Daily News

Girls Inc. Awarded $10 Million as Part of Equality Can’t Wait Challenge

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc., the national organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold, has received $10 million in funding as one of four awardees selected by the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge to benefit its Project Accelerate program. Project Accelerate aims to expand the power and influence of women in the U.S. by 2030.

Building on Girls Inc.’s evidence-based programming, Project Accelerate addresses inequality in the workplace, particularly the absence of women of color in positions of influence and leadership. The program will accelerate young women’s trajectories through college and career entry, leveraging partnerships with corporations and social-impact organizations to ensure both their preparation and their access to positions of influence. Project Accelerate will also reduce the gender gap by working with young women starting as early as their junior year in high school to ensure they have the resources and support to thrive as leaders. Through a network of 78 affiliates, including here in the Pioneer Valley, Project Accelerate aims to lift 5,400 diverse women into corporate positions of power and influence, shifting the equity landscape for generations.

“The $10 million in funding secured by Girls Inc. National for Project Accelerate from the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge will be instrumental in addressing and dismantling gender inequalities in the workplace,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley. “We are so thrilled for our national organization and the affiliates all over the country who will be piloting the program over the course of the next year, and we look forward to rolling out Project Accelerate at Girls Inc. of the Valley in the future.”

Project Accelerate will prepare thousands of young women leaders not merely to succeed in workplace environments, but also to affect cultural change from within. Expected outcomes include an increased number of young women graduating on time, an increased network of influence for girls from historically marginalized groups, and job placement in high-paying positions of leadership. In doing so, women will acquire the means and the opportunity to elevate their status, as well as their families, neighborhoods, communities, and organizations.

“A generation of bold young women stands ready to lead change in the world. Yet entrenched, inequitable systems prevent them from having the opportunities and resources they need to succeed,” said Girls Inc. President and CEO Stephanie J. Hull. “Girls Inc. is proven to make a positive difference in the lives of girls. Support from the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge for Project Accelerate extends the proven Girls Inc. experience through college and into early careers. The investment also supports change in the companies that employ these young leaders. In its insistence on justice and equity for women, Project Accelerate advances equality for all.”

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, which launched in 2020, is the first competition centered on gender equality in the U.S. with an award of this magnitude and represents an opportunity to invest in and empower women leaders who bring a wide range of lived experiences to their work to advance women’s power and influence in the U.S.