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Updated: August 16, 2021 / 40 Under Forty, Class of 2021

40 Under Forty 2021: Allison James

Photo | Erika Sidor Allison James
Photo | Erika Sidor 40 Under Forty, Class of 2021 members (from left) Allison James, Paul Lincoln, Esther Boama-Nyarko and Emily M. Sricharoenchaikit, CFP, CRPS, AIF at Ralph's Rock Diner in Worcester (Special thanks to Vincent Hemmeter and Bill Shaner)
Allison James, 39
  • Title Chief operating officer
  • Company Girls Inc. of Worcester
  • Residence Worcester
  • Birthplace Andover
  • College Assumption University
Click here to read about the other 40 Under Forty, Class of 2021
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As COO and COVID-19 manager of the $2.1-million nonprofit, Allison James has been an advocate for Worcester’s youth through one of the toughest years young people have seen.

James did the impossible by developing procedures to keep Girls Inc. fully operational throughout the entirety of the pandemic. She created new programming for Camp Kinneywood, a summer camp for girls, to ensure young girls could avoid achievement gaps created by the pandemic and summer vacation. A member of the Worcester Together Youth working group, James has contributed immensely to remote learning initiatives. Under her leadership, Girls Inc. became the licensed-exempt program to provide a safe place for remote learning. Thanks to her collaboration with the Learning Hub Consortium, more than $2 million has gone toward remote learning hubs, serving 90 classrooms. James led the completion of a five-year, $5-million capital campaign and renovation of Girls Inc, which finished on time and on budget during the pandemic. She is on track in driving the strategic direction’s goal of doubling the number of girls served in three years. Now, it serves 1,000 girls annually, 66% from low-to-moderate income households and 71% girls of color.

What decade would you like to time travel to? 2050. I want to travel briefly to the time I will retire. I want to see the success of the work our local nonprofits are doing to ignite potential in our youth. In particular, I want to see how Girls Inc. has impacted change in the workforce and see all of the strong, smart, and bold girls in positions of power.

Favorite Central Mass. restaurant? Volturno, in Worcester

When a statue eventually gets built of you, what will the plaque say? She was always there for the kids that needed her the most.

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