United Way of Greater New Bedford (UWGNB) was recently recognized for their work around volunteerism and the Service Enterprise Initiative (SEI). At the 2019 Massachusetts Conference on Volunteerism on May 7, UWGNB received the Service Enterprise Initiative Champion Award presented by the Massachusetts Service Alliance (MSA). MSA is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as the state commission on service and volunteerism and administers the SEI program in Massachusetts.

United Way of Greater New Bedford completed the SEI program and became a certified Service Enterprise in 2016. The goal of the SEI program is to help organizations enhance their nonprofit capacity through the fundamental and strategic use of volunteers and their skills to address true community needs. SEI components include a research-based assessment of existing organizational volunteer engagement practices, team-based change management training to re-imagine ways to better utilize and engage volunteers, and individualized coaching to address unique organizational opportunities and challenges.

Since becoming a certified Service Enterprise, UWGNB has increased its annual number of volunteers, improved volunteer retention rates, obtained funding for volunteer programming, and grown awareness of its Volunteer SouthCoast website. Additionally, the organization has significantly improved its Return on Volunteer Investment (ROVI); in 2016, the volunteer contribution to the agency was valued at $43,452, and the ROVI was $2.49 for every $1 invested. In 2018, the volunteer contribution rose to $68,171, and the ROVI increased to $3.45.

“We are pleased to be honored by the Massachusetts Service Alliance with the Service Enterprise Initiative Champion Award,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President and CEO of United Way of Greater New Bedford. “Service Enterprise has made a huge difference in the way we approach volunteerism at United Way and we’re proud to partner with MSA to bring this initiative to our community to help other organizations on the SouthCoast increase their capacity as we have.”

After participating in the trainings, implementing change in the organization, and becoming certified, UWGNB began coaching other organizations undergoing the Service Enterprise certification process. They have coached 12 organizations in the South Coast region since 2016.

“When an organization embraces Service Enterprise on all levels, great things happen,” says Emily Haber, CEO of the Massachusetts Service Alliance. “We are proud to honor United Way of Greater New Bedford, who joined our South Coast cohort in 2015 and began teaching the model to other organizations in 2016. They are an outstanding example of the power of Service Enterprise as they have fully, and with great impact, integrated this model into their organization.”

In Massachusetts, 38 nonprofit organizations and agencies have received their Service Enterprise Initiative certification. The Service Enterprise Initiative is administered nationally by Points of Light, with a network of hubs operating in over 20 states. If you would like more information about the Service Enterprise Initiative, please visit mass-service.org or call 617-542-2544.

Join the fight against hunger in Greater New Bedford by simply walking to your mailbox on Saturday, May 11th!  Join the National Association of Letter Carriers SE MA Merged Branch 18, the US Postal Service and United Way of Greater New Bedford for the 27th annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive and help us Stamp Out Hunger!

“Last year, Stamp Out Hunger collected 21,000 lbs of food in just one day in Greater New Bedford,” said Victoria Grasela, Director of Marketing & Community Relations United Way of Greater New Bedford. “We’re hoping to surpass this number on May 11th. United Way is a proud supporter of these efforts and encourage everyone to do what they can to help stock the shelves of local pantries.”

To participate in Stamp Out Hunger, leave a non-perishable food item or bag of items (every little bit helps!) by your mailbox or on your porch. Food will be collected by your letter carrier during your normal mail delivery. Non-perishable food may include: cereals, beans, rice, canned meats, tuna, soups, vegetables, peanut butter, jellies or jams, pasta, tomato sauces, pancake mix or juices. For safety reasons, we ask that no glass containers be donated to avoid breakage and that food has not expired.

Food collected by letter carriers throughout the day will be brought to local post offices where it is sorted and packed for food pantries to take back to stock their shelves. Pantries benefiting from Stamp Out Hunger locally include Catholic Social Services, The Family Pantry- Damien’s Place, M.O. Life Food Pantry, PACE, The Salvation Army, and Shepherd’s Pantry.

Since the beginning of the drive, nearly 1.3 billion pounds of food has been collected, 70 million pounds of that collected locally! Each year the drive collects between 40,000- 70,000 pounds of food for local pantries.

Through its Hunger Commission Network and partnership with the local postal workers union, United Way serves as a local convener for this effort.

Anyone interested in volunteering to assist letter carriers in collecting the food on their routes throughout Greater New Bedford during the course of the day may arrange to do so by calling Richard Drolet at 508-801-2881 by Thursday evening, May 9th.

Be sure to join us Saturday, May 11th, and leave a non-perishable item or bag of items by your mailbox or on your porch and help us Stamp Out Hunger in Greater New Bedford!





