Announcing A-B United Way's 2021 Community Impact Grants

Acton Boxborough United Way is proud to announce $175,500 in Community Impact Grants to 17 area nonprofits supporting the health, education, and financial stability of the Acton and Boxborough communities. These Community Impact Grants are in addition to the $200,000 A-B United Way raised in just the last 8 months for a separate A-B United Way COVID-19 Impact Fund benefiting community agencies and individuals seriously affected by the pandemic.

The $175,500 in Community Impact Grants represents A-B United Way’s largest grant commitment ever, an almost 14 percent increase over Community Impact funding in previous years. This year’s grants will be for an 18-month period running from January 2021 through June 2022.  A-B United Way shifted to this funding schedule because the usual funding review process was scheduled to take place during the spring of 2020 – right at the height of the pandemic.  In order to support agencies and the community during the pandemic, A-B United Way maintained ongoing support for all agencies it had funded in 2019-2020 for an additional six months of leveling funding (July 2020 through December 2020) and moved the grant deliberations process to the fall of 2020. The level funding totaled more than $50,000.

In interviewing agencies and considering their financial requests this fall, A-B United Way focused on its mission to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of EVERY person in Acton and Boxborough. Of the $175,500 allocated, 50 percent targets agencies providing health-related services in areas such as senior services, domestic violence, early intervention for children, and mental health services. Thirty percent focuses on financial stability including housing, legal services, food insecurity, and emergency payments. Education rounds out the grants with an emphasis on supporting programs for families with young children, preschool scholarships, programs for the disabled, summer camperships, and English language classes.

The agencies A-B United Way funds – both through the $175,500 given out in Community Impact Grants and the $200,000 COVID-19 Impact Fund -- have demonstrated remarkable resilience during the challenges of 2020.  Through their creativity, caring and commitment, they have continued to meet the needs of the community and the people they serve by adapting quickly to the changing environment.  Mt. Calvary Community Supper, for example, turned its in-person community supper serving 65 people weekly into a drive-thru dinner “pick up” for 250 people.  MetroWest Legal Services held socially distanced attorney-client meetings on clients’ front lawns.  Several agencies used Zoom for mental health counseling, educational classes for the disabled, and domestic violence services. 

According to A-B United Way Executive Director Griet Dehandschutter, “A-B United Way is proud to support these agencies who make a difference in the lives of our community members each and every day.” And through the new A-B United Way COVID-19 Impact Fund, “We were able to also address the immediate needs of individuals by paying - so far - more than $100,000 in rent, utilities, and car repairs for people struggling with the loss of employment during this community and national crisis.”

2021 ABUW Grantees