Venture Fund

In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, innovation in the social sector is critically important. With needs growing by the day, creative solutions to address the entrenched issues this crisis has brought to light are more important than ever.  In this year’s Venture Fund competition we reviewed the work of past awardees and four were chosen, each winning an award of up to $75,000 each to continue bringing their ideas to life and scale. Check out the game-changing ideas our winners will bring to life. Learn more with the press release about the winners and the Venture Fund Project One Pager.



This years’ winners all were previously funded by  Venture Fund and were chosen for a second year of support.

FamilyAid Boston

Family Aid Boston partnered with Horizons for Homeless Children to secure housing for more than 1,000 children and parents experiencing homelessness through a shared data system with Boston Public Schools that allows for a more coordinated approach to supporting children and families experiencing homelessness. Integrating deeper, data-driven partnerships during the pandemic also enhanced educational support and decreased food insecurity.

Our Neighbors’ Table

Our Neighbors’ Table mobilized the City of Newburyport to create food security for all children and their families, raising public awareness of food insecurity and increasing screening and intervention. Our Neighbors’ Table has served 2,200 individuals since the start of the project and they aim to serve 5,100 by the end of the year.

Mystic Valley YMCA

Mystic Valley YMCA was able to scale and further develop an expansion program of its onsite food pantry. The “Your Market” digital food pantry leverages technology to address food insecurity by providing software for area pantries of all sizes to track inventory and understand concentration of demand. The technology has led to greater transparency for shoppers, increased shopper choice, healthier and culturally appropriate food selections, and easier access to food.

South Shore Stars

South Shore Stars, with locations in Quincy, Randolph, and Weymouth, provides early education and childcare with a special focus on supporting preschool-age children with developmental delays and those who have experienced trauma. Working in collaboration with Brockton Area Multi-Services, their grant supported in-person coaching and assessments, workshops for educators, and Kindergarten transition support to an estimated 230 young children and their families.​


Urban College/Tufts Medical Center: Research Apprenticeship Multicultural Partnership (RAMP) Program—Increase the number of clinical research assistants and clinical research participants from communities of color.

Lawrence CommunityWorks: Manufacturing Bilingual Solutions—Provide broader employment opportunities and enhance business operations by implementing bilingual operations for manufacturing businesses.

More Than Words: Partner with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Committee for Public Counsel Services to develop a shared understanding of how to best serve justice-involved youth.

Home for All: Reduce the number of people on waitlists for shelter and to create more affordable housing for the Seacoast community.

About Venture Fund

United Way’s Venture Fund is a catalyst for getting promising new ideas for driving population-level change into practice. A competitive, juried selection process results in four awards of up to $75,000 each to nonprofits that have the experience, community presence, and relationships to approach a big problem in a new way, but need funding and a thought partner to bring that idea to life.

Community organizations in our service area are asked to submit innovative, collaborative approaches to achieving any of the following impact goals:

  • All individuals have safe, permanent, affordable housing
  • All adults have jobs that allow them to support themselves and their families
  • All adults are able to meet their basic needs and achieve a state of financial wellbeing
  • All children enter kindergarten ready to learn
  • All youth graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and/or careers


Dozens of volunteers reviewed applications and provided United Way with critical support in selecting up to eight finalists to pitch their ideas.

For more information about the Venture Fund, please contact Karley Ausiello at