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United Way Collective Impact Fund


United Way Collective Impact Fund

Thanks to our donors, United Way of North Central Massachusetts supports nearly 35 programs through its Collective Impact Fund. 


United Way Youth Venture helps to empower young people by providing them all the tools necessary to create civic-minded organizations, clubs or businesses.  Students interested in launching a team, work with an adult Champion within each collaborating partner, identifying an ally (non-controlling adult mentor) to work through the application process, to help make their idea a tangible project benefiting the greater community. Success is measured not only by the number of teams launched but also by measurement of personal and academic indicators before and during participation in the program. 

UWYV does not have a clear point of exit, or end; as the program is truly transformative in nature, and creates such investment and ownership on the part of leading participants that many youth continue to engage in the program, and support their venture after they graduate from high school.

A Venture can be any youth-created, youth-led organization designed to provide a positive lasting benefit in a school, neighborhood, or larger community.  Participants are granted access to a variety of resources, including: skill-building workshops and trainings, grant and scholarship opportunities, media opportunities and up to $1,000 in seed capital needed to launch their organizations.

In North Central Massachusetts, the program now touches over 8,000 students. To learn more, click here

United Way Early Childhood Literacy Initiative  – Did you know that studies show that on average in middle-income homes, there are 13 age-appropriate books per child? In low-income homes, there is ONE book per 300 children.  Did you know that kindergarten preparedness directly improves 3rd-grade reading skills? And that better 3rd-grade reading levels improve graduation rates?

United Way Early Childhood Literacy is in the process of transitioning from Dolly Parton Imagination Library to another exciting program that will reach far more children. Please check back for details. 

EDUCATION (Other programs United Way supports) 


