Fitchburg, Mass (September 26, 2012) - United Way of North Central Massachusetts has announced $2.5 million in grants and distributions, made during its recently completed fiscal year.
"Because of the generosity of our donors, United Way can support numerous local, vital services that are improving lives in our community," said Bob Chauvin, volunteer chairman of United Way of North Central Massachusetts.
According to Matt Johnson, volunteer chairman of United Way's Community Investment Division, each year the organization makes a combination of grants and donor distributions.
United Way's Community Impact Fund distributed 35 grants - totaling approximately $685,242 - to priorities identified through a community assessment it commissioned. It also distributed $702,812 to United Way Community Initiatives, which includes eight other programs. An additional $1.2 million went to nonprofit organizations identified by donors.
"The community assessment helps us target the most pressing issues in the community, which include youth development, public health issues, and food and shelter," said Johnson.
"Our grants from the Community Impact Fund fall into three major categories: education, health and income. These are the basic things that we need for a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, family stability, and good health," Johnson said. Annually, the fund provides over 120,000 health and human services in 19 local communities.
United Way Community Initiatives include: United Way Youth Venture, which inspires and invests in teams of young people, to design and launch their own lasting social ventures. The program is in 11school systems and has reached over 2,500 students in the past year.
Mass 2-1-1 is a free information and referral service that connects residents to health and human services in the community. Over 7,000 local residents have used the service.
United Way Distribution Services provides free and discounted products to area nonprofit organizations, which helps reduce the agencies' operating costs.
FamilyWize affords prescription discounts and savings to local residents that are uninsured or underinsured, saving area residents over $600,000 since the program was launched locally.
United Way's Supplemental Basic Needs Fund delivers food and heating assistance as additional needs are identified throughout the year. This past year over 5,500 individuals received assistance.
The Emergency Shelter Fund provides shelter to homeless individuals during cold winter nights.
United Way also helped promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) efforts, which provides no cost tax preparation to people who work and have low- to moderate wages. This past year, area residents received over $942,000 in tax refund credits through this program.
Each year, United Way raises critical health and human service support through workplace employee giving, corporate donations and individual support from the community.