United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley



More than one in five students in Boston do not graduate from high school.

United Way is proud to stand with Bank of America, the GradNation campaign of America’s Promise Alliance, and national partner AT&T on the important issue of ensuring ALL of our young people graduate from high school or college and career-ready.

Sign up to receive GradNation updates!

A focus on social and emotional development

The recent Boston GradNation Community Summit featured a special focus on more intentionally helping students achieve growth in social and emotional skills in order to foster educational success and financial opportunity. As noted by Mandy Savitz-Romer of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, we need to think of these qualities as skills, not traits in our young people.

That means they are skills that can be taught and learned. Second, it is our responsibility as nonprofit partners, school leaders, government, businesses and foundations to work together to determine how best to teach these skills to youth in school and outside of school.

The power of ACADEMIC achievement

Growth in social and emotional skills is linked to improved academic achievement and positive impacts on long-term outcomes such as educational attainment, employment, substance abuse and criminal activity, according to a 2015 analysis by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Educational Learning.

“It will take all of us coming together – businesses, government, educators, researchers, funders and community leaders – to ensure students succeed not only in school, but in college, career and life,” said Mike Durkin, President at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  “Today’s Boston GradNation Community Summit looks to harness our city’s considerable expertise and resources to better support students’ social and emotional well-being to prepare them for academic and lifelong success. ”

Gradnation Resources

Summit Presentations (PPT)