Moving Families out of Poverty

At United Way, we believe every family deserves a pathway out of poverty.

In April 2023 United Way of Massachusetts Bay announced a new strategy and refocused impact areas. We are working on a new site that reflects this shift that will debut in September 2023. Until then you can visit our microsite to learn more about our new impact area: Economic Inclusion and Wealth Building.

Too many people in our region know what it’s like to be unemployed or work multiple jobs and still struggle to make ends meet. Too many of our neighbors have to decide between filling the fridge or filling a prescription. And too many people can’t find a job that pays well enough to face these challenges head on.  For these families, a single setback is enough to be financially devastating.

Our Solution

There are few choices available to families on the edge of financial catastrophe. They could fall prey to predatory financial advice or services, and if they default on the loan, their credit suffers. Without good credit, their options thin even further. Just “finding a better job” isn’t always the answer either. Without specific skills and training, people settle for low-paying jobs, leaving their savings to dry up before the month is out.

Climbing out of poverty is complex.  United Way is providing leadership to a network of nonprofits who serve families across our region. Together, we are creating solutions that work. We help families in need set reachable goals such as cleaning up their credit so they can rent a home, sending a child to college, or getting a job that will pay a living wage. We help families by:

  • Investing in organizations that focus on job skills training that offers a defined career pathway driven by employer needs.
  • Scaling an integrated services model with: financial coaching, career placement, public benefit screening services, all under one roof.
  • Expanding access to financial coaching that helps families build credit, increase their savings, reduce debt and build assets.

Our Partners

We work with 51 strategic partners across 142 communities to move families out of poverty. Our partners include:

  • Catholic Charities
  • Jewish Vocational Services, Inc.
  • Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development (LHAND)
  • Roca, Inc.
  • Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment

View all our agency partners

How We're Doing So Far:

United Way's annual investment in Moving Families Out of Poverty
Individuals placed in and retaining jobs for at least 90 days
Average increase in annual emergency savings for families receiving financial coaching

We can do even more with your help.

Strategic Initiatives

We bring together partners to pilot innovative solutions that target entrenched problems, address gaps in services, and scale best practices.

Boston Builds Credit

Boston Builds Credit is a first-of-its-kind, citywide push to help 25,000 Bostonians reach a prime credit score (660+) by 2025. United Way, the City of Boston, and LISC Boston have joined forces to launch a program to close Boston’s growing wealth divide and open the door for all of the city’s residents to achieve financial success. Learn more»


United Way is focused on opening doors to college and career for youth who might otherwise fall through the cracks. We are building a coalition of partners to create new opportunities that will both allow young people to avoid poverty later in life and create a more skilled workforce and thriving economy for everyone. Learn more»

Working Families Network of Massachusetts

The Working Families Network of Massachusetts helps people achieve the financial stability they need for a successful future. Eighteen locations in MA offer financial coaching services, including budgeting, credit building and maximizing the benefits to which they are entitled. Learn more»


After providing subsidized housing in South Boston for 80 years, the Mary Ellen McCormack is undergoing renovations. United Way is helping residents voice what resources they want in their community when reconstruction completes, while offering new access to important programs that will provide financial opportunities and improve their overall wellbeing. Learn more»



Be a hero for families in transition
As part of Project Connect, you can make a big difference on a day where our entire community comes together in support of families in transition, who are experiencing homelessness, or who otherwise need access to important resources. The event provides job fairs and other professional help, healthcare advice and services, back-to-school supplies, and financial check-ups, among many other services. Event occurs in Boston annually in July. Learn more»

Thanksgiving Project

Give everyone in our community something to be thankful for
You can help give a wonderful holiday to people in need as part of United Way’s Thanksgiving Project. Be one of hundreds of volunteers who pack almost 150,000 pounds of food into individual meal kits, then distribute them to more than 6,500 families throughout Greater Boston so they too can share a Thanksgiving meal with their family and friends. Learn more»

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Make a tax return matter more than ever
You could be one of the IRS-certified volunteer tax preparation assistants who help local citizens navigate tax season, making sure working families get thousands back on their return. Learn more»

Family Fund

Providing emergency assistance since 1976
United Way has administered emergency assistance and flexible funds through its Family Fund since 1976. These grants are specifically to benefit individuals and families in “last resort” situations after the existing public or private sources of aid have been exhausted. Learn more»

Make A Financial Impact

Ensures two families can enjoy Thanksgiving meals.

Funds one-on-one financial coaching for one individual.

Provides twelve families with emergency heating assistance during the winter.

Provides emergency support that prevents two families from being evicted.