United Way Announces Winners of Competitive Grant Awards and Launches New Game-Changing Technology Partnership


Welcomes 20 new diverse non-profit organizations and distributes over $30.8M in funding across the region to effect lasting change

The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today announced it will distribute $30.8 million in support of strategies, organizations, partnerships, and programs aimed at solving entrenched poverty and income inequality across the region. As a trusted source for identifying effective programs and strategies, United Way will award strategic grants to 146 non-profit partners, distribute dollars designated by donors to organizations in the region, as well as fund innovative initiatives and public policy work.

Also announced today was a key partnership aimed at raising even more dollars to solve community problems. United Way has teamed up with the global technology company Salesforce to launch a new social platform called Philanthropy Cloud that will transform the way people engage with and support the causes they care about most. This new platform will allow companies to easily aggregate data to understand the collective impact of their employees, transforming the way companies align their philanthropic objectives with those of their workforce.

“As a leader in generating resources to fund community-based work and connecting people to effective organizations and critical issues, it is our responsibility to find new ways to collaborate, innovate and drive a conversation that helps more people find financial opportunity and educational success for themselves and their families,” said Mike Durkin, President and CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “That is why we are eager to launch our new Philanthropy Cloud technology that will change the way donors tap into our community expertise and on the ground resources to connect to the work that they are passionate about in their own communities.”

United Way Impact in the Community

United Way funding of non-profit partners, partnerships and initiatives next year is expected to help 250,000 people and specifically will:

  • Provide 18,300 young children and their families with high-quality early education, care and support to optimize their healthy development and school readiness;
  • Ensure that 50,740 youth are given the opportunity to develop critical skills and experiences needed to succeed in the workforce and in life;
  • Provide 159,000 individuals and families with safe, affordable housing and emergency assistance to pay for rent, food, and utilities and help prevent evictions; and
  • Place 14,500 individuals in jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and provide resources to improve their credit, increase savings and reduce debt.

“Putting people first is our main priority at United Way,” said Krissy Davis, a Board Member of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “Through very strategic partnerships with our community-based organizations, we can do more to effect real change that empowers more people to find opportunity, provides more solid foundations for our young people to thrive, and gives the tools for upward mobility to those that need the help the most.”


Increasing Impact across All Communities

United Way’s competitive grant program focuses giving in eight key priority areas, which were identified more than a year ago with the help of over 1,000 people United Way surveyed in the community and experts in the field, including agency partners and donor focus groups. More than 450 volunteer grant reviewers were recruited to read and help score the 198 applications submitted.

United Way selected 146 non-profit partners for funding, which represents 20 new organizations and advances 12 to Lead Partners. The process strategically focused on organizations that would have an impact across a broad spectrum of the community, granting awards through a lens of equity and deliberate consideration of agency size, geography, population served, quality of programming and effectiveness of solutions.

United Way’s eight areas of focus are: 1) ensuring high-quality early education and care; 2) cultivating two-generational approaches to school readiness; 3) enhancing social-emotional learning in school and outside of school; 4) ensuring youth who are disconnected from school or employment find a path to opportunity; 5) supporting job skills training and placement; 6) providing individualized coaching to increase financial well-being; 7) expanding place-based Financial Opportunity Centers; and 8) ending family homelessness.

Driving Innovation in Giving

The way in which individuals give has changed dramatically over the last decade, requiring companies and organizations to think differently about how to more successfully engage with donors. United Way announced today that they have teamed up with Salesforce.org, a nonprofit social enterprise to create Philanthropy Cloud which aims to redefine the future of corporate philanthropy. This technology will allow people to not only connect to their own interests but will utilize Salesforce Einstein AI technology to intelligently sift through millions of opportunities to create personalized giving recommendations to organizations and causes aligned to their interests that they may not even know about. Companies can easily aggregate Philanthropy Cloud data to understand and communicate the collective impact of their employees. United Way will launch this technology locally this summer.

Advocating for Game-Changing Public Policy

While United Way continues to focus its mission on funding organizations that do the work of creating lasting change in our communities, there is also an added value to offering the resources to fund meaningful advocacy to impact the real change necessary in public policy. This work has been successful in recent weeks as the Commonwealth has moved forward the Community Investment Tax Credit Reauthorization, currently in the Housing Bond Bill that has been passed by the House and Senate and is awaiting approval by the Governor.   This legislation will secure sustainable revenue for our Community Development Corporations (CDCs) who are at the forefront of increasing housing across the spectrum of need. This past fiscal year the United Way raised $2.1M to support the work of CDC partners through these efforts.

United Way has already started looking toward 2020 as they implement the use of new technology, partnerships, and strategies aimed at increasing the awareness and support for programs and services that provide impactful opportunities across our communities.

About United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley:

The United Way believes in harnessing the power of communities working together to deliver lasting change. They invest in organizations and direct programs that achieve high-quality outcomes in financial opportunity and educational success, aligned with best practices and research to provide them with extensive support for continued success. The United Way values partners that consistently demonstrate a commitment to collaboration and directs their funding to support the needs of vulnerable populations. They provide valuable unrestricted funds to non-profit partners, seed innovative, new approaches to solving entrenched community challenges and seek opportunities to scale programs, services and policy changes that work.