  • 21st Century Scholars Afterschool Program - Helps students meet school standards in subjects such as reading and math. Increases student achievement in literacy, math, communication and problem-solving; assists with homework & helps develop effective habits for learning.
  • Bridging the Gap - Addresses multiple determinants of emerging anti-social behavior in first time juvenile offenders and other at/high risk youth.  A 12-week comprehensive life-skills program offered in the Fitchburg and Gardner areas. 
  • Scholarship Program - Scholarship program to allow for 75 children to attend Camp Lowe for one week during the summer months. Camp Lowe operates during the summer months for 9 weeks.
  • Community Partnerships  - Enhances school and community-based youth violence prevention programs.  Provides knowledge to help understand the seriousness and long term ramifications of violent behavior.  
  • Fitchburg Community Based After School Program Collaborative – Programming addressing the prevention of youth violence, drug abuse & teen pregnancy.  Geared to engage low-income children and youth with a collaboration of existing, successful programs.  
  • Fitchburg High School Plato Credit Recovery Program –  Addresses the need of students who had been or are on the verge of dropping out of high school.  Under the guidance of a math teacher, ELA teacher, and a guidance counselor students complete classes they need to graduate. 
  • HOPE for Kids - Afterschool program for low-income children in K-12 in Gardner and neighboring communities. Committed to a “whole child” approach and works closely with families to bridge the gap between home and school.
  • Males Advocating Change – (MAC) works to develop the peer leadership potential of young males by addressing the male culture of violence, and particularly sexual violence towards women and children. MAC works to engage middle school, high school, and college-aged males throughout North Central Mass. in the prevention of sexual & dating violence, harassment, and bullying.
  • HOPE Summer Camp - Provides a positive summer camp experience for those who would not otherwise have one! Provides breakfast & lunch to children who might not otherwise get healthy meals during the summer.   
  • Project Learn – Specifically designed to develop positive and effective study habits while addressing and decreasing behavioral problems during school hours through learning successful methods of information retention through a reward system. \
  • Power Hour – Power Hour - Afterschool program designed to engage youth in learning, encourage academic success and become lifelong learners.         
  • Sexual Assault Youth Education (SAYE) Program - Provides age and culturally appropriate education/prevention services designed to change social norms within communities to reduce the perpetration of sexual assault across the lifespan.
  • Strengthening Families Collaborative – Provides support to at-risk families throughout the region through collaboration with Strengthening Families Alliance (15 collaborative partners including CAFS).
  • Teen Center - Provides services to the middle & high school youth by offering opportunities that will help develop their social & leadership skills through structured activities, homework help, classes, volunteerism, & involvement in the community.
  • Youth Program - Provides services to youth  (12 years) offering recreational activities that enhance academic, & social development in a safe, supportive, & supervised environment.
  • Homework Center- Provides after-school homework support to at-risk youth living in Fitchburg's Green Acres Village. The Homework Center aims to provide a safe environment where youth have access to homework assistance and the opportunity to participate in organized, educational and recreational activities. 
United Way Combat Hunger Initiative is designed so local children and families don't go hungry. United Way launched this innovative program that relies on volunteers to package nutritious meals that are delivered to local food pantries.
Statistics don’t always tell the whole story. 
1 in 5 or 6 children are food-insecure. What does that mean for our community?
In Gardner, 700 children don’t have enough food; 
Fitchburg, 1,837; 
Leominster, 1,545; 
Athol, 541.
 In the 22 communities we serve, it means too many kids don't have enough food.  
Through our partnership with Outreach Inc., we are able to package a meal that will feed a family of four for $1.36.  And best of all, they taste great and are healthy.
For our community to thrive, everyone needs food security. It is critical—especially for children—to have healthy and nutritious meals so they can learn, grow and be successful. To learn more, click here.
HEALTH (Other programs United Way supports) 
  • Action Health Services - Provides substance abuse counseling, personal addiction identification, while working through the stages of addiction and rehabilitation in order to prevent the outcome of relapse. This program engages in collaboration with other local agencies who have the availability to provide long-term services to recently rehabilitated individuals.
  • Companion/Escort Volunteer Program - Services to elders and disabled adults to enable them to continue living independently in their homes through a range of services: companionship, escort to and from medical appointments, shopping assistance, respite for caregivers,  S.H.I.N.E., referrals, and telephone reassurance.
  • Medical Transportation - Coordinated travel arrangements to & from out of town medical appointments for elderly & disabled individuals in rural areas.
  • Summer Fun Program - Provides breakfast & lunch for income-eligible kids 0-18, as well as educational, craft & recreational programs with a mentoring component for children 13 & up - during the summer months.
  • Aralia Shelter (food pantry)- A confidential emergency shelter for victims of domestic abuse and their children who are in imminent danger of physical harm.
  • Basic Life Skills & Emergency Assistance - Provides Emergency Material Assistance (food, clothing, shelter) to individuals and families in need.
  • CARE AIDS Services Food Resource Program - A multi-service program that provides a Food Resource Program for individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the area.
  • Comprehensive Emergency Assistance - Provides emergency assistance for those in need.  Helps with food assistance, rental/mortgage, utility assistance, emergency disaster services, camp experiences, seasonal assistance, referrals, clothing and furniture.
  • Emergency Assistance - Serves low-income clients, addressing issues of poverty such as hunger/malnutrition, along with immediate crisis such as rental eviction, house foreclosure and utility terminations.  Provides for basic human needs.
  • Fellowship Table Program - Provides a free nutritious, balanced meal for individuals in need in a safe environment.  Predominately addressing hunger and malnutrition, this meal site also serves as an outlet for isolated individuals to share a common meal, socializing with others in a hospitable location.
  • Homeless Outreach - Provides homeless outreach to North Central Massachusetts.
  • Food Pantry - Provides food to families and individuals who have no food and no resources to obtain food.  Provides food on a regular basis to households in need in the greater Fitchburg area.
  • Food Pantry - Food Pantry to provide groceries and referrals to people in need in the Nashoba region.
  • Family Shelter – Provides safe and clean housing in a congregate setting, addressing the needs of up to eight families.  Through volunteer and staff network helps each family transition back to permanent housing through case management and benefit assistance.
United Way Supplemental Basic Needs Fund provides emergency food and heating assistance to local nonprofit providers. United Way proactively reaches out to the services providers (food pantries and agencies that provide heating assistance) to gauge the demand for basic needs.

When the demand exceeds the needs, United Way will make additional grants. To learn more, click here. 
FINANCIAL STABILITY (Other Programs United Way supports)
  • Money Management Program- This program provides services to ensure financial stability and security for elders and younger disabled adults in the community through either Bill Payer volunteers or Representative Payee staff.
  • Literacy Volunteers - Promotes & fosters literacy, teaching adults to read, write & speak English. One-to-one tutoring for adults who struggle with limited literacy skills as well as students who cannot function due to lack of English language skills.
  • Transition to Independent Living (TIL) Services - Assists older adolescents & young adults to take charge of their lives & reach their fullest potential. Youth receive intensive case management including links to area resources & educational and vocational referrals. Youth and young adults have the opportunity to learn crucial skills necessary to function and compete in the adult world.
  • Intellectual/developmental Disabilities - This program provides individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, and their families, with support groups, information/referral for community resources, including support workshops. Services are designed to reduce family stress and enable parents to provide for their developmentally disabled loved one at home, keeping the family healthy and intact.
  • United Way Volunteer Center - It is the volunteer center for North Central Massachusetts. It connects volunteers with opportunities and resources to address important community issues.