Each year, millions of people around the world donate their precious time to non-profit organizations like United Way of Greater New Bedford. It’s often said that, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” This stands true for all of the volunteers we interact with throughout the year. Whether they volunteer within our office with day-to-day functions, serve on our Board of Directors, serve on a committee, volunteer at an event, or with our Hunger Commission, we could not do what we do without their continued support.

April 7th – April 13th is National Volunteer Week, a chance for us and others to reflect on the work done by volunteers, show our gratitude for their service, and encourage others to share their time and talents within our community.  Volunteers, no matter the time commitment, age, or ability, help to make the impossible, possible and help organizations reach further and have a deeper impact.

If you are not already volunteering with an organization locally and want to make a difference, start by visiting our online database at www. volunteersouthcoast.org. Volunteer SouthCoast has hundreds of opportunities listed for people of all ages, abilities, and time commitments. This is a free resource to find opportunities on the SouthCoast. Why not give an hour, a Saturday, or make a pledge to yourself to volunteer monthly? Find what’s right for you and give the gift of you!

We thank all of our volunteers who have served with us over the past year – they embody what it means to LIVE UNITED, and we look forward to another successful year with their help!

Michelle N. Hantman
President & CEO
United Way of Greater New Bedford



United Way of Greater New Bedford recently hosted the Live United Celebration to honor community members, organizations, and businesses that have supported its work in the areas of health, education, and financial stability.

“For 65 years, United Way of Greater New Bedford has been a pillar in the community with its work,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO. “We are only able to strengthen our community with the continuous support of local companies, organizations, and individuals. The Live United Celebration allows us the chance to express our gratitude to those who have helped us make an impact.”

Acushnet Company received the most honors with the Major Firms Platter, the Navigator Award, and the Rockefeller Award for their commitment and contributions to United Way over the past year. BankFive, BayCoast Bank, City of New Bedford, Eversource, and UPS also received the Rockefeller Award for their successful workplace campaigns and corporate contributions.

Bristol County Savings Bank, High Point, Southcoast Health, Stop & Shop and St. Anne’s Credit Union were awarded the Corporate Excellence Award. BankFive and Coastline Elderly Services received the Campaign Excellence award for tripling their workplace campaigns and supporting United Way by hosting collection drives and encouraging employee volunteerism.

Spherion was awarded with the LIVE UNITED 365 Award for its loyal commitment to the United Way’s small business campaign. United Way also honored Turk’s Seafood with the Holiday Spirit Award for raising money for families through the Holiday Wishes program with Fun 107 and United Way.

The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation received the Hunger Heroes Award for its support of United Way’s hunger relief initiatives. This past year, they donated 22,000 pounds of food to the United Way’s Hunger Commission that allowed pantries to keep their shelves stocked for the holidays and into the new year.

In addition to the company awards, United Way honored several individuals for their commitment to United Way by giving, advocating, and volunteering. Wendy Joblon was awarded the Women United Luminary Leader Award for her guidance and dedication to the launch Women United’s inaugural Power of the Purse event. Sarah Korolnek received the Live United Award for her continuous efforts to raise awareness for United Way’s role in the community and to further extend the organization’s reach.

United Way also recognized two individuals with the Community Champion Award – Stephanie Pickup from Care Free Homes and New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro. Stephanie is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for United Way. She serves on several committees, volunteers with her family at events such as Hunger Heroes and Mobile Market, and continuously thinks of how she can incorporate United Way into her work at Care Free Homes. Chief Cordeiro has been an integral part of United Way’s programming including New Bedford Community Connections Coalition, the Safe & Successful Youth Initiative and the New Bedford Shannon Program. His work and dedication to the City of New Bedford and United Way has made an impact in the lives of many residents.

Other volunteers recognized at the event included Loaned Executives and the Campaign Cabinet. Their service during the year assists in extending the reach of United Way. The Campaign Celebration was sponsored by BankFive, BayCoast Bank, and Bristol County Savings Bank.

The United Way of Greater New Bedford is a non-profit organization that was established in 1953. The United Way brings together volunteers, community leaders, and corporate partners to provide quality programs and initiatives that achieve positive results.  Its service area, which has a population in excess of 197,000, includes the City of New Bedford and surrounding towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester and Wareham.

United Way of Greater New Bedford is announcing requests for proposals for two of its funding streams, Community Impact and Summer Fund.

The Community Impact RFP invites nonprofit organizations and public entities to apply for $10,000 – $25,000 for operational support to continue, maintain, or expand already existing high quality programs and services. Programs and services must align with United Way’s impact areas of Health, Education, Financial Stability, and Basic Needs and 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.

