United Way Unveils Major Shift in Giving Strategy as Local Non-Profits Awarded $56M in New Grant Funding

Multi-year, unrestricted grants aimed at advancing economic mobility

BOSTON – October 26, 2023

United Way of Massachusetts Bay President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Giannino today unveiled a list of 124 organizations that will partner with United Way in a first-of-its kind effort to eradicate the conditions that lead to poverty and economic injustice. As part of the partnership, each of the organizations will receive grant awards totaling more than $56M ($8M annually) through 2030. (continued below)

"This new way forward is a recognition that philanthropic efforts must evolve in order to meet the pressing issues of our region. We have spent the past two years developing a community impact strategy that doesn’t just address symptoms of poverty but can eliminate it in the communities that need it the most. Through this multi-million-dollar grant initiative, we believe that together with our partners, we will move toward a future where every individual in our region, across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, will be empowered to meet their financial goals and achieve financial wellbeing."


As part of its reimagined community impact strategy, United Way is investing in partners and solutions that are working to create positive, population-level change in communities across its footprint.  To measure its progress, United Way will track measures such as increasing satisfaction in financial well-being among people living in local communities, increasing the percentage of households with at least $2,000 in emergency savings,  decreasing the percentage of households that spend greater than 50% of their income on housing, decreasing the percentage of people ages 16-24 who are not enrolled in school or employed, and narrowing the wealth gap.  

For the first time in its history, United Way of Massachusetts Bay’s Request for Partnership application was open to any nonprofit eligible 501c3 in the region and was translated into seven languages to increase accessibility. Through this open application process, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay received a total of 382 applications and of those 220 moved onto community review. Ultimately, 124 recipients were selected to receive funding for direct services or advancing policy activities. Of the new partners, 35% are led by a Black or Latino leader, an increase from the United Way’s past portfolio of 24%. 

Additionally, United Way is partnering with nonprofits that involve community members in decision-making and ensure community perspectives and experiences are integrated into program design and implementation.  

"The selection of our grant recipients this year represents our evolution from providing support in exchange for programmatic outcomes to providing support in exchange for a shared commitment to advancing economic justice through systems change," said Karley Ausiello United Way of Massachusetts Bay Chief of Community Impact. "This is a significant milestone for our new way ​​​​forward."  

United Way selected community partners across 12 priority communities - Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Salem, and Taunton. Together, these communities are home to two-thirds of the individuals who live below the poverty threshold in United Way’s geographic footprint. Grant recipients will provide direct services and advocate for policy change in these four avenues to prosperity:  

  • Economic Inclusion and Wealth Building: Advance financial well-being and inclusion by providing access to services, resources, and tools that help individuals increase income, build credit and savings, and reduce debt.  
    • Early Education and Out-of-School Time (EEOST): Provide affordable, high-quality early education and Out-of-School Time programs that allow caregivers to work and learn and provide children and youth opportunities to learn, thrive, and explore their interests.  
      • Education and Career Pathways for Youth and Young Adults: Engage youth and young adults ages 16-24, who are disconnected from school and work, in education and career pathways.  
        • Safe and Stable Housing: Increase the availability and accessibility of safe and stable housing and associated services.  

          To view the full list of recipients, please visit our agency partners page.  


          "We at ABCD are honored to have been selected for this award. We are thrilled to partner with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, whose commitment to advancing economic justice through systems change aligns with our vision, our work, and our faith in a better future. We will direct this support to efforts focused on forging opportunity and fostering prosperity among those who have historically been marginalized and underserved," said ABCD President and CEO Sharon Scott-Chandler.  

          "The partnership and funding we have secured are undeniably game-changing for our organization. They bring an abundance of resources and capabilities that will empower us to further develop innovative solutions. We are committed to addressing the significant issues faced by families experiencing homelessness and working towards improving their financial stability. United Way's support is invaluable, as it enables us to reach more families and communities, making a meaningful impact on their economic mobility and financial stability. This partnership is a clear indication of our organization's growth and strong commitment to making a significant impact in the lives of unhoused families. The positive impact created by the collaboration between United Way and EDEN is something we are truly thrilled about. Together, we are dedicated to building resilient communities where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive financially," EDEN Founder and CEO Jehu Leconte, Ph.d

          "La Colaborativa is thrilled to be a new grantee partner with United Way. This partnership and funding will allow us to build investment in our community that will create a brighter economic future for themselves and their families. Through our holistic approach, we can keep families stable as they build skills and find their own voice as we collectively demand the dignity and respect that all people deserve. Working with the United Way we can and will close the wage gap that has hindered our hard-working immigrant community from achieving financial stability through workforce development programs provided in a culturally sensitive environment. Create more opportunities for our youth to build leadership skills and use their voice to create the future they want. And recognize and celebrate how our rich cultures have enhanced our beloved city and state." La Colaborativa Executive Director Gladys Vega

          "United Way is helping reshape the way philanthropic efforts in Greater Boston can meet the needs of communities and organizations like ours. Access to high-quality early education and care is an essential component to ensure families are able to thrive, and yet for far too many, it is out of reach. This support will help change that. We are proud to partner with United Way to make progress in realizing economic justice for historically marginalized communities," said Nurtury Early Education and Care President and CEO Laura Perille.  

          "Strategies for Children is grateful for the leadership and support of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay. As a policy and advocacy organization, we know that it takes many partners working together to make systemic change for children, families, and communities. The goal of our Early Childhood Agenda is to provide babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families with all the resources they need to grow and thrive - from childcare and early learning to healthcare, housing, food and everything in between. As we do this work, we need to elevate the voices of those closest to the work because they are best positioned to make recommendations that will lead to meaningful and sustained change. We are thrilled to work in this partnership and work toward a future where every individual is empowered to meet their financial goals and achieve financial wellbeing," said Strategies for Children Executive Director Amy O’Leary.  

          "UTEC is excited to continue our partnership with the United Way of Mass Bay. We very much appreciate your support of our policy work that centers young adults to create systemic change that helps close the racial and wealth gaps that too often exist.. Support from the United Way is critical to this work which empowers young adults to make changes in their communities as well as their own lives. We are confident that this partnership will help create a viable financial path from incarceration to stable employment. " said Gregg Croteau, CEO, UTEC


          About United Way of Massachusetts Bay 

          United Way of Massachusetts Bay exists to build more equitable communities, together. With over 85 years of local impact in eastern Massachusetts, we work with and for our communities to build economic prosperity and enable everyone–across races and ethnicities–to share in the knowledge, wealth and resources available. We believe that the key to unlocking opportunity is uniting people, and we bring together individuals, community leaders, corporate partners, legislators and organizations to build a powerful engine of change. Visit for more information. 

          Media Contact:  

          Brigid Boyd, Chief of Public Affairs, United Way of Massachusetts Bay , , 339.236.1161