Communities Across the State Promote the Importance of “Brain Building”

PrintFor the fourth year in a row, Massachusetts is celebrating “Brain Building in Progress” week to promote the importance of quality environments and experiences in young children’s learning and development.  For one week every year, parents, business leaders, educators, and leaders from over 80 communities host special events both during the official celebration week from April 12th – 19th, as well as throughout the month of April, to help build young minds and a more prosperous future for everyone in Massachusetts.    Continue reading

EEC and United Way Announce Brain Building in Progress Week in Massachusetts


BBiP Week 2015 pic

BOSTON – Recognizing the importance of enriching opportunities in children’s healthy development and learning, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley (United Way) announced today the kick-off of Brain Building in Progress Week in Massachusetts.

From April 12 to 18, families, educators, business leaders, and other partners engage in activities that support the importance of early enriching environments and experiences to the future success of young children.  These efforts are part of Massachusetts’ statewide campaign, Brain Building in Progress, that advances the critical role that adults play in fostering children’s brain development and learning.

Governor Baker signed a proclamation to declare April 12 to 18 as Brain Building in Progress Week in Massachusetts, which coincides with the national Week of the Young Child.  Throughout the week, EEC and United Way are providing resources to families that include tips for having “brain building moments” with children such as pointing out and naming items while grocery shopping, counting the number of stops while riding the bus or train, and asking open-ended questions after reading a story. Continue reading

Remembering Norman B. Leventhal

Toq-Sidman-Leventhal 2012
Norman B. Leventhal (1917-2015), with his daughter, Paula Sidman (left) and his grand-daughter, Hope Sidman at United Way’s Tocqueville Society celebration in 2012.

The Greater Boston business and nonprofit communities are remembering a real estate and philanthropic icon, mourning the loss of Norman B. Leventhal.    Like the imprint he left through his work on the City of Boston, Norman left an indelible mark on United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and the children, youth and families we serve.  Continue reading

15 Years of Summer Experiences in Greater Lowell

15-SEGL-social-IconsOne summer can make the difference in a child’s future.

One evening makes that possible for the children of Greater Lowell: the Martini Spring Fling.

Thanks to the support of many generous donors in the region, over the past 15 years, we’ve raised well over $1 million for the Summer Experiences in Greater Lowell (SEGL) initiative and helped more than 30,000 youth in Greater Lowell access summer jobs and offset summer learning loss by exposing them to arts, culture, and leadership and academic skills that last a lifetime. Last year, SEGL support 13 community-based organizations, including Greater Lowell YMCA, UTEC Lowell, and Community Teamwork, Inc., and more. Continue reading

Two Weeks Left for Workers to Claim Earned Income Tax Credit

United Way’s free tax preparation effort aims to reach estimated 23% of eligible workers who leave these funds unclaimed each season

BOSTON – With Tax Day in just over two weeks, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is urging low-income workers to reach out to free tax preparation sites in their local communities to determine their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits and refunds.

The IRS estimates 23% of the Earned Income Tax Credits go unclaimed each tax season in Massachusetts. Based on last year’s information, this means approximately $166 million could go unclaimed this year by low-income working individuals. To help more eligible individuals claim these tax credits, which are often left unclaimed because people are unaware of their eligibility, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, in partnership with Bank of America, is funding free tax preparation services at 11 locations in the region.  Continue reading

(Are) Volunteers Needed?

Are corporate volunteer service projects helping nonprofits and the people they serve, or are they just busy work to make corporations look good?  That’s the question posed by Boston Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer yesterday in “Corporate volunteers can be a burden for nonprofits.”

At United Way, we work with both corporate partners and nonprofit partners year-round on a regular basis to recruit volunteers to help in the community.  We firmly believe that volunteers bring great value to the community – together, we can do more than any of us can alone.  We also believe that volunteers want to feel like they are having a meaningful impact, and that only happens when the volunteers are filling a legitimate community need.

Our constant dialogue with both corporate and community partners ensures we match company volunteers and nonprofits effectively. We recently surveyed our 180 community partners on their need for volunteer support.   Continue reading

Different industries, common mission: make a difference


What happens when the next generation of movers and shakers from different industries assemble Avengers-style to get their hands dirty on behalf of the community?

On Saturday, March 21,  a group of United Way volunteers from Community Builders (the real estate industry), Private Equity/Venture Capital and the brand new LINC group (Lead/Impact/Network/Change) came together to help out Dorchester-based VietAID.

VietAID is a community development corporation and United Way partner agency that serves the Fields Corner Vietnamese neighborhoods. provides economic development programs and services to alleviate poverty and advance civic participation.

“This helps us make a good impression and is really appreciated by all the people we serve,” said Evelyn Darling of VietAID.
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WINGs, WLC’s Young Professionals Group Takes Off!


On March 18, a new chapter in the story of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council was written–and this one had a slightly younger vibe to it!

It was there, at United Way, where WINGs was kicked off.  WINGs, or “Women Investing in the Next Generation,” was built to connect Boston’s up-and-coming women leaders (ages 21-40) to unique hands-on volunteer experiences, professional development opportunities and networking events tailored to member interests.

“This community work advances the WLC’S Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders partnership with United Way,” said Alicia Adamson, Senior Director of Affinity Programs and Events   for United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “We’ll have a special focus on reaching out to girls in under-served Boston neighborhoods.”
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Help refill the bookshelves of a preschool damaged by a roof collapse


The impact of our epic winter has continued to manifest itself, even as the snow has (barely) stopped falling.

At United Way partner agency College Bound Dorchester, they experienced this first hand when their ceiling collapsed, severely damaging four out of seven child care rooms. Along with the structural damage to the building and rooms, virtually all of the books were completely wiped out. Continue reading

21 Family Fund Partners Receive $227,000 Additional Funding to Help with Basic Needs after Harsh Winter

BOSTON – United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley has released an additional $227,000 from its Family Fund to help 21 community agencies meet the increased demand for help during this unprecedented winter.

As part of the Family Fund, United Way works with more than 26 community organizations in our region that support basic needs. This year’s “perfect storm” of winter conditions – harsh weather, extreme cold, crippling transit, and lost business and wages – has resulted in many families exhausting their limited resources to heat their homes, pay their rent, and feed their families. Continue reading