United Way Selected as Grant Recipient of Youth Opportunity Fund

Youth Opp Fund

BOSTON (August 26, 2015) – The Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance today announced that United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has been selected as a recipient of the Youth Opportunity Fund, a national $3 million initiative to support city-level, innovative and scalable programs connecting youth to opportunities that increase their employability and prepare them for lifelong success. Continue reading

“This is why we Live United!”

As we celebrate 20 years of the Women’s Leadership Breakfast this fall, the executive committee members share their favorite WLC moments and why they LIVE UNITED.

WLC20 Word Cloud

The members of the Women’s Leadership Council Executive Committee put a lot of time and passion into their volunteer work with the Council, having a tremendous impact on our community and a future generations of leaders.

Why would such busy, successful women commit their time to not only volunteer in the community, but lead a year-round philanthropic initiative? We asked them.  And here’s what they had to say.

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Turning Summer Time into Brain Building Time

Taking the T to explore the city this summer? It's a brain building moment!
Taking the T to explore the city this summer? Make the ride a brain building moment!

Did you know that the back-and-forth interactions and meaningful conversations you have with your young child are the best ways to build their brain?  That makes the lazy, hazy days of summer the perfect time to create brain-building moments and actually nurture your child’s learning and development outside of formal early education programs.

Make the most out of your time together this summer with these tips from Brain Building in Progress, a public-private partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley:  Continue reading

Deloitte’s Susan Esper elected to serve as Board Chair of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

Susan Esper and Mike Durkin
Susan Esper and Mike Durkin

BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley announced that Susan Esper, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, has been elected to serve as the new Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. Esper was elected unanimously at United Way’s June Board meeting, and will lead the Board following the service of Andrew Dreyfus of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, whose two-year term ended on June 30.

“Susan will bring high-energy, deep knowledge of our work in the community and the professional skill set needed to develop and implement the best strategies to give more people the opportunity to get involved and create lasting change in their communities through United Way,” says Michael K. Durkin, president at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “She will be a visionary leader as we look to grow our relationships with corporate partners on the issues they care about and engage a changing, more mobile workforce in our community work, particularly through volunteerism. We are fortunate to have great leaders in our region who are willing to give their time to ensure all children and families have educational and economic opportunities to thrive.” Continue reading

15 Students Receive Scholarships for Outstanding Community Work

2015 MLH Scholars

Marian L. Heard Scholarship Program provides students with $10,000 scholarship and e-coach mentor for college success

BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley officially welcomed 15 new students to the 2015 class of Marian L. Heard Scholars at a luncheon today at the Omni Parker House in Boston.  These students, who come from Boston, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, and Quincy, were selected as Scholars and honored for being not only excellent academic students, but outstanding community leaders.

“These students are all smart, compassionate, hardworking individuals who have been actively engaged in their communities,” said Michael Durkin, President and CEO United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “Today we are proud to recognize their great work so far, and celebrate their great potential for the future.” Continue reading

Lowell community receives $100,000 for summer jobs and programs for youth

Optimized-SEGL Group PhotoLowell community helped raise funds for Summer Experiences in Greater Lowell initiative 

United Way and Summer Experiences in Greater Lowell (SEGL) committee members joined 12 community organizations at Lowell City Hall today to award $100,000 to support summer programs and opportunities for local children and youth – impacting more than 2,000 youth this summer. Continue reading

Three things we love about State Street’s new initiative to create 1,000 jobs for area youth

One of our biggest corporate partners took a bold step last week to help more Boston youth stay in school and on track to graduate with options for a successful future.   State Street Corporation announced a new initiative that deserves accolades not only because of the cause, but because of the best practices in corporate giving and service delivery that they’ve embedded in their efforts. Continue reading

United Way Expands Successful Summer Learning Program

 Over 3,000 K-3 students expected to benefit from literacy programs proven to avoid summer learning loss and increase reading skills

Looking for literacy activities to do with children this summer? Check out our calendar for fun ideas that promote learning.

BOSTON — United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is expanding its nationally-recognized Summer Learning Collaborative to reach over 3,000 elementary school-age children in 25 program sites in the region. This year’s funding of $260,000 – raised from diverse partners such as Alliance Data, Boston Consulting Group, Boston Financial Data Services, Theodore Edson Parker Foundation, United Parcel Service and United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council – enables the expansion to serve over 300 more children than last year and three additional locations.

The 2015 locations will serve students from the communities of Lynn, Lawrence, Lowell, Salem, Winthrop, Peabody, Revere, Cambridge, Somerville and Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester, East Boston, Allston Brighton, Chinatown and Roxbury. Continue reading

Making a Beeline for Change


Juaddy Melo wants to create buzz. Literally.

What do honeybees and Dorchester, Massachusetts have in common? At first glance, not much. They both exist on the planet Earth. And..that appears to be where the commonality ends. Normally, when one thinks “dense urban environment” one’s mind does not immediately leap to flowery meadows with a fat bees zipping from pistil to pistil.

Sixteen year-old Juaddy Melo is here to set us all straight. The Dorchester teenager has taken it on himself to proselytize to the masses about an issue he believes has far-reaching ramifications to everyone, no matter the geography they call home.

“Bees do so much for us,” he says. “They keep our produce fresh and keep them coming in large amounts because of their pollination. If the bee population continues to decrease the less fruits and vegetables we will have. Prices will go higher and not everybody can afford that.”
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United Way & Bank of America free tax preparation partnership nets $8.8 million for working residents

BOSTON — United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley, in partnership with Bank of America, announced its 2015 free tax prep assistance program returned a total of $8.8 million to 4,975 working residents who are most in need.  The annual program provides low-income residents and families with opportunities for free tax prep assistance and help maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other credits and refunds. With a $125,000 investment from The Bank of America Charitable Foundation to United Way to coordinate the program, millions of dollars that may otherwise have gone unclaimed were returned to people’s pockets and their local communities. Continue reading