United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley Launches COVID-19 Family Support Fund 

March 14, 2020

Funds Raised Will Help Meet the Basic Needs of Working Families Across Eastern Massachusetts and Southern NH Affected By the Crisis

MARCH 14, 2020 — United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is establishing the  COVID-19 Family Support Fund, a dedicated resource for working families affected by the crisis. Mobilizing United Way’s broad network of nonprofit agencies, the COVID-19 Family Support Fund will provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help families weather the COVID-19 crisis. 100 percent of donations will go directly to help families in need.

Spread throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, United Way’s network of agencies for the COVID-19 Family Support Fund includes nearly 20 organizations. These agencies have a proven and long track record of working with United Way to administer flexible emergency assistance for families impacted by income disruption. Grants* will be made to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis meet their basic food, childcare or housing needs.

“In Massachusetts, 2 in 5 workers lack sufficient savings to withstand a sudden loss in wages,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “With public events, schools and workplaces shuttering as the pandemic unfolds, hourly, low-wage workers will experience unprecedented financial hardship. The problem is acute for hospitality workers, retail workers, and other hourly workers, many living paycheck to paycheck, with no clear options for recouping lost wages.”

Additionally across the Commonwealth, several hundred thousand children rely on federally funded school-based programs for one, two or more meals each day. As schools close across the Commonwealth, the demand for food assistance will increase for these children and their families. And in this uncertain time, many nonprofit agencies will face financial disruption. Postponed or cancelled fundraising events, leading to a loss of funding that community-based organizations depend on for their regular program work and operations will put serious pressure on nonprofit operating budgets. 

United Way also announced today that in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, United Way’s Mass 2-1-1 statewide consumer hotline will provide consumer help during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Individuals can dial 2-1-1 for comprehensive information and referrals related to the virus, including information on where they can access flexible funds through the COVID-19 Family Support Fund.

Click here for more information or to donate to the fund.

*Editor’s note:  the original version of this press release stipulated a grant amount of $2000.  With the situation changing daily, we understand that putting a cap on the amount of the grant may not make sense at this time, so we’ve removed this language.