We want to spend the last few weeks of 2019 celebrating you – the people and partners who stepped up to help us think differently, try new approaches and never give up on championing better lives for people in need. In a series of blog posts this month, we’ll be highlighting the impact that partnership is making in our community. In this post, we’re highlighting partnerships launched in 2019 that exemplify thinking big, together.
With more than 38,000 nonprofits in our region, there is no shortage of organizations working to solve the entrenched issues facing our communities. At United Way, we believe that real lasting change requires a broad vision, innovative partnerships, and a deeply held, patient commitment to uniting people around the well-being of our region’s most vulnerable families.
When the goal is to end homelessness, move families out of poverty and prepare young children and youth for educational success, it takes more than one organization’s vision and resources to make tangible inroads in the fight for equity and opportunity. Together, we can do much more than any of us can alone. That’s why we value the partnerships we have formed in the community this year – by bringing together nonprofits, government, and businesses, we will create change that lasts.
Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition
One in five workers in Massachusetts is foreign-born. That’s more than 728,000 people, with a wide diversity of skill levels. A 2018 analysis ranked Massachusetts fourth in the nation for the economic impact of immigrants. Recognizing the positive impact that immigrants have on our economy as workers, consumers, entrepreneurs, investors and citizens, we partnered with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) to bring together business leaders to advance state and federal policies.
“From high tech to construction, health care to hospitality, immigrants are vital to Massachusetts’ economy,” said Thomas N. O’Brien, Managing Director of HYM Investment Group and Co-Chair of the MBIC. “The xenophobic agenda coming out of Washington poses a direct threat to our position as a global hub of innovation and productivity. As business leaders, we cannot stand on the sidelines.” MBIC is advocating for policies that foster complete economic integration of foreign-born talent and sustained prosperity for all.
Thomas N. O’Brien (pictured above) was honored last month at United Way’s Annual Real Estate and Building Industry Leadership Breakfast. Read more about the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition, or make it your business and get involved!
Unlocking career pathways to capitalize on the strengths of diverse students and workers
Some big ideas for new partnerships to strengthen our economy by fostering a diverse workforce came out of United Way’s first-ever Social Innovation Venture Fund, powered by Aetna, a CVS Health Company.
Featured in October at HubWeek Boston, a program launched this year by Urban College of Boston and Tufts University won a $75,000 grant from the United Way Venture Fund for its plan to level the clinical research playing field for diverse students in underserved communities. Through this new partnership, Urban College of Boston aims to provide financial security for people without a postsecondary degree by creating an entirely new career path through a partnership with Tufts Medical Center. They’ll offer a brand new, one-year certificate program, and those enrolled in the program will achieve the credentials to be Clinical Research Coordinators and access entry-level opportunities in clinical research positions. Read more about this program here.
Lawrence CommunityWorks also won a $75,000 United Way Venture Fund grant for its vision to create opportunities for struggling workers to achieve financial stability by transforming local manufacturing workplaces, shifting them into bilingual environments that can hire a Spanish-speaking workforce. They aim to close the unemployment gap by ensuring employees are ready for their jobs, ensuring employers can offer training and support, and help companies take active steps to engage in building a workforce on their own. Read more.
Reimagining public housing
WinnCompanies, designated in 2017 by the Boston Housing Authority to redevelop the Mary Ellen McCormack community in South Boston, has engaged United Way to lead a partnership with more than 20 city-wide service providers and community organizations aimed at transforming Mary Ellen McCormack into a place that fosters a stronger quality of life for residents. When reconstruction is complete, the property will be one of the largest mixed-income developments in the country. Last month, with Boston College as a research partner, United Way surveyed hundreds of resident households to understand the needs and priorities of residents – and what they envision for the future of their community.
A partnership between WinnCompanies, the Resident Task Force and United Way, the survey is a critical piece of WinnCompanies’ efforts to redesign, redevelop and expand the 80-year-old public housing development into a mixed-income residential community with easier access to retail, community and meeting space, a community center, and thoughtful integration of services and engagement focused on health, housing stability, education, economic mobility, employment, and support to youth and families.
Partnership is the backbone of United Way’s impact in the community. Stay tuned for more posts this month looking back on how together, we are leveraging the power of our region’s nonprofit and business community to create change that lasts.