Stepping in and Stepping up

Stepping in and Stepping Up

If there can be a silver lining in the COVID pandemic, it would have to be the sheer number of individuals, companies, foundations, local governments and non-profit organizations that stepped in and stepped up in creative, innovative and meaningful ways.

Corporations and Foundations

This year saw a groundswell of support from the business community.  Companies and foundations we’d worked with for decades and those where we had no connections at all reached out to offer their resources.  In addition to unprecedented financial support, many wanted to know how they could engage their employees at a time where so many felt powerless to help.  We want to thank so many who partnered with us in innovative, creative and powerful ways.  Below are just a few of the many organizations that stepped up this year.  For a full list, see our COVID Corporate and Foundation Support page.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

After running their annual workplace campaign, Blue Cross Blue Shield gave an additional $350k through employee contributions and corporate matching.

The Klarman Family Foundation

The Klarman Family Foundation has been making charitable grants to United Way since 2008. Prior to Covid, they had been giving $200,000 annually split evenly between the Family Fund and general operating support. In April, 2020 the foundation decided to accelerate their grantmaking and made an additional $250K donation for the Covid relief fund. The Foundation’s cumulative grants for FY2020 was $475,000.

harvard pilgrim employee giving campaign

Harvard Pilgrim

Many of our corporate partners reimagined their Giving Campaigns to reflect the challenges of fundraising in a quarantined world. Innovative Employee Campaign Managers (ECMs) including Aaron Johnson, and Henocson (Henny) Mulatre from Harvard Pilgrim shared their wisdom and invited us to celebrate their successes. Find out how several forward-thinking ECMs kept the momentum going, against all odds.

The Ruby and LaVon Linn Foundation

Estimating the financial impact to Attleboro non-profits could be as high as $2.5 million on top of what would be needed to help families in financial crisis, community leaders quickly mobilized to create the Greater Attleboro Stronger Together Fund. Seeded by the Ruby and Lavon Linn Foundation and the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, the fund quickly distributed $497,000 to 25 local nonprofits to help provide meals, emergency financial assistance, child care for essential workers, counseling services, unemployment assistance and more.


Unitil, a long-time corporate partner with offices in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine, stepped up in a big way in 2020. In addition to their loyal corporate gift, Unitil gave an additional gift to our COVID Family Support Fund, while continuing to support signature events like K-Ready Kids and our Regional Advisory Board.

Individual Donors

In 2020, we saw unprecedented generosity from both loyal United Way donors and donors who had never given to United Way but were inspired to do so by the profound need in our community. In addition, people and organizations came forward to offer their talents, interests and connections to not only raise much-needed funds, but to inspire others to join in. A few of their stories are highlighted below.

7516 brand new donors chose to show their support for their communities through one of our COVID relief funds.

72 donors increased their support to the Tocqueville level.

The Boston Elite Chess Academy organized a charity chess tournament in the early days of the pandemic and through individual $15 donations raised nearly $4,000 from its members.

Newton High Schooler Ian Luchars started Shirts For Covid-19 to raise funds for the Newton COVID-19 Care Fund.

Several donors donated their stimulus checks, and at least one individual donated an unexpected financial inheritance.

Musician Alastair Moock approached United Way with an unbelievable offer. Rallying the music community together, Alastair assembled a Quarantunes playlist of more than 60 songs, available for free on YouTube, to raise money and hope for those affected by the pandemic.

These are just a few of the moments of light we saw in FY 2020. To read more, check out our blog.