National Grid Foundation and United Way Team Up to Help Families in Need

February 20, 2020

NGF Awards $150,000 to United Way for Local Families in Need

BOSTON — The National Grid Foundation has awarded United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley a $150,000 grant to provide emergency fuel-neutral financial assistance to local families in need this winter, the organizations announced today.  United Way will distribute the funds to six community-based organizations serving several communities, including Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Quincy, and Somerville.

“The United Way’s Family Fund is an amazing resource, and we are so pleased we can continue to help,” said Ed White, Executive Director of the National Grid Foundation, “This fifteen-year partnership remains a vital tool that helps connect people with emergency assistance and basic needs when they need it most. We are thrilled to team up with United Way and be part of a program that helps so many.”

The $150,000 gift from National Grid is being distributed through United Way’s Family Fund, which helps families across Eastern Massachusetts make ends meet by assisting with basic needs such as heating, food, and housing.  A new report by Prosperity Now shows half of  residents in Massachusetts are cost-burdened, which means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.  Only 56 percent of Massachusetts families report keeping emergency savings in the past year.

“When an emergency or an unexpected financial crisis hits, families should not be forced to choose between paying for food, fuel or their rent or mortgage payments,’ said Michael K. Durkin, United Way President and Chief Executive Officer.  “But we know this need is there.  Last year, United Way’s Mass 2-1-1 helpline received over 9,600 requests for help with just these three basic needs. The funding from the National Grid Foundation is critical to our efforts to provide families in crisis with direct emergency assistance.”

“At The Neighborhood Developers we frequently see clients who are unable to pay their utility bills, which puts both their health and credit score at risk,”  said TND Executive Director Rafael Mares.  “With investments like this from National Grid Foundation and the United Way, CONNECT creates opportunities for people to go from managing basic needs to pursuing their dreams. This funding will help 75 households manage a current utility obligation while connecting them to a financial coach who helps them review their credit, establish a household budget, and set and work toward financial goals.”

The National Grid Foundation grant to United Way will benefit six community-based organizations serving several communities, including Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Quincy, and Somerville. Grants of $25,000 each have been awarded to Action for Boston Community Development, Catholic Charities of Boston, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Lynn Economic Opportunity, Quincy Community Action Programs and The Neighborhood Developers.

“We’re extremely thankful to our partners at the National Grid Foundation and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley for their generous support of Catholic Charities and the work we do to care for families and individuals in need,” said Kevin M. MacKenzie, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Interim President, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston. “This funding from National Grid will help keep the heat on this winter in homes across dozens of communities. Most of the families we serve struggle each week to keep their homes warm and their families protected. With these additional resources, we can offer a helping hand to our vulnerable neighbors.”

“The funding from the National Grid Foundation makes a significant difference in the lives of our clients who are struggling to pay expensive heating bills,” said Beth Ann Strollo, Chief Executive Officer at Quincy Community Action Programs. “It’s especially helpful this year following cuts to federal fuel assistance funding in Massachusetts. Many of our eligible clients have already exhausted their benefits, and there are still three months left of cold weather. We thank the National Grid Foundation for understanding the importance of keeping our clients safe and warm.”

One hundred percent of the funds are designated for direct distribution to families in need of fuel neutral assistance.  Last year, funding from National Grid Foundation helped provide fuel assistance averaging $325 to 457 households in the communities served by these partners.  In 2018, United Way’s Family Fund served requests from more than 1,800 families.  The National Grid Foundation has supported United Way’s efforts in this area for 15 years, bringing the total of its support to over $1.65 million. 

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About the National Grid Foundation
National Grid Foundation was created to enhance the quality of life across its grant making territory. The Foundation’s ongoing challenge is to create opportunities for solutions to educational and environmental issues. Its objective is based on the principle that giving people the tools to build hope is an essential ingredient in the development of individuals, families and communities. Since its inception in December of 1998, the Foundation now in its 21st year has granted nearly $27 million to local community organizations.