Street Squash, a New Markets Tax Credit Success Story
StreetSquash, located in Harlem, is an innovative and successful urban youth enrichment program that was founded in 1999. StreetSquash combines academic activities, college preparation, community service, mentoring, and squash for boys and girls ages 9-18 to help them graduate from high school and move on to active and productive lives.
Thanks to $6.5 million in NMTC financing provided by HEDC New Markets, Inc., StreetSquash expanded into a 19,000 square foot facility in Harlem, NY in November 2008. The new facility has allowed StreetSquash to serve more than 750 Harlem public school children each year, providing 4 classrooms and a library, as well as 8 squash courts, a workout area, locker rooms, and administrative offices. StreetSquash was able to expand its after-school program to serve more 160 children annually; provide College Prep Program to 100 students annually; expand the Summer Discovery and Youth Employment Program to serve over 300 students annually; create an Alumni Outreach Program for nearly 100 high school graduates; and launch the Physical Education for Public Schools Program that serves over 750 students annually through daytime squash instruction gym programs.
Now that it has the physical capacity to serve more students, the organization added six full-time positions and fifteen part-time positions − two of which are filled by parents who live in the neighborhood. StreetSquash also doubled its volunteer base to 100 so that it can serve more students. Outside of organizational growth, the new building has increased StreetSquash’s efficiency, bolstered the organization’s external credibility, encouraged cohesion and community building, and improved students’ experiences of their physical surroundings. By investing in a center that expands operations and improves participants’ experiences, StreetSquash serves as a true community asset.