Giving Tuesday – Our Communities Can’t Wait

With more than 1 million people in our state facing food insecurity, a tidal wave of evictions on the horizon and unemployment skyrocketing across most industries, it’s up to our community to make sure none of our neighbors fall through the cracks. This Giving Tuesday, here are some of the odds our communities are facing:

  • Unemployment has skyrocketed with 330,000 people jobless in Massachusetts.
    1 in 8 residents and 25% of Black and Latinx residents are experiencing food insecurity.
  • 60,000+ families are at risk of eviction because of the unprecedented numbers of renters and homeowners falling behind on their payments.
  • More than 270 childcare centers have been forced to close, leaving 46,000 children without licensed programs.
  • 59% of afterschool providers are unsure if their programs will be able to reopen after the pandemic.

With your donation, we can help get families back on the road to resilience.  Please consider giving on Giving Tuesday.

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United Way has been responding to local needs and our region’s most pressing issues such as homelessness, poverty and the achievement gap for more than 85 years. When COVID-19 hit and the scope and scale of these issues exploded.


Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has raised and distributed over $8 million to more than 300,000 vulnerable people, providing emergency financial assistance to help pay for food, rent/housing, utilities, and other basic needs.


It’s going to take much more than emergency financial assistance to help families and communities recover from this crisis and United Way has the scale and reach to help. We have the deep partnerships with hundreds of nonprofit organizations, state and municipal leaders, and businesses to be the region’s go-to mobilizer to address these urgent needs and activate comprehensive, long-term solutions. Here’s the breakdown of what we’re doing in each key area.


Our region faces a housing crisis of potentially enormous magnitude. We simply cannot afford to let families become homeless at staggering rates.

United Way helps families who require emergency assistance, supports innovative programming to prevent homelessness, and leads statewide policy for long-term change.

Our Plan: Last year, 12,000 individuals and families avoided homelessness because of our network’s direct services. This year, we’re thinking even bigger, helping an additional 15,000 families avoid homelessness and closing the statewide gap of 160,000 units needed to provide housing to all our residents by developing a state-wide roadmap to create more affordable housing units for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and provide critical rental assistance and eviction prevention services.


COVID-19 has left a devastating financial impact on already vulnerable families. Some cities, such as Lynn and Lawrence, are seeing unemployment rates as high as 32.6%. Countless workers in our region remain underemployed with reduced hours and are struggling to make ends meet.

Our Plan: With a network of 63 career and financial coaching partners, United Way will develop 25 new career pathways programs aligned with industry growth to provide 1250 households with more resilient employment. We will expand existing credit- and asset-building initiatives. And we’ll provide financial and job training coaching to empower an additional 12,300 households in their journey toward financial stability. We’ll provide long-term case management, eviction prevention specialization, legal services, and financial assistance to 740 households at risk of homelessness due to income loss.


Education is a critical component to ending the cycle of poverty. COVID-19 has brought a new set of challenges for students, parents, and educators. Critical early education and out-of-school time programs that families rely on to work have closed.

Our Plan: We’re working with our network of 53 early education and care partners to help an additional 8,000 young children enroll in child care and connect with needed early childhood supports. We’re providing more young children with high-quality child care and other needed early childhood services, including scholarship funds for childcare partners in hotspot/gateway cities, stabilization grants and business training to 100 Family Child Care providers to prevent closures. And we’re expanding DRIVE – an early childhood developmental screening program – to increase screenings in hotspot/gateway communities by 2,500 children. Findings from DRIVE will help identify developmental concerns and provide grants to early childhood support programs for children in need of early intervention.


Young people whose parents are at work, face the compounded challenge of having no supervision or support for remote learning. The out-of-school time (OST) field stands ready to partner with the school districts in their communities to support students and families, but 59% of afterschool/OST providers are unsure if their programs will be able to reopen after the pandemic. Many programs have furloughed staff and have received little financial assistance.

Our Plan: United Way is working with 87 OST partners to expand hours in support of hybrid and remote school day instruction for more than 65,000 youth. Funds raised will support expanded OST hours, purchase materials to create socially distanced classrooms, hire additional staff to maintain low staff-to-student ratios, and purchase program supplies for more than 45,000 students and will support 2,000 youth with technology assistance, such as obtaining reliable internet and appropriate technology.


We have seen how the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 have hit communities of color disproportionately harder than the rest of our region. United Way is committed to advancing racial justice and equity to empower our communities and mobilize volunteers and community leaders.

Our Plan: United Way is establishing a Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion fund for nonprofits that want to engage in this work with their staff and communities yet lack the financial resources to do so. This fund will support systemic change at the organizational level and recognizes that DEI learning and growth is needed at all types of organizations, and may look different for each organization.


We need our community’s support to ensure that these programs can continue serving children, youth, and working families.

The need is only growing, and our communities can’t wait. United Way was built for this.

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