United Way of Greater New Bedford is now accepting proposals from non-profit organizations and public entities for Community Impact funding. Community Impact grants are aimed to support the most effective existing programs and services in United Way’s target areas of health, education, financial stability, and basic needs.

    Organizations are eligible to apply for $10,000 – $25,000 for operational support to continue, maintain, or expand already existing high quality programs and services. Proposals must directly align with UWGNB’s priority areas and target issues and must have the existing infrastructure to track specific program indicators. Programs and services must be available to residents in United Way of Greater New Bedford’s service area: Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester, and Wareham.

    “Community Impact grants allow local organizations to continue and/or expand the programs and services they are offering for residents in Greater New Bedford,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO. “These grants allow us to partner with our region’s leading non-profit organizations who are delivering much needed services to residents in need. The impacts of COVID-19 have only increased or exacerbated the needs of many of our most vulnerable residents.”

    To read the full RFP and learn more about United Way’s priority areas, visit unitedwayofgnb.org/community-impact-grants. Applications are due on Friday April 23rd at noon.

    As with all United Way grants, Community Impact proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by a Citizen Review Volunteer Committee made up of community members from Greater New Bedford.

    Contact Michelle N. Hantman with any questions regarding the Community Impact grants at 508-994-9625 ext. 212. To learn more about Community Impact Grants and United Way at unitedwayofgnb.org.

    New Bedford Shannon (NBS)—a partnership between the New Bedford Police Dept. and United Way of Greater New Bedford—has been awarded $824,879 to continue its multi-pronged approach to address the community’s gang and youth violence issues using five strategy areas: social, intervention, support, opportunity, and provision. The grant value is up slightly this year from $797,438 in 2020.

    In a virtual press conference on Monday, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced $9 million to be awarded across the state through the 2021 Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr. Community Safety Initiative grant.  Since 2006, the Massachusetts Legislature has appropriated funds to support the Shannon Community Safety Initiative in an effort to reduce gang violence across the Commonwealth.  Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) helped create the initial round of program funding and has consistently advocated for additional resources for New Bedford. “We must encourage our youth to reject violence and provide the supports they need to be successful,” said Montigny. “I want to thank the United Way and their team for the incredible work they are doing alongside Chief Cordeiro and his department to make this program a critical lifeline for New Bedford’s youth.”

    NBPD Chief Joseph Cordeiro welcomed the funding and applauded the program model’s success. We continue advancing our mission to reach every at-risk kid in this city,” said Chief Joseph Cordeiro. “We are a city of one and nowhere is that more obvious than through our partnership with United Way of Greater New Bedford on this effort.”

    United Way of Greater New Bedford oversees NBS’s Outreach/Case Worker Services, which focus on identifying New Bedford youth ages 10 -24 at elevated risk for joining gangs, or those individuals at the early stages of gang involvement identified by local schools, the Courts, law enforcement and many others. This component provides risk assessment, goal setting, and wrap around supports for each youth enrolled in the program.

    “We are pleased that state officials continue to recognize and value the great work being done in the City of New Bedford to prevent and reduce youth and gang violence through initiatives like Shannon,” said United Way’s VP of Special Initiatives, Pam Cruz.

    In 2020 alone, NBS Outreach/Case Worker enrolled nearly 400 youth in the program and provided these youth with 2,400 referrals for behavioral health, family support, educational, vocational and employment services, as well as prosocial activities. The NBS Outreach/Case Worker team, under the leadership of Program Director Renee Ledbetter, spend countless hours working with many of our City’s youth to ensure they have the supports they need to stay on a positive path.

    In addition to the work NBS workers are doing with enrolled participants, in FY 20 they performed more than 3,100 hours of street outreach and responded to 36 critical incidences in the City.

    United Way of Greater New Bedford is pleased to welcome five new members to their Board of Directors: Starlene Alves, Francine Ferguson, Christopher Fortier, Jacqueline Gannon Somerville, and Amilton “A.J.” Tavares Jr.

