$6.9M Expands Child Care in Greater Lynn

Tax-Exempt Bond from MassDevelopment & Eastern Bank Helps Nonprofit LEO Inc. Renovate & Convert Building into Preschool to Serve Greater Lynn Region

February 14, 2024

Kelsey Schiller, 857-325-3477 

Lisa McFadden, LEO Inc. 

Project renderings courtesy of the organization 

LYNN, Mass. – MassDevelopment has issued a $6.9 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of LEO Inc., a nonprofit community action agency, which will use proceeds to renovate its existing headquarters at 156 Broad St. and 2-4 Farrar St. in Lynn to expand access to early education and care for low-income children in the Greater Lynn region. The organization’s three-story building will be converted into a preschool housing 15 classrooms and will be designed to serve 270 students, an increase of 38 students over current enrollment. The preschool will include a commercial kitchen and nutrition center, gross motor room, and multipurpose room for parent education and community meetings. Renovations will also expand two playgrounds and make the entire building ADA accessible. Demolition began in June 2023 and the preschool is expected to open in January 2025. Eastern Bank purchased the bond, which helped LEO Inc. achieve a lower cost of capital.

“Expanding affordable early education and child care helps kids and families thrive, creates jobs, and benefits local employers,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “We’re thrilled that LEO Inc. will be able to renovate its building in Lynn to create a dynamic environment of learning and care for students.”

“Eastern Bank is pleased to work with MassDevelopment to help LEO revitalize this property with a new early education center,” said Eastern Bank Senior Vice President of Community Development Lending Lisa Sheehan. “The center will provide important educational services and assistance for young children and their families in Greater Lynn. We are proud to be part of this collaborative effort to create more options for reliable early childhood care and education.”

"LEO Inc. is an integral part of our community and the City is thankful for all the work they do for our young people and families," said Mayor Jared C. Nicholson. "Expanding access to preschool is a top priority for our administration. We're excited that they have received this funding, which is a direct investment in our learning spaces and preschool education that will positively transform the lives of our youth."

LEO Inc. is one of the largest providers of early education and child care in southern Essex County, serving residents of Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus, Swampscott, and Wakefield. LEO helps young children develop the social, emotional, and academic skills they need, and assists the adults in their lives to be effective caregivers and productive members of the workforce by providing classes on parenting, English literacy, financial competency, and workforce readiness. Additionally, LEO’s anti-poverty programs include home energy assistance, supplemental food distribution, and rent and utility assistance. The organization’s community services office works with more than 3,100 households annually to assess and avoid common roadblocks to success.

“We are grateful for MassDevelopment’s support to help bring additional early childhood education capacity to Lynn. LEO’s renovated building will bring our teachers and early education administrators under one roof, amplifying the effectiveness of LEO services for children and their families,” said Birgitta S. Damon, CEO of LEO Inc. “We will complete our new center thanks to strong public-private partnerships, and MassDevelopment’s long commitment to securing projects in Gateway cities is key to our success.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2023, MassDevelopment financed or managed 545 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,522 jobs and build or preserve 1,583 housing units.