United Way of Massachusetts Bay Seeks Community-Based Partners to Advance Economic Opportunity, Expand Avenues to Prosperity

BY Brigid Boyd

May 12 2023

Multi-year, unrestricted grants key to new strategy to close racial and ethnic disparities and drive population-level change 

BOSTON –  In the first major organizational initiative following the launch of its new strategic direction to advance an economically-just region, United Way of Massachusetts Bay this week released a Request for Partnership (RFP) application, seeking to build a network of organizational partners focused on expanding avenues to financial wellbeing throughout the region. 

Opening its application for funding for the first time to any eligible community partners, the new Request for Partnership will guide United Way’s unrestricted investments in nonprofit organizations providing direct services or advancing policy activities through 2030.  The open request for partnership will allow United Way to invest $8M over the next year in agency partners whose activities exemplify building more equitable communities, lifting the voices of people with lived experiences, leveraging data to inform solutions and collaborating for greater impact.   

“Our new Request for Partnership grows out of our commitment to our communities and people – all of them – as knowledgeable, resource-rich, and vibrant,” said Bob Giannino, Ansin President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay.  “It also recognizes that significant disparities persist across race and ethnicity in our region on key indicators of financial well-being. Our goal is to help change entire systems by investing in resources and services, developing evidence of what works and what needs to change, and bringing solutions to scale.” 

To ensure access to financial wellbeing is universal and shared across race and ethnicity, United Way is seeking community partners focused on providing direct services and advocating for policy change in these four avenues to prosperity: 

  • Economic Inclusion and Wealth Building: Advance financial well-being and inclusion by providing access to services, resources, and tools that help individuals increase income, build credit and savings, and reduce debt. 
    • Early Education and Out-of-School Time (EEOST): Provide affordable, high-quality early education and Out-of-School Time programs that allow caregivers to work and learn and provide children and youth opportunities to learn, thrive, and explore their interests. 
      • Education and Career Pathways for Youth and Young Adults: Engage youth and young adults ages 16-24, who are disconnected from school and work, in education and career pathways. 
        • Safe and Stable Housing: Increase the availability and accessibility of safe and stable housing and associated services. 

          United Way is focusing its community impact strategy and grant funding on 12 priority communities in the region that have been historically under-resourced, as indicated by their high concentration of poverty: Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Salem, and Taunton. Together, these 12 communities are home to two-thirds of the individuals who live below the poverty threshold in United Way’s geographic footprint.   

          Central to the new strategy is United Way’s commitment to invest in and promote diverse leadership across the region, including prioritizing funding for organizations led by Black, Latino/a, and multiracial senior leaders and boards; organizations with explicit strategies to close equity gaps across race and ethnicity; and organizations with leaders who have developed a culture of collaboration rooted in transparency and accountability. 

          Interested applicants are encouraged to complete the eligibility form available here. The eligibility form and full RFP are available in Cantonese, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The deadline for submission is Friday, July 14. United Way will also host information sessions and open office hours to outline the RFP process, describe eligibility criteria, and provide additional details on key terms. 

          Affirming their commitment to centering community voice in decision-making, United Way is also seeking dedicated individuals to help evaluate RFP applications, provide objective feedback, and form recommendations as a team of Community Reviewers. Reviewers will be compensated for their time.


          About United Way of Massachusetts Bay 

          United Way of Massachusetts Bay exists to build more equitable communities, together. With over 85 years of local impact in eastern Massachusetts, we work with and for our communities to build economic prosperity and enable everyone–across races and ethnicities–to share in the knowledge, wealth and resources available. We believe that the key to unlocking opportunity is uniting people, and we bring together individuals, community leaders, corporate partners, legislators and organizations to build a powerful engine of change. Visit www.unitedwaymassbay.org for more information. 

          Media Contact:  Brigid Boyd, Chief of Public Affairs, UWMB, bboyd@supportunitedway.org, 339.236.1161