    “We are honored to have these five individuals join our Board,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO. “Each brings so much to our work.  They possess strong qualities and skillsets that will help United Way and our programs. Most importantly, they believe in our mission and want to help us serve the community.”

    Starlene Alves was born and raised in New Bedford.  She is a partner at Alves Santos, LLP in New Bedford. She has been practicing law for over a decade after graduating from New England Law and is a member of the Massachusetts and Georgia Bar Associations. Alves also belongs to the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association.

    Francine Ferguson is the Senior Vice President/Retail Banking Officer at Bristol County Savings Bank.  She has spent over 30 years in the financial services industry cultivating changes in both operational processes and implementation of technology. Ferguson is a graduate of Roger Williams University and has completed several leadership programs and certifications.

    Christopher Fortier us the Chief Pharmacy Officer at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is responsible for the management for all aspects of Mass General’s pharmacy enterprise including all inpatient and ambulatory pharmacy services both on and off-campus. He chairs the Mass General Brigham Chief Pharmacy Officer’s Council and is responsible for leading large scale pharmacy initiatives at the health system level. He received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy. Fortier and his family have volunteered for several years with United Way at Mobile Markets and Hunger Heroes programs.

    Jacqueline Gannon Somerville is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at SouthCoast Health. She has dedicated her life to the healthcare field for over 30 years and has spent a portion of her career teaching nursing at a number of education institutions across the country. Locally, Somerville serves on the Advisory Committee for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Nursing. She is a published author and holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing from Boston College, William Connell School of Nursing.

    Amilton “A.J.” Tavares Jr. is a Licensed Realtor with Re/Max Vantage and owns his own business, A1 Athletics & Fitness. He has over ten years of experience in human services. Tavares is a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth graduate. He is dedicated to youth in New Bedford and has hosted several skill development clinics in the City to provide positive guidance to develop well-rounded student athletes.

    New Officers of the Board were also voted at the recent annual meeting. Roland Giroux of Acushnet Company as Board Chair, Dr. Shanna Howell of Bristol Community College as Vice Chair, Jennifer Olivier of CliftonLarsonAllen as Treasurer, Jennifer St. Pierre of BankFive as Clerk, and Christopher M. Hodgson of Coastal Financial as Immediate Past Chair.

    United Way of Greater New Bedford fights for the health, education, financial stability, and basic needs of every person in the 9 communities it serve. United Way is committed to making an impact by providing direct services to the community through the New Bedford Shannon and SSYI Programs, the Family Resource & Development Center, Hunger Commission, and New Bedford Community Connections Coalition. Additionally, United Way provides funding to local organizations to provide support to residents through an array programming and services. It also matches volunteers with local opportunities through Volunteer SouthCoast.

    (From left to right) Starlene Alves, Francine Ferguson, Christopher Fortier, Jacqueline Gannon Somerville, and Amilton “A.J.” Tavares Jr.

    This year marks the 21st Annual New Bedford Firefighters’ Union Toy Drive with United Way of Greater New Bedford. Each year, New Bedford firefighters collect toys and gift cards to ensure that children and teens in Greater New Bedford have a happy holiday season.

    New, unwrapped toys can be donated at any New Bedford Fire Station as well as a number of local community-minded businesses now through Monday, December 21st. Once toys are collected, a number of active and retired firefighters will spend a day sorting, filling, and delivering toy requests to organizations in Greater New Bedford.

    “This has been a tough year for so many people in our community, including the kids,” said Victoria Grasela, VP of Marketing and Community Engagement. “Let’s make this holiday brighter for the children of Greater New Bedford that have had to move away from their regular school routines and seeing friends and family.”

    All of the items collected will be delivered to local nonprofit organizations that serve youth. Some organizations that have received toys from the drive in the past include:  NorthStar Learning Centers, Donovan House, Harbour House, Family Preservation Program, PACE, and United Way’s Family Resource & Development Center. These agencies will distribute the toys to children through their various holiday activities.

