United Way of Mass. Bay, Music in Common Raise Funds

December 3, 2017 — The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, based in Boston, recently raised $502,000 at an annual breakfast to support early education, while Music in Common in Sheffield has raised $45,000 toward replacing lost federal funding that supported a program to combat violent extremism.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley Raises $025K

The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley last week announced that it raised $502,000 at its annual investor-focused leadership breakfast to advance early education efforts in the region.

United Way said $106,000 of the total raised was generated in five minutes through mobile giving.

The twenty-fourth annual Private Equity & Venture Capital Leadership Breakfast celebrated the importance of early education to the academic success of children and youth as well as the building of the state's future workforce and long-range economic prosperity.

The event showcased DRIVE, launched four years ago, one of United Way’s innovative, data-driven early childhood programs aimed at providing developmental screening to at-risk children in Boston. Funds raised this year will enable to program to continue to expand in Boston and other communities, including Lynn.

To date, DRIVE has screened 6,000 young children, helping to identify developmental delays earlier and connect parents and children to early intervention services. United Way said results from these screenings show that more than 42% of children in Greater Boston with potential or strong concern of not developing on track. When rescreened, 62% of the children who had “strong concerns” for delays showed improvement.

According to United Way, more than one-third of Boston children entering kindergarten do not have the skills to succeed. By third grade, two-thirds of children are not reading proficiently. The organization said these numbers are strong predictors of future graduation rates, incomes, and the region’s long-range economic prosperity.

Music in Common on Track to Replacing Rescinded Grant

Music in Common, a nonprofit that aims to strengthen, empower, and connect communities through music, which lost $159,000 when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earlier this year rescinded funding, announced that a fundraiser held recently generated $45,000 toward replacing the lost grant.

The Obama administration in January announced the funding from the Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program, but in June the Trump administration revoked the funds, which were earmarked for nearly half of Music in Common's Journalism As Music Multimedia and Songwriting program, according to a report in The Berkshire Eagle.

Music in Common is looking to replace all the funding by Dec. 31, including funds to be raised from an auction this month of a Yamaha Model FG800 guitar donated by singer/songwriter James Taylor.

"It was devastating to lose the funding," the paper quoted Todd Mack, founder and director of Music in Common.

Music in Common was founded in the memory of Daniel Pearl, the former Berkshire Eagle reporter who was killed in Pakistan in 2002 while on assignment for The Wall Street Journal.