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The Center Square, Brent Addleman

Genealogical society to benefit from new investment

July 11, 2023

(The Center Square) – A new tax-exempt bond in Massachusetts will transform a genealogical center.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society is the recipient of an $18 million bond to expand its Newbury Street location in Boston, MassDevelopment said. The funds will be used to add a visitor’s center and other improvements to the facility.

Secretary of Economic Development Yvonna Hao, chairwoman of MassDevelopment, said cultural institutions' contributions to the economy are key to bringing visitors to downtown neighborhoods and commercial centers.

“We’re pleased that nonprofits across Massachusetts like New England Genealogical Society can leverage MassDevelopment’s financing solutions to upgrade their facilities, buy equipment, and pursue other capital projects that help them grow and thrive,” Hao said in a statement.

A vacant building located at 97 Newbury St., Boston, according to a release, will be reconstructed and expanded to be connected to the genealogical society’s current facility at 99-101 Newbury St. The expansion will feature a Discovery Center with computer kiosks, visitor recording booths, multimedia presentations, and visiting exhibitions and museum pieces.

“Everyone has a story worth telling and worth hearing; when people are inspired and supported to explore and share their family history, they gain a better understanding of themselves, of others, and of the shared human experience,” Ryan Woods, who serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the genealogy society, said in a statement. “Through the financing solutions afforded through MassDevelopment and Brookline Bank, we are able to realize the creation of a national center for family history, heritage, and culture that will provide exceptional experiences for people of all ages and all backgrounds to explore their identities and histories.”

According to a release, the organization will also move its retail shop and make it larger, improve the original building to current code compliance, create more space for administrative offices, and purchase technology, furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Brookline Bank purchased the bond.

“The New England Historic Genealogical Society is a destination for people of all ages to explore the history of their families and communities,” MassDevelopment president and chief executive officer Dan Rivera said in a statement.

The organization, founded in 1845, according to a release, is privately funded with a mission to assist people to explore and discover their family history.