    Toys can be donated at any New Bedford Fire Station or online at https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/2973VMOBJW9HE/ref=smi_ext_lnk_lcl_cl

    Please do not contact the New Bedford Fire Department with questions about the toy drive. Instead, contact United Way of Greater New Bedford with any questions at 508-994-9625 ext. 228.

    Hunger Heroes Project, Families Helping Families is a Thanksgiving packaging event the whole family can get involved with. Volunteers gather to sort and package 1,000 Thanksgiving meals for families in need in our community. The event takes place on Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd.

    Registration for Hunger Heroes 2020 will open on Wednesday, November 4th at 9am at www.volunteersouthcoast.org/aem

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, space is extremely limited and we ask that volunteers only sign up for 1 shift and that community groups do not register for this event. If you have a community group looking to give back this holiday season, please contact Meighread at mdandeneau@unitedwayofgnb.org or 508-994-9625 ext. 228.

    Click here to view Tips for registering

    COVID-19 Precautions

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are only able to have 25 people on site at a time. We are also taking the following precautions to ensure the safety of all volunteers and staff:

    • All volunteers and staff are required to wear masks the entire duration of their shift
    • All volunteers and staff are required to wear gloves when handling food items
    • Hand sanitizing stations will be visible throughout the space and volunteers and staff are encourage to sanitize or wash hands frequently
    • Upon arrival, volunteers and staff will be asked to complete a short form confirming they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms, they have not been out of state, and they have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks prior to the event. In addition, everyone will have their temperature taken prior to entering the venue.
    • Social distancing will be implemented throughout the event.

    Additionally, for those of you who have been in the past, the set-up of the event will change. Instead of one large packing assembly line, we will be breaking into 3 separate lines. Each line will have  sorters/packers and 2 meal wrappers assigned to it to further implement social distancing.

    Position descriptions:

    • Muscle Marvels & Sorting Superheroes will work to unload the boxes of collected food off of the Hunger Commission Truck. Once all food is unloaded, volunteers will unpack the boxes and sort food items. This opportunity is for volunteers 15 and older only.
    • Meal Champions are responsible for packing the meal items on the “shopping list” in a turkey tin and preparing the tin for wrapping. This opportunity is for volunteers of any age.
    • Meal Champion Wrappers are responsible for wrapping the meals once packing is completed and placing in boxes to be loaded on our truck. This opportunity is for volunteers 15 and older only.
    • Order Restoring Squad will help with the final pieces of the day. Making sure everything is loaded onto the trucks, remaining boxes are broken down, and the gym is returned to order.

    Registration options will show on November 4th at 9 am

    Unable to volunteer at this year’s event? Here’s how you can still get involved!
    1. Make a donation to Hunger Heroes to allow us to purchase the additional food items we need. Click here to donate.
    2. Purchase items off our Amazon List – items can be sent directly to our office. Click here to view the list.
    3. Host a food drive at your company or with friends and family – contact Meighread at mdandeneau@unitedwayofgnb.org to get started today.

    United Way of Greater New Bedford has launched the 67th campaign by enlisting local professionals to serve on the Campaign Cabinet and lead the way to raise money and awareness for the organization. For the second year, the Campaign Cabinet will be led by William “Bill” Eccles, Jr., retired BankFive President & CEO.

    “Under Bill’s leadership of the Campaign Cabinet last year, we saw our first increase in nearly two decades,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO of United Way. “We are confident we can repeat that this year with the team we have assembled. They are an amazing group who is dedicated to the Greater New Bedford community and understands the need for the important programs and services made possible by the money we raise through the campaign.”