Organizations and public entities interested in applying for a Community Impact grant must first submit a Letter of Intent between March 8 – 24, 2019, to United Way of Greater New Bedford.  The Letter of Intent should be submitted electronically at unitedwayofgnb.communityforce.com.  Organizations should describe how their programs align with United Way’s mission and impact areas, the expected outcomes of the program, etc.  For those organizations selected to submit a full application after the letter of intent phase, the full application will open April 1st and proposals are due by April 21, 2019, at unitedwayofgnb.communityforce.com.

The Summer Fund RFP invites nonprofit organizations to apply for up to $5,000 to support summer programming through youth employment and camperships. Programs must operate between June – August 2019, and serve youth in Greater New Bedford. The application opens on March 11 and all applications must be received electronically at unitedwayofgnb.communityforce.com by April 5, 2019.

“Community Impact and Summer Fund grants have impacted many lives in Greater New Bedford,” said Anne Nichelson, VP of Community Impact. “This year we hope to support the high quality work being done in our community to ensure meaningful impact for residents.  We want residents to get what they need to thrive.”  Contact Anne Nichelson with any questions regarding the Community Impact or Summer Fund grants at 508-994-9625 ext. 215.


Do you have an idea for a project that will benefit your neighborhood, school or community? For the 24th year, United Way of Greater New Bedford’s Community Building Mini-Grants Program is offering grants of up to $2,500 to support all-volunteer groups looking to build a stronger community. 

Groups with budgets of $40,000 or less located in Greater New Bedford (Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, New Bedford, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, or Wareham) are eligible to apply. Potential projects must be in one of United Way’s impact areas of health, education, financial stability, or basic needs.

Volunteer groups are encouraged to attend an information session to learn more about the Mini-Grants Program and application process. Information sessions will be held on Tuesday, March 5th  from 10:00 – 11:30 am or 5:00 – 6:30pm at the New Bedford Free Public Library located at 613 Pleasant St. 3rd Floor, New Bedford. Registration is required for the sessions, please call 508-994-9625 ext. 219 or email rsilvia@unitedwayofgnb.org.

“The Mini-Grants program empowers community members to join together to make an impact in an area where they see a need. We also hope it inspires others to do the same,” said Michelle N. Hantman President & CEO.

Applications will be available March 5st at unitedwayofgnb.communityforce.com and will only be accepted electronically. Grants must be submitted by April 12, 2019.

In 2018, twenty-four all-volunteer groups made an impact throughout Greater New Bedford with projects funded by United Way’s Mini-Grant Program. Since its inception in 1995, the Mini-Grants Program has granted $795,314 for local community projects. Be a change agent in Greater New Bedford, visit unitedwayofgnb.org to learn more about the Mini-Grants Program.

This year marks the 20th 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 10th. 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 initiative has embodied community spirit for the past two decades,” said Victoria Grasela, Director of Marketing & Community Relations at United Way of Greater New Bedford. “Each year hundreds of members of the Greater New Bedford community come together to ensure that Christmas remains a special time for local families.. We are especially grateful to the New Bedford Firefighters’ Union for its commitment to the initiative.”

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: Meeting Street/Schwartz Center, NorthStar Learning Centers, Donovan House, Harbour House, Family Preservation Program, 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 any of the following businesses: Acorn Management Properties, American Family Care, Baarsvik Souza Orthodontics, Bask, Buster’s Sports Bar & Grille, Century House, Desert Sun, Dollar General, Empire Ford, First Citizen Credit Union, Glaser Glass, Greasy Luck, Honey Dew Donuts (Church St.), Knuckleheads Bar & Grille, Lowe’s (Wareham), NBCU, New Bedford Housing Authority Office, New Bedford Health Department, Rose Alley, Southcoast Fitness, Star Oil Co., Tabor Nursing Home, The Donut Factory, The Lottery Commission, TJ Maxx (Dartmouth), West End Grill, and Zapp.

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. 210.

United Way of Greater New Bedford welcomes Deborah A. Soares as the Director of Corporate Relations.

Ms. Soares joins United Way of Greater New Bedford after spending more than 10 years of her career in broadcasting sales, most recently at Plymouth Rock Broadcasting. The nature of her past work centered on relationship building, sales, and interpersonal skills – all will be a benefit in her new role at United Way.

As Director of Corporate Relations, Ms. Soares will develop, implement, and refine strategies to increase retention and growth of the corporate donor, volunteer base and related financial and in-kind resources in support of UWGNB’s mission. This position will focus on the annual Workplace Giving Campaign, corporate giving and engagement, sponsorships, and provide general support to UWGNB’s overall fundraising efforts.

