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.