January 24, 2019
 
Girls Inc. of Worcester Gets a Yearend $100K Surprise

December 29, 2018 — Girls Inc. of Worcester, a Worcester-based nonprofit focused on building leadership skills for girls in central Massachusetts, last week announced it received a surprise gift of $100,000 from Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots.

The grant is part of part of Kraft's "challenge grant" program and will be used to fund a digital learning specialist in the nonprofit's new technology center, which is expected to open next fall.

The grant is a challenge match and will apply to donations from the community of $100 or more.

“It’s still stunning to me,” said Victoria Waterman, chief executive officer of Girls Inc. of Worcester. “It’s pretty incredible this time of year.”

"A lot of girls we service don’t have access to Internet at home,” Waterman said, quoted in Worcester Magazine. “They may have cell phones, but that’s not enough. We want to make sure our girls have everything they need to survive in high school, and the next step college, and then the work force to be as successful as the girls who do have access.”

According to Heidi Paluk, senior director of advancement at Girls Inc., the organization was contacted in late August by a consultant who said he represented a large family foundation that wished to remain anonymous.

"Through a serious of questions, we learned that they were interested in supporting an organization in Worcester, which works with girls," Paluk recounted. "A number of conversations ensued and eventually a written proposal was submitted to the consultant. Girls Inc. did not have any idea of the family or the foundation and was shocked when the call came that day and Robert Kraft was on the phone personally.

"Girls Inc. is thrilled to be recognized for our dedication to girls and for our solid financial footing by one of the region’s most successful business leaders."

Girls Inc. of Worcester traces its roots back more than a century when the Worcester Girls Club was formed in 2016 by a group of community members to give ethical, educational, and social advantages to girls of lower incomes families.

It is part of the national organization, based in New York, and is the second oldest affiliate of almost 100 affiliates in the United States and Canada.

Today, the nonprofit reaches 1,400 girls each year at its Providence Street facility, the Camp Kinneywood lakefront summer camp, in schools and on college campuses, and through community partners.

According to the organization, 95% of the girls involved with Girls Inc. of Worcester plan to go to college.

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