As 2021 comes to a close, our community faces another pandemic surge. At United Way, our staff have the privilege of working alongside amazing individuals and organizations every day on the front lines of supporting our community. We want to take a moment to recognize them – and all of you – for the ways that you have stepped up and stepped out in service of our mission to build a more resilient and more equitable region this year. Three Cheers – here’s to you!
Cheers to you – the people who continued to show up for others
As we look back over 2021, we recognize the ways you showed up for others. Foremost among them are the parents. Cheers to you: moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers. You have kept the world spinning for yourselves and your children running through virtual education and unexpected quarantines. You have protected a sense of normalcy and transformed your homes into schools/after-school programs/athletic centers/art studios/and so much more. Our staff also offer cheers to:
- To all the housing case managers, financial coaches, and career coaches who went above and beyond to continue connecting with families in the community, and helping bring resources to their doorstep. Thanks to these partners, 25% of Massachusetts households accessed emergency rental assistance in 2021.
- To Klare Shaw from the Liberty Mutual Foundation, who is retiring this year. Klare is a true example of what it means to live united, with a long career of dedication to our community. We are all grateful for your years of service and leadership.
- To Liz and staff of the Randolph Public Library — incredible humans who stepped up to be the front door of the Resilient Randolph Fund and helping residents access the support they need.
- To our partners working in legal services who adapted to virtual housing court– working hard to get placed in the right zoom room at the right moment — knowing it might make the difference for someone facing eviction during the pandemic to have the representation they need.
Cheers to you – the people who found a way to stay open
Many services can be delivered virtually but that’s not the case for childcare or afterschool programming. Cheers to you: afterschool program staff, childcare directors, and family childcare providers. These programs have long been places for young people to play, learn new skills, and develop relationships. This year they also became hubs for families to enroll their children in school, receive food and clothes, and gain access to mental and emotional support. The incredible resilience of this sector in the face of an enormous challenge has been evident and we want to congratulate them for it.
- Cheers to South Boston Neighborhood Preschool staff for stepping up for their community of South Boston and providing food, diapers, gift cards, and more to families in need during the pandemic – especially while schools were closed. And for making sure to stay in close contact with all families enrolled in their program and continue to check in to see what they needed.
- Cheers to Boston Public Library Teens who continued to put on social programming for Boston teens using online services like Twitch in the face of a pandemic that has made connecting with others extremely difficult.
- Shout out to Courageous Sailing and Sociedad Latina who continued to run incredible programming and go above and beyond to support students and families during the pandemic.
Cheers to you – the people who took risks for the greater good
As we close 2021, it is more clear than ever that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine how we meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents and empower our communities to emerge stronger, equitable and more prepared for the future. As we think of our partner organizations, we offer cheers to the leaders who are taking risks for the greater good – who aren’t afraid to launch new collaboratives, question business models, and envision new ways to involve the community in decision-making. Cheers to you —
- To landlords and nonprofit property managers who sought every possible way to help tenants behind on rent stay at home. Cheers to those — like WinnCompanies and our CDC partners who creatively advocated for options outside of the courts.
- To State Representative Joan Meschino for championing the Massachusetts Flexible Housing Pool bill to transform the way we provide housing to our most vulnerable families, youth, and individuals. Cheers to your bravery and innovative thinking!
- To Lynn Housing and Neighborhood Development (LHAND) for continuing to reimagine how to collaborate with providers across Essex County to better serve youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.
- To Boston Medical Center for creating shelter and healthcare services for our neighbors who tested positive for COVID in congregate shelters. They provided the most important public health service for populations who needed it the most.
Thank you! We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing community of partners, donors and companies. Here’s to another year of making our community a better place for all!