    Supporting United Way’s campaign efforts are a group of talented individuals that will make an impact by serving as ambassadors for United Way on the Campaign Cabinet. The Cabinet is comprised of:

    • Joseph Borges, BankFive
    • Marlissa Briggett, Southcoast Almanac
    • Robert Collins, BankFive
    • Jimmy Costa, BankFive
    • Don Hartley, Ocean Point Investment Solutions
    • Luke Lehman, BankFive
    • Lynn Malasi, BankFive
    • Kim Perry, Waring-Sullivan Funeral Home
    • Andrea Rodrigues, BankFive
    • Brittany Schmidt, BankFive
    • Ari Sky, CFO City of New Bedford
    • Joseph Tavares, Rockland Trust

    “Once again it is my pleasure and privilege to serve as the Campaign Chair for the United Way of Greater New Bedford,” said William “Bill” R. Eccles, Jr., retired BankFive President & CEO. “Like last year, I look forward to leading a dedicated campaign cabinet that will work together and achieve success through a team effort. I have always advocated for the work and programs offered by the United Way of Greater New Bedford and now more than ever it is important that we come together and raise as much funds as we can to continue to support our community.”

    In addition to the Campaign Cabinet, United Way’s efforts are supported by Loaned Executives who provide added expertise and support to the day to day workings of the Campaign. These volunteers conduct outreach, arrange campaign presentations at local companies, and provide a wide range of support for activities and events related to the campaign. This fall, Lucas Saunders from BankFive and Michael O’Leary from BayCoast Bank will serve as Loaned Executives.

    United Way of Greater New Bedford fights for the health, education, financial stability, and basic needs of every person in the 9 communities it serve. United Way is committed to making an impact by providing direct services to the community through the New Bedford Shannon and SSYI Programs, the Family Resource & Development Center, Hunger Commission, and New Bedford Community Connections Coalition. Additionally, United Way provides funding to local organizations to provide support to residents through an array programming and services. It also matches volunteers with local opportunities through Volunteer SouthCoast.

    9/11 Day at Home Virtual Volunteering

    For nearly 2 decades, September 11th has been declared the National Day of Service & Remembrance. Community members are encouraged to volunteer throughout the SouthCoast and across the country in tribute to those who lost their lives on this day in 2001.

    This year, United Way of Greater New Bedford and Southcoast Health are partnering to promote 9/11 Day at Home Virtual Volunteering. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions, virtual volunteering will allow more people the opportunity to participate with simple tasks that will make an impact. Community members are encouraged to complete at least one of these eleven good deeds in tribute to 9/11 this Friday, September 11, 2020:

    “We hear so often that people in our community who want to make a difference and get involved, but are concerned they don’t have the time, or aren’t even sure where to start,” said Victoria Grasela, VP of Marketing & Community Engagement at United Way. “The 9/11 Day at Home is the perfect opportunity for people of all ages to do something big or small to show their support. Now, more than ever, good deeds are needed to bring people closer together.”

    United Way of Greater New Bedford has traditionally hosted their annual Day of Caring to encourage service on this important day, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Day of Caring will be hosted at a later date.

    “As part of our Southcoast Cares initiative, we’re honored to collaborate with the United Way of Greater New Bedford on these important 9/11 Day at Home Virtual Volunteering efforts,” said Southcoast Director of Community Benefits Rachel Davis. “Service is at the heart of the Southcoast mission, and we’re committed to improving health and wellness across the region through high-quality healthcare as well as community engagement to address residents’ most pressing needs.”

    Participants are encouraged to complete at least one good deed on September 11, 2020, but it doesn’t end there. In the spirit of bringing community together, United Way and Southcoast Health encourage people to complete 1 good deed everyday for the remainder of the year. Encourage others to get involved by sharing your deeds on social media and using #911daySC.

    Southcoast Health is a not-for-profit, charitable organization and the largest provider of primary and specialty care in the region, serving communities in Rhode Island and across Southeastern Massachusetts at three acute care hospitals — Charlton Memorial in Fall River, St. Luke’s in New Bedford and Tobey in Wareham — in addition to seven Urgent Care Centers, two Centers for Cancer Care, a Visiting Nurse Association and numerous ambulatory facilities in 33 communities covering over 900 square miles.

