United Way of Merrimack Valley and United Way of Massachusetts Bay to merge in move to grow social and economic opportunities in
BOSTON – In a move designed to bolster social and economic opportunities for children and families in the Greater Boston and Merrimack Valley regions, United Way of Merrimack Valley (UWMV) and United Way of Massachusetts Bay (UWMB) today announced that the two organizations will merge effective December 31, 2006 . The goal of the merger is to leverage resources and maximize potential for creating even greater change in the communities of eastern Massachusetts .
“Our merger reflects our commitment to combining resources on a regional level in order to effect greater change in local communities,” said Milton J. Little, Jr., president and chief executive officer at UWMB. “Many of the issues facing Merrimack Valley – such as affordable housing, workforce development and creating environments where children and youth learn and thrive – are issues that know no geographical boundaries. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the people and neighborhoods where we live, work and raise our families.”
The new organization will include 87 cities and towns and community investments totaling $34 million. To ensure that the Merrimack Valley maintains a strong voice in decisions, four leaders from Merrimack Valley will join the Board of United Way of Massachusetts Bay . In addition, the merged entity will open a new office in Lowell and also keep open the existing office in Haverhill . United Way’s “Gifts in Kind” Product Philanthropy program will operate out of the Lawrence area.
“United Way recognizes that the people of Merrimack of Merrimack Valley best know the needs and issues facing our communities,” said U.S. Representative Martin T. Meehan. “Local representation in the governance of the new organization and the regional muscle that this merger will bring better positions United Way to quickly and effectively act on new opportunities and new partnerships that will improve the lives of the families that live and work here.”
The merger agreement includes a new investment of $250,000 over a two-year period by United Way to prepare young people for rewarding careers in math, science and technology-related fields. United Way will work with leaders from biotech and life sciences industries, higher education institutions and programs serving youth to develop the initiative.
“In order for young people to graduate and have a successful future, they need to develop 21 st century skills,” said Richard Santagati , president of Merrimack College . “This investment recognizes the potential of Merrimack Valley ’s most important industries and will help future generations continue to advance these fields. It is a great example of the new partnerships that this merger can make possible.”
In addition to the injection of new funds to develop math and science skills of youth, the organization is taking steps to ensure that current funding levels are protected. United Way will continue to invest the funds that are raised in Merrimack Valley in agencies and programs serving the region.
The agreement contains a strong commitment to engage local volunteers and community leaders. It calls for maintaining three existing Impact Councils in Merrimack Valley to advise United Way on specific issues affecting the region. Four new local committees will be formed to advise UWMB’s Board on regional economic issues, guide community allocations, provide leadership for the annual campaign and recruit Merrimack Valley volunteers for these roles.
“This is a tremendous growth opportunity for investment in the human capital of the Merrimack Valley ,” said Thomas H. Tulip, Ph.D., vice president, global brand champion, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Board chair of UWMV. “The agreement reflects United Way ’s ongoing commitment to building a strong, stable region and a vibrant economy that holds the promise of a brighter future for everyone.”