United Way of Mass. Bay Gets $150K to Support Nonprofit Aid

February 28, 2019 — The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley in Boston yesterday announced that it received a $150,000 grant from the National Grid Foundation, which will be distributed to six eastern Massachusetts nonprofits to provide emergency fuel financial assistance to families in need this winter.

The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley said it will distribute the funds to six community-based organizations serving several cities, including Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Quincy, and Somerville.

The cash assistance can be used to pay for any type of fuel, including oil, gas, electricity, and propane.

“When an emergency or an unexpected financial crisis hits, families should not be forced to choose between paying for food, fuel or their rent or mortgage payments,’ said Michael K. Durkin, United Way president and chief executive officer. “But we know this need is there.

"Last year, United Way’s Mass 2-1-1 helpline received over 9,400 requests for help with just these three basic needs. The funding from the National Grid Foundation is critical to our efforts to provide families in crisis with direct emergency assistance.”

Due to get $25,000 each from the grant are the following nonprofits that are working to reduce poverty, among other actions to improve life for under-resourced communities: “We are pleased to again be able to help our neighbors by supporting the United Way’s Family Fund,” said Ed White, executive director of the National Grid Foundation, “For the fourteenth year in a row, this partnership helps connect people with emergency assistance and basic needs when they need it most.”

The National Grid Foundation said it has supported United Way’s efforts in this area for 14 years, which has totaled $1.5 million.

The new funds are being distributed through United Way’s Family Fund, which helped 1,800 families across eastern Massachusetts last year make ends meet by assisting with basic needs such as heating, food, and housing. According to the United Way, a new report by Prosperity Now shows that only 56% of Massachusetts families report keeping emergency savings in the past year. According to Pew research, 60% of households in America experienced a financial shock in the past 12 months.