HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Families in western Massachusetts who are facing increasing costs and hardships due to inflation can now get extra help from WillPower Foundation, a local nonprofit that provides financial assistance to families and individuals.  

In recognition of the inflation of the last two years, WillPower’s Board of Directors recently increased the maximum WillPower Grant Award amount from $500 to $750. A Holyoke couple founded the WillPower Foundation in 2008 after their son Will was born with physical disabilities. They realized early in their parenting journey that even with good insurance, families and individuals with disabilities and special healthcare needs face unique financial hardships, including higher healthcare costs, higher routine living expenses, and loss of employment income as a result of caregiving.  

“Having a child or a loved one with special needs changes a family’s life profoundly and forever,” said Sarah Aasheim, co-chair of WillPower’s Board of Directors. “While many of those changes are joyful and positive, the financial impacts of supporting someone with disabilities can be significant. Our goal at WillPower is to help make life a little easier for these families by helping them access products and services which help improve their loved one’s quality of life.”

To bridge the gap between increased expenses and decreased income, they created WillPower. “Given the increased cost of living we’ve all experienced since the pandemic began, our Board felt it was imperative to increase our grant amount to help families meet the higher costs of the services and products that benefit their loved ones,” said Aasheim.

Some of the services and products that are to be offered are therapeutic horseback riding, specialized therapies, sensory and safety equipment, respite care, and educational advocacy.

“What these products and services have in common is that they’re very beneficial to individuals with disabilities but rarely covered by insurance or other financial resources. Therefore, families have to pay for them out of pocket, and for many, that puts these things out of reach. WillPower grants help to eliminate this barrier,” Aasheim adds.

WillPower has provided more than 15 years of giving back to families residing in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties with over $300,000 worth of grants.