What Does the Future Hold for Boston?

August 17, 2021

Mayoral Candidates Outline Key Role for Nonprofit Partnerships in Advancing a Strong, Equitable and More Resilient City

BOSTON – Boston’s Mayoral Candidates are affirming the value of partnering with the city’s robust nonprofit sector to advance a strong, equitable and more resilient City, according to responses to the Boston Nonprofit Questionnaire, developed by United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley in collaboration with 103 Boston-based community partners.

United Way worked directly with 35 Executive Directors of Boston-based nonprofit organizations to develop the Boston Nonprofit Questionnaire. The five mayoral candidates were invited to discuss how their Administration intends to partner with community-based organizations and address the intersecting needs of residents, youth, and families.

The candidates’ positions and priorities are being released by United Way in honor of Nonprofit Awareness Day being recognized on August 17th. Nonprofit organizations are the cornerstone of our region’s economy and social safety net, generating nearly 550,000 jobs and employing more than 17 percent of the state’s workforce.

During the pandemic, nonprofit organizations stepped up to sustain residents through the most challenging year of our lifetimes. As such, engaging with and deepening partnerships with Boston’s nonprofit sector must be a critical piece of the next Mayor’s agenda.

Key themes articulated by the candidates include:

    • Nonprofits are seen as civic leaders and critical partners on the front lines who know their communities, the needs of residents, and what solutions will be required to ensure children and families thrive.
    • Many Boston residents rely on the nonprofit community to access critical services, and the Mayoral candidates plan to leverage the sector’s valuable insights and perspectives to ensure that City Hall is working effectively and equitably to serve all residents.
    • The most pressing issues in Boston such as housing stability, racial equity, economic justice, and educational success require a collaborative approach, and cross-sector partnerships will be needed to address the City’s deep-seeded disparities.
    • Candidates cited a need to build trust in communities through listening to residents with lived experiences to help shape policies and solutions as well as sharing data between city agencies and nonprofits to ensure partners have the information they need to help develop solutions.
    • The mayoral candidates have experience working alongside local nonprofits to serve residents, young people, and families, and have been shaped both personally and professionally by organizations in the City.

The Boston Nonprofit Questionnaire asked the following five questions, and the candidates’ responses can be viewed in their entirety here:

Question #1:  How will your Administration work with the region’s nonprofit sector to address the intersecting needs of residents, families, and youth, and build a robust social safety net that works for everyone?

Question #2:  What steps will you take to change the way that all Departments in the City partner with community-based nonprofit organizations and residents with lived experience?

Question #3:  Please describe one innovation you will implement during your first six months in office that will immediately allow your Administration to better serve Boston residents who have suffered most directly from the pandemic.

Question #4:  What do you see as your own areas of personal growth in terms of equity and inclusion, and what will you do to ensure that your Cabinet members join you in the continuous self-examination and learning needed to advance a more anti-racist society?

Question #5:  Tell us about one Boston nonprofit that you engaged with recently. Tell us about one Boston nonprofit with whom you have a long-term relationship.

The responses were copied verbatim from the candidates’ submissions and not edited in any way. As a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the United Way cannot support or oppose any candidate for public office.