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Healey’s budget cuts affecting projects and nonprofits in western Massachusetts

In this file photo, the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 poses during a press conference.
Adam Frenier
In this file photo, the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 poses during a press conference.

Many agencies in western Massachusetts are feeling the effects of Gov. Maura Healey’s decision to cut $375 million dollars in this year’s state budget.

Some of the places affected by the cuts include the Forest Park Zoo, which is now receiving $12,500, the Basketball Hall of Fame, which is now receiving $175,000, and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, now receiving $37,500.

Donna Haghighat, the CEO of the Women’s Fund, said the organization was initially earmarked last spring to receive $75,000, but now will only receive half of that money.

“Now we have to scramble, really, to make sure that we can do everything that we've set out to do this year. And it's looking, you know, like a much steeper climb in order to be able to do that. And in the end, it will probably affect our grant-making for sure,” Haghighat said.

Haghighat said this funding was specifically marked for research, philanthropy and their Young Women's Initiative, which is a professional development program for young women of color and gender-diverse youth of color 16 to 24 years old. She said they expanded the Springfield-based program to parts of Franklin County.

“Our ability to do that is also going to be reduced or jeopardized unless we can figure out how to raise more money for that as well,” Haghighat said.

A spokesperson for the Healey administration said nearly all nonprofits affected by the cuts were reduced by 50%.

Healey's budget chief Matthew Gorzkowicz has defended the cuts as "thoughtfully crafted" as the administration tries to protect services in an increasingly tight fiscal year.

This report contains information from the State House News Service.

Disclosure: Some state funding for NEPM was also cut by 50% as part of Healey's decision.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.
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