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United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

Who We Are

We unite people to create change that lasts: We call it harnessing the power of people working together.  And that means everyone – individuals, nonprofits, companies, and government agencies.

We work everyday to achieve our vision and mission by focusing on the three core building blocks of a strong, vibrant community:

  • Ensuring that all families have the resources and opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty

  • Preparing children to enter school ready to learn and succeed

  • Inspiring and supporting youth to stay in school and realize positive options for the future

What We Do

Preparing Children to Learn

  • Brain Building in Progress, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, Brain Building raises awareness of the development of young children and features a variety of resources for parents, educators, and everyone to be brain builders in our region.

  • Thrive in 5, an award-winning partnership between the City of Boston and United Way, working to ensure all of Boston’s children enter kindergarten ready for success and life.

  • The Seacoast Early Learning Alliance (SELA), brings together early learning agencies to pool their might to save on purchases and services, exchange best practices and strengthen their programming. Today, SELA is in three states and is revolutionizing the way the child care industry does business.

Supporting Youth in School

  • Youth Venture gives young social entrepreneurs the opportunity to envision, create, launch and lead projects that help their communities. Youth teams receive business guidance and mentoring from volunteers, attend workshops throughout the year and share their accomplishments with each other at a year-end celebration. Learn more.

  • Summer Learning Collaborative, a statewide collaboration aimed at increasing reading proficiency by targeting summer learning loss. In 2014, 85% of the 2,700 participating children avoided summer learning loss and 69% increased or maintained their reading skills. Learn more.

  • AmeriCorps Partnership, powered by United Way, the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Corporation for National Community Service,  focuses on supporting the immigrant population in Lynn, MA and reducing the drop-out rate among immigrant students.  Learn more.

  • BoSTEM, a partnership between Boston Public Schools, Citizens Schools, Boston After School & Beyond and United Way, aims to ensure 100% of Boston’s middle school students have the opportunity to participate in expanded STEM learning experiences by 2020.  Today, these hands-on STEM learning opportunities are only available to 6% of Boston students through out-of-school time programming.  Learn more.

  • The Marian L. Heard Scholarship provides first-generation college students with up to $10,000 over the four years they attend college. In addition, scholarship recipients get their own “e-coach,” a United Way volunteer who provides advice and support throughout their post-secondary journey. Learn more.

Lifting Families from Poverty

  • Financial Stability Centers, a trailblazing network of “all-under-one-roof” centers that help low-income families get back on their feet and stay there. Located in Lynn, Lawrence, Chelsea, Boston and Quincy, the centers offer financial education and budget coaching, job skills training and adult education. In 2014, 77% of participants achieved a financial milestone such as improving their credit score (some by as much as 31 points), net worth and/or net income. Learn more.

  • Free Tax Preparation, provided by volunteer tax preparers who sit with individuals and families to navigate tax returns, offer financial tips and seek out all available tax credits. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in particular has delivered the most relief to lower-income taxpaying workers. In 2014, over $8.8 million in refunds and credits were returned to eligible workers. Learn more.

  • Thanksgiving Project, the annual United Way and volunteer-powered event, which gives full meals for Thanksgiving to those that need it the most. Learn more.

  • The Family Fund provides much-needed emergency assistance during the winter, when struggling families need it the most. Gifts to this fund go towards fuel, utility and basic needs support, which are often the difference between a family keeping their heads above water and grappling with the real threat of homelessness.