SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – What happens when money gets seized or forfeited during a drug bust or criminal cases? Well, in Hampden County, it goes to good use.
District Attorney Anthony Gulluni awarded more than $50,000 to eight local non-profits Thursday. The funds are going to programs that work to create safer communities for kids. New North Citizens Council, Black Men of Greater Springfield and the Performance Project are among the recipients.
Benjamin Quick of the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club told 22News they will use the money to reach inner city kids. “Rowing is historically an elite sport, but it doesn’t have to be. with some of the funds the DA’s provided, we will be able to provide the equipment that kids who don’t have access to it would need. We will provide uniforms because a rower in a uniform – you can’t tell the kids from the North End to the kid from Longmeadow. That’s an important part of our program.”
Forfeited drug money that’s not donated to local agencies, helps expand law enforcement anti-drug programs.
District Attorney’s Forfeiture Community Support Grant Program recipients are:
- Serving Our Students: $9,000 To assist in SOS’s support of hundreds of Springfield Public Schools’ children, the grant will provide aid in their outreach and recognition efforts through scholarships to the Boys and Girls Club summer camp, gift certificates for school uniforms, and plaques honoring individuals academic achievements.
- New North Citizen’s Council: $8,000 For the Deborah Hunt Prevention Education Drop-in Center to assist individuals in accessing vital services such as: mental health, substance use treatment, recovery support, and covid-19 screenings. The funds will help individuals with transportation to treatment programs, access to telehealth screenings with care providers, as well as socks, gloves, hats, and covid-19 prevention PPE.
- Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club: $8,500 To knock down barriers to inclusion for underserved youth. Funds will be used for appropriate rowing gear, registration fees, and athletic equipment for outreach to schools.
- Performance Project: $7,000 In order to expand their reach in the community, the grant will fund the construction and furnishing of a new dance and theater floor to be used by youth in the peer support programing.
- M.O.R.E.: $3,000 In support of M.O.R.E.’s youth center. Funding will help build out a library and furnish the space with books, tables, and chairs. As well as enhancing the music program through purchasing instruments and sound equipment.
- Holyoke Boys & Girls Club: $8,000 Currently the facility is operating with one working twenty year old scoreboard in their gym. The funds will provide two scoreboards in the centrally located facility in Holyoke that services hundreds of kids with after school programing.
- Black Men of Greater Springfield: $5,000 The grant will assist in underwriting the cost of the Saturday school and youth mentorship programing that runs throughout the school year. The program includes providing youth with mentors, tutors, guest speakers, and activities instructors.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County: $3,000 The long-term mentoring program that matches youth in one-to-one mentoring relationships requires a great deal of outreach and recruitment of volunteers. The grant will assist in these efforts through purchasing materials and boosting the agencies profile at community events.