    United Way of Greater New Bedford brings together volunteers, community leaders, and corporate partners to provide quality programs and initiatives that achieve positive results. United Way fights for the health, education, financial stability, and basic needs in each of the 9 communities they serve.

    Join the National Day of Service and Remembrance this Friday, September 11, 2020.



    United Way of Greater New Bedford receives $276,525 to fund 19 AmeriCorps Members for the “New Bedford Strengthening Families” (NBSF) AmeriCorps Program

    [New Bedford, MA] – The Massachusetts Service Alliance today announced that United Way of Greater New Bedford received $276,525 in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency responsible for AmeriCorps and other national service programs. The AmeriCorps grant is administered by the Massachusetts Service Alliance.

    United Way will lead the New Bedford Strengthening Families (NBSF) AmeriCorps Program with the funding that will allow 19 AmeriCorps members to implement evidence-based interventions that strengthen families and focus on preventing child abuse and neglect at 8 host sites, including United Way. Using the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, AmeriCorps members will work to engage at least 80 parents/caregivers in parent education and 360 parents/caregivers in direct service support in the first program year.

    “This is an amazing opportunity to increase the capacity of families in the community and to unify well-known and respected community partners under one umbrella and evidence-based framework,” said Stan Brajer, Director of the New Bedford Community Connections Coalition at UWGNB. “We are incredibly excited and fortunate to have this program in our community.”

    This funding is provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering, civic engagement, and national service programs like AmeriCorps. For more than 25 years, more than 1 million dedicated Americans have joined AmeriCorps and pledged to ‘get things done.’ This year, the 75,000 AmeriCorps members serving in schools, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, will do the same as they rebuild communities, support veterans, fight the opioid epidemic, prepare students for success, foster economic opportunity, and more. Those interested in serving can learn more at AmeriCorps.gov/join.

    The Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA) administers funding from CNCS to United Way of Greater New Bedford and 24 other AmeriCorps State programs in Massachusetts. MSA is dedicated to broadening the capacity of the volunteer and service movement across the Commonwealth by providing individuals and organizations with the funding, training and support they need to strengthen communities. MSA develops and supports programs like AmeriCorps that incorporate service and volunteerism as effective strategies to address the most pressing needs in the Commonwealth. To learn more about MSA’s role across the state, visit www.mass-service.org.

    “Now more than ever, National service is an essential part of the solution to many of the day-to-day challenges facing Massachusetts as well as in response to and recovery from COVID-19,” said Emily Haber, CEO of MSA. “These AmeriCorps members will meet pressing local needs in and strengthen communities as they develop civic and leadership skills to last a lifetime. I congratulate these outstanding organizations and thank all those who serve their communities through AmeriCorps.”

    This year, over 1,500 AmeriCorps members will serve and respond to our Commonwealth’s most pressing needs. They will tutor and mentor at-risk youth ages pre-K through high school, prepare communities for natural disasters, teach young people how to grow and cook healthy foods, provide support services to refugees and immigrants, preserve and rehabilitate our forests and waters, and more.

    Click here to apply for a position with the New Bedford Strengthening Families (NBSF) AmeriCorps Program.



    Stuck at home? We’ve got you covered – Let’s kick-off summer together with Clammed Up!

    From June 12th – 19th you can be part of the festivities by purchasing a clambake with lobster from Mike’s Restaurant to enjoy in the comfort of your home, enjoy entertainment by musician Mike Silva, learn how to make what is sure to be your new favorite cocktail with The Cocktail Guru, Jonathan Pogash, and bid on our online auction filled with local getaways, seaside art, experiences and more!

