United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley

United Way is at the forefront of new ideas and bigger impact.

United Way joins with businesses, community partners and policy leaders to take new ideas and put them into action. Complex issues such as homelessness and closing the achievement and economic opportunity gaps demand unique thinking and groundbreaking approaches. Your support ensures that United Way is always at the vanguard of social innovation.

The IF Challenge

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Boston College School of Social Work are partnering to find solutions to end homelessness for the 3,600 Massachusetts families who struggle in shelters and motels every day.Together, we’re sponsoring The IF Challenge, a new prize competition to seek innovative, cost-effective and feasible ideas to reduce family homelessness in our state, including technology-based solutions (e.g. mobile solutions, apps, social media). Winner(s) will receive support from Boston College to build and develop their solution, as well as up to $25,000 from the United Way. Learn more.

Pay for Success: Reducing Chronic Individual Homelessness

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ first-in-the-nation Pay for Success initiative to reduce chronic individual homelessness launched in June, 2015 in partnership with the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, Corporation for Supportive Housing and Santander. Learn more.

Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC)

United Way partnered with the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations to win legislative passage of the Community Investment Tax Credit, which offers individuals, corporations and nonprofit institutions the opportunity to make a donation to support Community Development Corporations and obtain a 50% Massachusetts state tax credit. Learn more.


Pre-Kindergarten programs should provide the educational foundation to ensure all incoming kindergartners are equally prepared to succeed in school. Without consistent access to high-quality, developmentally appropriate programming, children will continue to enter school at varying levels of readiness. The Barr Foundation has awarded a $1.4M grant to United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley to study current programs and provide data that will help the City of Boston assess the feasibility of different options for scaling high quality pre-K across the city. Learn more.


An early childhood model that is insight-driven and data-powered, DRIVE is a groundbreaking new effort to identify infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are most-at-risk of falling behind and connect them to early intervention services.  Led by the Private Equity/Venture Capital Leadership Council, Data & Resources Investing in Vital Early Education (DRIVE) is a collaboration between United Way, Thrive in 5, and a growing number of community-based organizations in Boston.

Boston Opportunity Agenda

This public/private partnership among the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, United Way and the city’s leading public charities and many local foundations works to ensure that all Boston residents have access to the education necessary for upward economic mobility, civic engagement, and lifelong learning for themselves and their families.