Gillette Superheroes Pack 1,200 Seriously Impressive Bags of Household Items for Families

When we heard that our partners at P&G Gillette were going to pack 1,200 full grocery-size bags stocked with household and personal care items for the families at our partner agencies, we were thrilled.  When we heard they were going to do it all in a very short time, we were concerned.  After all, it takes us over a week to pack our 5,500 similarly sized Thanksgiving grocery bags every year for Thanksgiving Project!

Fortunately, Gillette was undaunted and had superheroes on hand who were up to the task.  Pumped up for their superhero-themed campaign this month, employees took shifts packing the bags and quickly filled them all with crazy impressive efficiency.  On Friday morning, 26 United Way partner agencies – from Lawrence, to Lynn, to Roxbury – pulled up their cars to the loading dock and Gillette employees greeted them with a smile and quickly filled up their cars with the bags of much needed items for the youth and families that they serve. Continue reading

Who Danced it Better: Patriots or Hyde Square Task Force?

Patriots help create NFL Play 60 fitness zone at Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain and join kids in one of their favorite off-field workouts: dancing!


Watch the amazing VIDEO on Instagram of the salsa dance the HSTF youth taught the players. Tell us who you think danced it best!  You can also see more photos on Facebook.

Teens at the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain received a special treat on Monday as part of the NFL and United Way’s annual Hometown Huddle – not only a new Play 60 fitness room, but the opportunity to work out with Patriots players Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater and Zach Moore in one of their favorite exercises: dancing!

Patriots players teamed up with United Way and volunteers to transform Hyde Square Task Force’s dance studio into a multi-purpose fitness room.  As part of the afternoon’s activities, players also talked with the kids about being active and healthy and joined the organization’s dance team in practicing a group dance number. Continue reading

Mayor Walsh Launches Office of Financial Empowerment

United Way and LISC to fund new financial opportunity centers in Dudley Square and Financial District

Roxbury FSC Big Check

BOSTON – Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Vice Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Cities of Opportunity Task Force, launched a wide-ranging effort to address poverty and income inequality in Boston with the help of several partners. Joined by Michael K. Durkin, President and CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and representatives from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Jewish Vocational Service, Mayor Walsh announced the formation of a new Office of Financial Empowerment. The collaborative effort, part of Mayor Walsh’s pledge to tackle systemic inequality, will allow the City and its partners to better align their work on the issue, develop creative strategies, and deliver coordinated services to residents. Continue reading

The Soul of a City


A community rallies, an organization serves and a city rich in history looks to the future. This is Haverhill.

The Merrimack River flows with history on its banks, an artery that binds once-great cities of industry like Lawrence, Lowell and Manchester, NH together. Haverhill is one of these cities, a one-time booming town that made its name in shoe manufacturing during the height of the Industrial Revolution, earning the nickname “The Queen Slipper City of the World.”

But you know the rest of the story. Like its sister cities, Haverhill took a series of economic body blows over the years. The vibrant shoe industry moved overseas and a fruitful relationship with Western Electric & Lucent Technologies from the late 1940s through 2008 evaporated, eventually leaving Haverhill searching.

For fifty years, Community Action, Inc., a United Way partner agency, has served the people of Haverhill and Essex County, bearing witness to the ebb and flow of the city’s fortunes. Originally founded by local residents in 1964 to work together to address poverty, Community Action has since grown to be a presence in 11 cities and towns throughout the Northeast corner of Massachusetts. Continue reading

How United Way Women are Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders

This morning, more than 1,200 female business and community leaders came together to  celebrate the power of women for United Way’s 19th Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast.  We always look forward to this one, as it is one of the year’s most inspiring events (in our own humble opinion!), and this year was no different.

Our amazing co-chairs shared their personal stories of why they are involved with United Way and the WLC, from experiencing United Way’s impact first-hand as part of a struggling community agency that needed support, to getting more and more involved through volunteering.

Keynote speaker Wes Moore talked about the difference between opportunity and potential, and reminded us that “Our job is to be as passionate about our own future as theirs, because the two are unbelievably intertwined.”

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50 Days of Thanks

At United Way, we have a lot to be thankful for:

  • A network of 185 high-performing community-based organizations that make a difference in our community every day.
  • 60,000 donors that support our work with their generosity.
  • Volunteers who graciously give their time and talent to help others.
  • ‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice and apple cider.

And we want to celebrate ALL of that!

As today marks 50 days until Thanksgiving, we are kicking off a #50DaysofThanks social media campaign and will be posting every day on Facebook and Twitter something that United Way staff, community partners, and friends are thankful for – anything from the most gratifying aspects of our work, to a day of beautiful fall sunshine. Continue reading

United Way’s PE/VC Associates Map Out a Unique Volunteer Opportunity

The wind wreaked havoc with the stencils, but the country music kept everyone going strong. On September 20, on a breezy, balmy day in Mattapan, members from United Way’s Private Equity/Venture Capital Associate Council converged on Dr. Catherine Ellison-Rosa Parks Early Education School for a unique volunteer opportunity.

Their mission: to paint a huge, full-color map of the world on an otherwise blank playground. It was easier said than done, especially when the bluster kicked up and the paint started to splatter. Not to be deterred, the volunteers put their heads down, powered through, cranked the Jason Aldean, and by day’s end, the map was a masterpiece.

“With my job schedule, it’s nearly impossible to find meaningful time during the week to get involved with the community,” said Suruchi Mehta of Riverside Partners. “So, giving up a Saturday is a fun way to get more in touch with the local community and help others out and it’s a great way to add something different to my usual weekend activities.”
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The Great India Adventure: Greetings from Across the World!


United Way staff and the Project YELL Youth Venture team from Lynn have embarked on the adventure of a lifetime, going to India to participate in the international Design for Change conference, meeting other like-minded youth focused on social impact and seeing the sights of a foreign country. Our own Sunindiya Bhalla has been dispatching real-time updates. Enjoy!

After traveling for over 24 hours straight, two layovers, three flights, and four airports later we made it to Ahmedabad in one piece! The kids are champs, not a single complaint and just so excited by everything! The kids are embracing Indian food and were not at all scared by the death defying car and bus rides over the roller-coaster like rides full of potholes and horn-honking.

We definitely sweated off a few pounds in the sunny, humid 97 degrees yesterday. Our hotel is very modern. We are staying here with teams from 20 other countries!  Our Lynn team did an awesome job performing their song (really, not being biased here, they were by far one of the best) during country performances.  You can listen to the song here!

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Donors from John Hancock Get a First-Hand Look at the Power of their Gifts

On a gorgeous Fall day, a group of donors were given a great opportunity to see, up close and personal, how their support is changing lives.

As part of the John Hancock campaign, United Way and the volunteer engagement team took donors out to see their impact in the community first hand. They learned about the collaborations among United Way partner agencies and got an in depth look at community revitalization and development in the Hyde/Jackson neighborhood of Jamaica Plain (read more about the project here).

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Wild World of Learning in Waltham

The road to school readiness can be as easy as a walk in the park! Visit our new Learning Trail in Waltham, or turn a visit to your local playground in a Brain Building Zone for children by exploring the shapes, colors, and sounds of the natural world.

Tips for Brain Building at your local park:

  • Look for shapes in the clouds
  • See how your shadow changes when you move
  • Compare the different colors and shapes of leaves from the trees
  • Look for different shapes in the signs or playground equipment
  • Count the steps from car to playground


Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, United Way and Sallie Mae Cut the Ribbon on New Waltham Learning Trail for Area Children

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