. of the Valley Receives $500,000 Grant in Support of Major Expansion

By March 3, 2020April 15th, 2020No Comments

Girls Inc. of the Valley is excited to announce plans for major expansion and the launch of their new campaign. They are in the early stages of an ambitious, comprehensive campaign, Her Future, Our Future, with three primary goals:

  • Develop a permanent Girls Inc. home in downtown Holyoke, MA
  • Expand school-based programming in Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield
  • Extend the Eureka! STEM education program

They have received support from The Kendeda Fund, a private grantmaker based in Atlanta. This transformative gift will support the expansion of Girls Inc. of the Valley’s programs and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve. Girls Inc. of the Valley is launching this campaign to offer more girls fundamental support and research-based programming. These programs are designed to empower girls and present them with opportunities to navigate barriers they face in school and beyond. More than 85% of the girls who participate in Girls Inc. of the Valley’s programs say they view their future positively and plan to go to college; most will be first in their families to do so. The positive and lasting effects of the Girls Inc. experience on girls who participate will grow substantially.

A rigorous comparative study by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) found that Girls Inc. girls have an advantage over their peers in more than 20 key areas. The findings demonstrate that girls not only thrive at Girls Inc. of the Valley, they are also more likely than other girls to see themselves as leaders, with the skills and capabilities of influencing and improving their local communities. This grant, in conjunction with the support of other funders and donors, will help Girls Inc. of the Valley to expand their program offerings and create a stronger network that encourages girls to achieve.

While there are more women today in key leadership positions than ever before, there is still a pervasive gender gap in top leadership. The need for qualified science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals in our workforce continues to grow and women – particularly women of color – continue to be underrepresented in these fields. At the heart of Girls Inc. of the Valley is a comprehensive approach to whole girl development that equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. The Her Future, Our Future campaign is a bold initiative designed to positively influence generational change and provide tangible opportunities for girls in our region to achieve academic and personal success.

“We are so appreciative for The Kendeda Fund’s belief in the importance of girls’ growth and development,” said Suzanne Parker, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “Simply put, we couldn’t have made this happen without an incredible devoted team of volunteers and staff. This gift has fueled all of us in the early stages of our campaign.”

When the campaign is complete, Girls Inc. of the Valley will serve more than 1,000 girls per year – nearly 5% of the combined female population of the Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield public school systems. Girls Inc. of the Valley will be positioned to advance the right policy initiatives, structures, and best practices to address the unique challenges that await girls, equipping them with the skills and tools to achieve their goals and take charge of their futures.