BOSTON – On June 18, 2020, nine United Way chapters across Massachusetts joined 200 leaders from 35 states for the first ever United Way Virtual Hill Day to advocate for comprehensive COVID-19 relief that uplifts working families, residents, and the nonprofit sector.
Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-5), Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-4), and Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-2) joined these conversations, as did staff members from the offices of Senator Ed Markey, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-3).
Participating in these meetings included the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, United Way of Central Massachusetts, United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Berkshire United Way, North Berkshire United Way, United Way of Hampshire County, United Way of Greater Plymouth County, United Way of South Central Massachusetts, Cape and Islands United Way, Community Action Inc. in Haverhill, The Neighborhood Developers in Chelsea, and Boston Tax Help Coalition.
United Way advocates urged its Congressional delegation to advocate for four key federal policy priorities. The Massachusetts members of Congress are long-time supporters of these issues, and reaffirmed their commitment to fight for these priorities in the next federal relief package:
- Enhancing charities’ ability to help people in need by expanding and making the new $300 non-itemizer charitable deduction permanent;
- Putting more money into the economy by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for working individuals and families;
- Easing the financial strain on state budgets by providing a temporary increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage; and
- Supporting working families and employers across Massachusetts by investing $50 billion of emergency aid to the child care sector.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic reverberates through our communities, we know that more federal relief is needed to help residents, families, and nonprofits weather the long-standing impacts of this crisis,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “We are grateful for the leadership and partnership of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, who work hard every day to fight for working families and nonprofits across the Commonwealth.”
United Way advocates also briefed Congressional leaders on the relief and recovery efforts they have been leading across Massachusetts, such as setting up regional COVID-19 funds to support vulnerable families, coordinating emergency food distribution, and deploying financial assistance to residents in need through their widespread network of nonprofit partners.
As the nation’s largest charity, United Way is a network of 1,300 local affiliates and reaches all 351 towns and cities across the Commonwealth. Since the start of this pandemic, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley—which spans Greater Boston, North Shore, South Shore, Greater Attleboro/Taunton, the Merrimack Valley, and the New Hampshire Seacoast-—has raised $8.1M from its COVID-19 Family Support Fund and local COVID-19 relief funds, which is providing flexible cash assistance to families and residents affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
In partnership with mayors and community leaders across the region, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has launched local COVID-19 relief funds in 14 cities and towns, including Chelsea, Brockton, Lawrence, Everett, Randolph, Revere and Lynn. To date, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has distributed more than $5.6M to over 160 community-based nonprofit agencies across the region, who are serving some of the most vulnerable populations during this pandemic.