United Way of Massachusetts to partner with local nonprofits in Chelsea and beyond

United Way of Massachusetts Bay President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Giannino recently unveiled a list of 124 organizations that will partner with United Way in a first-of-its kind effort to eradicate the conditions that lead to poverty and economic injustice. 

As part of the partnership, each of the organizations will receive grant awards totaling more than $56M ($8M annually) through 2030. 

The Chelsea-based organizations that received United Way grants include La Colaborativa, Comunidades Enraizadas Community Land Trust, Roca, and The Neighborhood Developers.

“This new way forward is a recognition that philanthropic efforts must evolve in order to meet the pressing issues of our region,” said Giannino. “We have spent the past two years developing a community impact strategy that doesn’t just address symptoms of poverty but can eliminate it in the communities that need it the most. Through this multi-million-dollar grant initiative, we believe that together with our partners, we will move toward a future where every individual in our region, across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, will be empowered to meet their financial goals and achieve financial wellbeing.”

As part of its reimagined community impact strategy, United Way is investing in partners and solutions that are working to create positive, population-level change in communities across its footprint.  

“La Colaborativa is thrilled to be a new grantee partner with United Way,” said La Colaborativa Executive Director Gladys Vega. “This partnership and funding will allow us to build investment in our community that will create a brighter economic future for themselves and their families. Through our holistic approach, we can keep families stable as they build skills and find their own voice as we collectively demand the dignity and respect that all people deserve.”

Vega said that working with the United Way, La Colaborativa will work to close the wage gap that has hindered the immigrant community from achieving financial stability through workforce development programs provided in a culturally sensitive environment and create more opportunities for youth to build leadership skills and use their voice to create the future they want.

In a Facebook post, The Neighborhood Developers stated that it was  thrilled to announce its continued partnership with the United Way for the next seven years and was honored to work hand in hand with United Way of Massachusetts Bay to create a more economically just region where financial well-being is accessible to all and prosperity is shared regardless of race or ethnicity.

To measure its progress, United Way will track measures such as increasing satisfaction in financial well-being among people living in local communities, increasing the percentage of households with at least $2,000 in emergency savings,  decreasing the percentage of households that spend greater than 50% of their income on housing, decreasing the percentage of people ages 16-24 who are not enrolled in school or employed, and narrowing the wealth gap.

For the first time in its history, United Way of Massachusetts Bay’s Request for Partnership application was open to any nonprofit eligible 501c3 in the region and was translated into seven languages to increase accessibility. Through this open application process, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay received a total of 382 applications and of those 220 moved onto community review. Ultimately, 124 recipients were selected to receive funding for direct services or advancing policy activities. Of the new partners, 35 percent are led by a Black or Latino/a leader, an increase from the United Way’s past portfolio of 24%.

Additionally, United Way is partnering with nonprofits that involve community members in decision-making and ensure community perspectives and experiences are integrated into program design and implementation.

“The selection of our grant recipients this year represents our evolution from providing support in exchange for programmatic outcomes to providing support in exchange for a shared commitment to advancing economic justice through systems change,” said Karley Ausiello United Way of Massachusetts Bay Chief of Community Impact. “This is a significant milestone for our new way forward.”

United Way selected community partners across 12 priority communities – Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Salem, and Taunton. Together, these communities are home to two-thirds of the individuals who live below the poverty threshold in United Way’s geographic footprint. Grant recipients will provide direct services and advocate 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.

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