MassDevelopment Awards Local Transformative Development Initiative Grants

MassDevelopment has awarded $1,625,000 in grants to 13 organizations for small-business support programs in gateway cities that will fund projects such as storefront improvements, marketing campaigns, technical assistance, and more.

The grants were awarded through MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) local program, which funds locally developed and managed small-business support programs tailored to the specific needs of individual communities.

“Our small businesses are crucial investors in our economy and workforce, contributing to the development of an inclusive economy in Massachusetts,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s board of directors. “With grants from the Transformative Development Initiative program, we empower small business owners and entrepreneurs to continue to grow and bolster our Gateway City downtowns.”

Three of the awarded projects are in Western Mass., including:

• Holyoke Chamber of Commerce ($125,000). This grant will help enhance the aesthetic appeal of the district by supporting high-impact, low-cost improvements, including the activation of vacant surface lots and the maintenance of trash containers and pickup.

• Downtown Pittsfield Cultural Assoc. Inc. ($125,000). This grant, supplemented with $50,000 by the city of Pittsfield, will fund flexible financial support to 12 established North Street businesses that simultaneously undergo business counseling focused on operations, e-commerce, marketing, or financial recording. Additionally, this grant will be used to market the district and strengthen collaboration between businesses and theaters by helping drive pedestrian traffic to participating venues before and after shows.

• Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Inc. ($125,000). This grant will support the renovation of a vacant space in the heart of Springfield’s Mason Square into a community café, creating an essential ‘third space’ for community-driven collaboration. The space layout will facilitate community participation in local projects and include programming, events, and more.

“These grants will help small businesses improve storefronts, revitalize vacant spaces, and welcome customers for dining, shopping, and more in our gateway cities,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera said of the 13 awards. “We look forward to seeing how this funding strengthens downtown neighborhoods and commercial corridors across Massachusetts.”