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.”
Continue reading

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

Board Leadership: Ensuring the Region’s Nonprofits Survive and Thrive

John Hancock’s Jennifer Gugliotti (second from right) at Silver Lining Mentoring’s MATCH event last week along with,  from left, Robert & Kathleen Gugliotti, her parents, Carmela D'Amico, colleague at John Hancock, and Tim Geanakos, her husband.
John Hancock’s Jennifer Gugliotti (second from right) at Silver Lining Mentoring’s MATCH event last week along with, from left, Robert & Kathleen Gugliotti, her parents, Carmela D’Amico, colleague at John Hancock, and Tim Geanakos, her husband.

This week, Third Sector New England released “Leadership New England,” which features the results of a recent survey of 1,200 nonprofit executive directors and board members in six states.  The report, funded in part by United Way, highlights the challenges New England nonprofits face to remain healthy and sustainable over the next decade. Continue reading

Pay for Success initiative to reduce chronic homelessness launched in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA) today announced the full launch of the Massachusetts Alliance for Supportive Housing with the goal of placing nearly half of the state’s chronically homeless population in supportive housing. The program will operate as a Pay for Success (PFS) initiative, whereby initial funding is raised from private investors and the state repays the investment only if certain benchmarks are achieved. MASH will be run as a partnership of the MHSA, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Continue reading

United Ways Announce Merger Plan for North Shore and Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley Regions

'15 United Way MBMV and NS graphicThe Boards of Directors of the North Shore United Way and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today announce the two organizations intend to merge effective July 1, 2015. The new organization aims to leverage both deep knowledge of the local communities in each region as well as the ability to provide the scale of resources needed to make an impact on complex, interdependent issues such as poverty, homelessness and the achievement gap. Continue reading

Brain Building Takes Over Massachusetts

What does a preschool rhyming flash mob and a reading challenge from a city mayor have in common?

They’re both celebrating Brain Building!

Last month, parents, government leaders, and early childhood agencies across the Commonwealth celebrated “Brain Building in Progress Week” by hosting special events and sharing their Brain Building moments on social media.

Several preschools participated in a “rhyming flash mob” with students” reciting nursery rhymes at the same time in locations across Massachusetts.  And Mayor Rivera of Lawrence issued a challenged to other government leaders across the state to be brain builders by reading to kids:

Continue reading

Taking Flight


For Juan Catano, the road to success has been a difficult one–but now the young engineer is ready to take off.

The memory is so fresh Juan can smell the sun-splashed grass.

He’s young. Maybe six or seven. His father is by his side. The two are standing at the outskirts of a field just outside of Medillin, Colombia. Overhead, radio control planes dart through the sky, buzzing like wasps, piloted by the wealthy of the city. That was about when Juan fell in love with airplanes.

He fell in love with engineering not long after, when his father walked into their tiny apartment one night with a damaged motor from an RC plane. Juan had no idea where he got it; even a piece of machinery like this, which didn’t work, would have been beyond the budget of their family’s meager earnings. Deep into the evening, he and his father huddled together on the balcony and took apart the engine, combing through its innards, peering into its mechanical mysteries.

That night and those days on the mini-airfield would set Juan Catano, now 21, on a path that would lead him to the present, when he will soon graduate from Daniel Webster College with a degree in aeronautical engineering.

The journey, however, wasn’t without its turbulence. Juan’s father, a smoker since the age of eight, succumbed to lung cancer after a year-long battle, which saw him decay to the point where he needed help with the most basic of needs. It was a prolonged and devastating loss for Juan, who was just nine years old at the time. The last words he remembers from his father: “Always take care of your mother.”

Continue reading