United Way September Newsletter – Discover.  Connect.  See your impact



Dear [NAME]:

If someone told you your investment would yield an eight-fold return, it would be a no-brainer, right?

That's the return on social benefits for every $1 invested in early education. Eight dollars. Our future economic growth depends on it: young children ages zero to five who do not receive high quality early childhood education and services are 25% more likely to drop out of school. That's why United Way, with your support, is supporting programs and organizations that deliver high quality early education in our region.

But shaping the development of a young child takes more than money. The interaction that infants, toddlers and preschoolers have with adults matters - it literally influences the developing brain. We've put together five easy ways to engage young children.

Educational success is hard to achieve if you do not have a safe, stable home. What IF we could end family homelessness? United Way and the Boston College School of Social Work partnered this summer to launch the first-ever IF Challenge, a prize competition to identify innovative, cost-effective and feasible ideas to reduce family homelessness in the state. Read on to find out who won and why.

On a personal note, I'm looking forward to our annual Tocqueville Thank You Celebration, coming up next week, September 29th at the Museum of Science. We'll be honoring some of our most loyal and dedicated Tocqueville members, Jan Cooper and Tom O'Donnell, two individuals who truly embody what the Tocqueville Society means to our community. I hope you’ll join us.

mike durkin signature

Mike Durkin
President & CEO

Preschoolers are the key to economic growth 

Preschoolers Are the Key to Economic Growth

What if babies, toddlers and preschoolers were at the center of the most promising national policies to drive economic growth? We believe they should be. Here’s why: Young children ages zero to five who do not receive high quality early childhood education and services are 25% more likely to drop out of school.

And research from the Alliance for Excellent Education shows increasing the high school graduation rate in Massachusetts from 80% to 90%, or about 5,000 students, would result in some big economic benefits: an $80 million increase in annual earnings, a $51 million increase in annual spending and a $14 million increase in state and local tax revenue. Our strategy >>


why early education matters


September 29:Tocqueville Society Celebration
Our Tocqueville Society Celebration will take place next week at the Museum of Science. If you haven’t registered, please click here to let us know you’ll be joining us. This year we will be honoring two distinguished Tocqueville Society members:

Jan Cooper, 2016 Community Excellence Award Winner
Currently serving on the Board of Directors of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Jan has been a loyal United Way advocate, contributor and volunteer for thirty years. Jan played an important role in the founding of the Women’s Initiative, now known as Women United. She and her husband, Ray Marcinowski, recently pledged to underwrite the Innovating with Families Challenge grants.

Thomas L.P. O'Donnell, 2016 Legacy of Loyalty Award Winner
Tom is a long standing United Way advocate and Tocqueville-level donor. As a member of the Board of Directors, the Audit Committee, and the Compensation Committee, Tom has been a steady and respected leader. He has lent his organizational creativity and good will as the driver of the Millennium Fund, the Alexis De Tocqueville Cabinet, the Planned Giving Committee, and the Legal Advisory Council.

October 27: Women's Leadership Breakfast
On October 27, from 7:00 to 9:00 am at the Boston Marriott Hotel in Copley Square, United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council will host the 21st annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast. For more than two decades, the Breakfast has been the premier event for women in philanthropy in the Greater Boston area, bringing together 1,000 business and community leaders to raise awareness and support for vital programs in our region. In 2015, the Breakfast raised almost $400,000 to halt summer learning loss, create valuable youth work experiences, and fund scholarships that help remarkable young people become the first in their family to attend college.

The Breakfast will feature an empowering keynote speaker, Liz Murray, whose journey from homeless to Harvard is an inspiring triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and network with powerful philanthropic women from a variety of communities, industries and top companies in our region.

Click here to purchase tickets or host a table of your friends and colleagues. 

November 16Thanksgiving Project Leadership Family Night
This exclusive volunteer event promises an unforgettable hands-on impact opportunity for families and, as a Tocqueville member, you will receive an email with a priority registration link.


engage preschooler

Five Extremely Easy Ways to Engage a Preschooler

Brain building happens when children are exposed to enriching environments with positive stimulation and engaged in back-and-forth interactions with adults. So how do you engage your preschooler at home, with limited time and a shoestring budget? By taking advantage of things you already have and tapping into the natural interests of a 2 to 5-year-old. Ready to engage? >>

if challenge winners 

Announcing the Winners of the IF Challenge to End Family Homelessness

What IF we could get closer to ending homelessness in the state of Massachusetts? An inaugural competition sponsored by the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW) has engaged three area organizations to attempt to do just this.

The three winning solutions in the inaugural IF Challenge Prize to End Family Homelessness are diverse in their approaches, and include: taking an existing and successful eviction prevention program to scale, developing an app to connect families to housing resources, and building a campaign to leverage the highly successful Earned Income Tax Credit program to help low-income working families pay for the cost of housing. And the winners are >>

early education is critical 

Circle Time Is Where the Magic Happens

It was Fall, 1999. Newly graduated from college and on the look-out for a job, I answered an advertisement for an unlikely opportunity—assistant classroom teacher in the three year-old room at Great Bay Kids Company, a United Way partner and a childcare center based in Exeter, NH.

I’ll be honest—when I first took the job, I was expecting a fun, quasi-babysitting experience highlighted by all-you-can-eat star-shaped chicken nuggets and unlimited access to Legos. It wasn’t long before I realized there was something much bigger at work in circle time The rest of the story >>



Help shape a young mind! Instill a lifelong love of reading in preschool children by volunteering as an early reader.We'll find the perfect circle time for your schedule and proximity. Start reading >>





United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley| 51 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210| Tel: 617-624-8000 | unitedwaymassbay.org