Daily News

Valley Community Development to Celebrate 30 Years on April 12

NORTHAMPTON — In honor of its 30-year anniversary, Valley Community Development will hold a celebration on April 12 at Hadley Farms Meeting House, and Executive Director Joanne Campbell announced that the organization’s $400,000 anniversary fundraising goal has been met.

“Many donors this anniversary year are institutions, small businesses, and individuals who have been long-time contributors to Valley Community Development,” Campbell said. “They stepped up to a higher level this year, and we are pleased and honored to have their support, which will strengthen the agency financially and programmatically.” She noted that $32,000 was also raised from first-time donors to the nonprofit.

Campbell said the celebration is one new way to educate community members about the nonprofit’s mission to empower people with low and moderate incomes to manage and improve the quality of their lives through the development of affordable housing, economic opportunity, and small-business development.

The event is open to the public and will kick off with a cocktail reception from 6 to 7 p.m. Dinner and the keynote speaker, Charles Blow, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, will follow from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $125 and are available online by visiting valleycdc.com.

Blow writes about politics, public opinion, and social justice. He is a CNN commentator and was a Presidential Visiting Professor at Yale University last year. He is also the author of the best-selling memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which tells his story of growing up in the Deep South with a fiercely driven mother and four brothers, and his escape after a trauma. At the celebratory event, Blow will speak on the general theme of social justice.

“It will be very timely and appropriate for the work we’re doing right now,” said Campbell. “Valley Community Development is involved in navigating the crisis in housing and serving people with very low incomes. We collaborate with regional and local organizations to work on these local issues.”

She noted that financial giving this year is almost double that of a typical year, with many donors taking advantage of the Massachusetts Community Investment Tax Credit program, which allows state and federal tax incentives for giving. Increased support comes as the organization is expanding its reach.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to expand and sustain our small business program, which is now staffed by a part-time coordinator. The money we’re raising is also helping small businesses, and first-time and existing homeowners,” she added, noting that donations are still encouraged. “It’s a way to continue the programming we have and look for new ways to give to the population we serve as well as reach out to underserved populations, immigrant communities, and households of color. We’re always looking for new ways to reach these groups.”

Since 1988, Valley Community Development has created 224 units of affordable housing in Northampton, Easthampton, and Amherst. It has counseled more than 8,000 homebuyers and homeowners and educated more than 1,500 businesspeople.

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