“We are pleased to welcome Deb as part of our development team, especially as we begin our 65th annual campaign,” said Michelle N. Hantman, President & CEO of United Way. “Deb has an extensive background in sales and corporate relations. Her skills will help United Way of Greater New Bedford broaden and deepen engagement among our corporate partners in order to impact change for our community.

Ms. Soares received a Bachelor of Arts Administration degree from Wagner College and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Greater New Bedford by mobilizing people, partnerships, and resources. Since 1953, United Way has served the City of New Bedford and surrounding towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester and Wareham. To learn more about United Way of Greater New Bedford, visit unitedwayofgnb.org.

United Way of Greater New Bedford announces $289,025 in community impact funding to organizations throughout Greater New Bedford. This funding will support high quality programs and services in the areas of health, education, and financial stability.

Prior to this year, United Way funded programming in the Greater New Bedford community through support to traditional agency partners. After completing a strategic plan in 2012, United Way made the decision to transition how it funded in the community. This transition included the creation of new funding streams to better respond to community needs and have a greater impact.

This year, United Way opened the “traditional” grant process to any organization already serving the Greater New Bedford community with high quality programming and services in its three focus areas health, education, and financial Stability– allowing United Way to increase its impact while addressing the most pressing needs in the region. In this first year, 16 organizations have received funding through this year’s Community Impact Grant stream. All applications were thoroughly reviewed by 17 volunteer Citizens Reviewers who made the final award decisions. A full list of recipients is available at unitedwayofgnb.org/community-impact-grants.

“It’s an exciting time at United Way – full of opportunity and change,” said Michelle Hantman, President & CEO at United Way. “As the needs in our community continue to change, we’ve realized to stay relevant and impactful, we need to be flexible and change with those needs. With the updates to our community Impact funding and the creation of new funding streams like the Innovation Fund, South End Engaged, and the Emerging Needs funds, we can assist in creating lasting, positive change for residents.”

In addition to the Community Impact Grants, United Way has funded additional organizations over the past year through the Innovation Fund, South End Engaged, and the Emerging Needs fund. In January, the Innovation Fund awarded nearly $300,000 to three organizations to begin new, innovative programs. These programs are currently being implemented across Greater New Bedford and are well on their way to creating transformational change.

In the past 10 years, United Way has invited nearly $10 million into community initiatives and programs. To learn more about United Way of Greater New Bedford or to get involved with its work, visit unitedwayofgnb.org.

For over 20 years, United Way of Greater New Bedford has provided funding and support to the community through their Summer Fund and Community Building Mini-Grants Programs. This year, United Way announced $90,000 in grants will be awarded through the two programs.

United Way’s Summer Fund program provides grants to non-profits to give local youth meaningful summer enrichment experiences. This summer, $60,000 has been awarded to 15 programs to provide camperships and youth employment opportunities. Summer Fund is a collaboratively funded program supported by the Carney Family Foundation, the Island Foundation, the Upstream Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts’ Acushnet Foundation Fund and Rainy Day Fund. United Way oversees the funding process for Summer Fund; managing the application process, convening reviewers to allocate funding, administering the funding, and evaluating the success of the grants.

“For many disadvantaged youth, enriching summer activities like camps are often out of reach because of their families’ financial hardships,” said Allison Yates-Berg, VP of Community Impact & Operations at United Way. “For teens, they struggle to find summer jobs that will give them real world experience and help them build their resumes. Summer Fund seeks to address these issues and keep these youth engaged and learning throughout the summer months.

This summer 11 youth are employed at 3 non-profits. By working at non-profits, they are gaining meaningful experience while helping to increase the capacity of that non-profit. Prior to their employment, youth employees are required to attend a half day pre-employment training, co-facilitated by United Way and BankFive, to ensure they have the basic skills to succeed this summer.

In addition to Summer Fund, United Way announced $30,000 in funding to 24 groups through the Community Building Mini-Grants Program. Mini-Grants is the only program of its kinds that awards all-volunteer groups with grants of up to $2,500 to complete community building projects that will have a positive impact in Greater New Bedford.

“Each year it becomes harder for our review committee to make funding decisions,” said Rhonda L. Silvia, Community Impact Projects Coordinator. “It is exciting to see volunteers working together to establish new projects and bring the community together in a positive way.”

This year’s funding is supporting projects such as the Onset Street Painting Festival, the Campbell School Playground Project, Read to Me Wareham, Acushnet Library Rocks, and the Fairhaven Outdoor Movie night.

To learn more about these programs and to see a full listing of awardees, click here: Summer Fund Community Building Mini-Grants