General News

VBGCQ Announces $3M Award from Empire State Development

ASTORIA, NY – The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ) on April 1 announced it was awarded a $3 million grant from Empire State Development to support the club’s redevelopment project.

“We are humbled to have been selected amongst a pool of worthy candidates to receive this grant, which will provide funding toward our redevelopment project that will more than triple the size of our existing building and includes not-for-profit incubator spaces intended to provide young entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and locals with private space to convene, exchange information and best practices, as well as create a supportive business community,” said Costa Constantinides, CEO of VBGCQ. “The new Clubhouse here in Astoria will continue to provide services to local families who need us the most.”

Empire State Development President CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Empire State Development proudly supports the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, recognizing its pivotal role in fostering the next generation of leaders. This funding is not just an infrastructure investment, but a commitment to the community’s future, ensuring every child can reach their full potential.”

New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, City University of New York Chancellor, said: “This funding will enhance the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens’ capacity to serve as a beacon of hope and opportunity. By empowering our youth with the resources and support they need to thrive, we are investing not only in their individual futures but also in the collective future of a stronger, more vibrant, and prosperous New York City.”

Empire State Development is supporting the VBGCQ’s project with a $3 million capital grant, recommended by the New York City Regional Economic Development Council, recognizing the vital role that organizations like VBGCQ has in promoting economic growth, creating jobs, and fostering a brighter future for young people by providing the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed. The new Club space will be approximately 125,000 square feet with a state-of the art gymnasium, 175-seat theatre, regulation swimming pool, planetarium and classroom space for afterschool programming including an industrial arts room, Keystone Leadership Center, teaching kitchen, tech and media center and a greenhouse science lab.

VBGCQ is the largest youth development organization in Western Queens, serving more than 4,000 young people every year. An anchor in the Astoria/Long Island City community since 1955, VBGCQ offers children a safe haven to learn, play, and grow into tomorrow’s leaders. The Club’s 30,000 square foot facility is open to the community seven days a week and includes an indoor swimming pool, makerspace lab, computer room, teaching kitchen, gym, auditorium, art studio, dance studio, film studio, and outdoor playground. While the Club has evolved over time to meet the changing needs of our community, its founding mission remains the same: to make a difference in the lives of young people and enable all children — especially those who need us most — to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible New Yorkers.

More information is available online: https://bgcqueens.org/.


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