    Here’s the schedule of what to expect:

    Friday, June 12

    Noon: Online auction launches

    4-6:30 pm: Clambake with lobster pick-up (#1)

    Thursday, June 18

    5 pm: Tune in on United Way of Greater New Bedford’s Facebook page for The Cocktail Guru’s “Some Good Booze” segment featuring Clammed Up’s signature cocktail

    Friday, June 19

    4-6:30 pm: Clambake with lobster pick-up (#2)

    7-10 pm: Tune in on United Way of Greater New Bedford’s Facebook page for a Clammed Up concert brought to you by musician Matthew Silva

    9 pm: Online auction closes

    Reserve your Clambake to enjoy at home during Clammed Up!

    Clambake with Lobsters are $60 each and will be cooked for you by Mike’s Restaurant and will include all the traditional items we feature at the annual clambake including: clams, linguicia, sausage, red potatoes, onion, corn on the cob, a cup of Mike’s “Award Winning” clam chowder, and of course a lobster! Meals are not complete without dessert- so we’re adding in a S’mores Black Tie Cookie!

    Clambakes can be picked up either Friday, June 12th or Friday June 14th at Mike’s Restaurant – but only if you reserve your meal ahead of time!

    Get your tickets now!


    In Greater New Bedford, residents are already feeling the impact of COVID-19. Many local businesses have closed or moved to reduced hours, workers are either out of work or struggling to find child care, and schools have been closed until May. It’s an uncertain time and many are finding themselves in financial situations where they have to choose between food, rent and/ or medication.

    United Way of Greater New Bedford is stepping in to help, and the City of New Bedford is actively supporting the effort. United Way has established the Help United – Greater New Bedford COVID-19 Response Fund to assist residents effected by the Coronavirus. This fund will provide cash assistance to out of work service workers and retired or out of work seniors over 65 in the Greater New Bedford area.

    “United Way is no stranger to helping those in most need in our community. We have been working around the clock to ensure people have what they need during this difficult and uncertain time,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO. “We’ve set up the Help United Fund to assist residents financially and our Hunger Commission is making sure local food pantries are well stocked.”

    The Help United Fund is the only local fund being endorsed by the City of New Bedford and Mayor Jon Mitchell.

    “The Covid-19 pandemic has abruptly turned upside down the lives of many of our fellow residents of Greater New Bedford, some of whom will not be eligible for federal relief.  It is with them in mind that United Way launched this fund,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “I encourage everyone in our region to step forward with whatever you can afford in support of our friends and neighbors.”

    Mayor Mitchell has appointed Christian Farland as Chairman of the Help United Response Fund.  Mr. Farland is a professional civil engineer and the founder and President of Farland Corporation, Inc., a site contracting company specializing in residential and commercial site development, and the President of Thompson Farland, Inc., a civil engineering land surveying company.

    “The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on our community is unprecedented,” said Farland. “As a business owner with deep ties to New Bedford, I am increasingly concerned for the service workers in our cities and towns, laid off or working reduced hours that compromise their ability to provide for their families. I am confident in United Way of Greater New Bedford’s ability to effectively raise and designate resources to those in need, and proud to support this effort.”

    You can make a donation to the Help United Fund by texting HELPUNITED to 313131 or visiting unitedwayofgnb.org.

    “We aren’t sure how long our community will be impacted by the coronavirus, but the more donations we receive, the longer we will be able to support residents and keep them in their homes,” said Hantman.

    Those looking for assistance from the fund can review the guidelines and apply at unitedwayofgnb.org/help-united.

    In addition to the financial assistance to residents, United Way’s Hunger Commission continues to deliver food to pantries in Greater New Bedford. Restaurants with food they are unable to use are encouraged to donate their food to the Hunger Commission by calling 508-994-9625.Those looking for food assistance should visit unitedwayofgnb.org to see an up-to-date list of open pantries and their hours.

    Anyone with questions regarding COVID-19 should dial 2-1-1 to get information. Mass 211 is a 24/7, free, confidential hotline that provides information on local resources. 211 has been designated by the Department of Public Health to answer your questions. Mass 211 is funded by local United Ways.