2020 Annual Report – Penni Letter

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley 2019-2020 Annual Report

Dear friends:  

Within days of the onset of the Covid-19 crisis in Massachusetts, our lives – and for many neighbors, our livelihoods – came to a grinding halt as we stayed in our homes to save lives and flatten the curve.  During those same days, the team at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley rolled up their sleeves, reached out into communities, and established a COVID-19 Family Support Fund to help provide emergency financial assistance to people in need.

Three months later, our United Way had raised and distributed more than $8M to over 160 community-based organizations.  Those funds helped provide critical assistance to more than 300,000 people for essential needs like food, housing and utilities.  We also launched more than a dozen targeted funds for cities like Chelsea, Haverhill, Lynn and Somerville that were particularly devasted by the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

With our far-reaching network of hundreds of corporate partners and community-based organizations, we served our communities by doing what we do best – bringing together people and partners to solve problems and address critical needs. 

We are the Uniters Our Board of Directors is proud that United Way was able to play such a significant a role in helping individuals, families and communities in our region to get through this crisis and on a path toward rebuilding.

We’re grateful for the outstanding leadership of Michael K. Durkin as we responded to the public health and economic impact of Covid-19.  Mike retired this year after a 43-year career of service to the community through United Way, with the last 12 years leading our United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  We’re looking forward to the year ahead with our new Ansin President and CEO Bob Giannino, who comes to United Way after leading uAspire, a college access organization.

The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated and widened existing cracks in our human services safety net and education system like no other point in time in our history. Now, more than ever, United Way needs your help to ensure our communities emerge stronger, equitable and more prepared for the future.

Penni McLean Conner
Chair of the Board
United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley 


Penni McLean-Conner
Board Chair