Organizations, public entities, and socially-minded businesses working on the most pressing problems affecting Greater New Bedford are often focused on day-to-day operations and sustaining existing programs, and may not have the time, opportunity, or resources to take a step back, reflect, and consider new approaches to addressing those challenging problems, or new ways to do their work with greater efficiency or impact. Moreover, funding for new approaches or pilots is rare and often inadequately addresses the risk that organizations take on when trying something new.

However, these new approaches and ways of doing business differently are often what lead to the biggest advances in tough social problems; including those in education, financial stability, and health. They are not always successful, but there is power in learning from both successes and failures.

Through the Innovation Fund, United Way of Greater New Bedford is seeking proposals that experiment, pilot, or test new ideas and approaches that can lead to breakthroughs in United Way of Greater New Bedford’s target areas of Health, Education, and Financial Stability.

The Innovation Fund RFP opened in the Fall of 2017 and organizations could apply for up to $100,000 for up to 3 years of funding.

Projects of interest included:

  • Reimagined design of a program or services
  • Use or build technology to improve service delivery
  • Test new outreach and communication tools
  • Build innovative cross-sector collaborations

To learn more about the requirements of the Innovation Fund, please contact Anne Nichelson at 508-994-9625 ext. 215 or anichelson@unitedwayofgnb.org.

Click here for Innovation Fund FAQs.


2018 Innovation Fund Winners

  • Greater New Bedford Youth Alliance‘s project that aims to connect youth service providers through a technology platform that will enable them to track their participants and their community impact over time.
  • Greater New Bedford Community Health Center‘s Integrated Opioid Treatment Program incorporates opioid treatment into the primary care service model. After reaching 87% of its goal for number of patients served in the program, it is on track to exceed its goal in its second year.
  • The Women’s Center‘s project is an at-home security project that will help women who are victims of domestic violence stay in their homes and child(ren) in their schools. Seven families, totaling twenty individuals, benefited directly from the program in its first year.


2018 Innovation Fund Panelists

Innovation Fund applications were reviewed and organizations were reviewed by a volunteer committee comprised of respected, community minded individuals:

Anthony Baird, Director of Corporate Program Development at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Scott Dubois, Co-founder of Pidalia & Partner at Gingham Ventures

Julie Ramos Gagliardi, Vice President Corporate Giving and Community Relations at BayCoast Bank

Diane Howes, Director of Clinical Integration and Practice Optimization at Southcoast Health

Dana Mohler-Faria, President Emeritus at Bridgewater State University

Chris Rezendes, Founder & Managing Director at IoT ImpactLABS

Bob Unger, Principal at Unger LeBlanc Strategic Communications

Bill Walsh, Managing Director at Riparian Partners & former CEO at Sippican