Honoring our past, defining our future.
As of January 10, 2021, we will officially reach our 100th anniversary of improving lives in Western Massachusetts.
In recognition of this important milestone and our commitment to the people of Hampden County, Granby, and South Hadley, we have decided to start our 100th year with new services designed to provide the greatest impact with our donors’ hard-earned dollars, based on feedback we received from a survey of local UWPV stakeholders and community leaders conducted in July 2020.
Our new services
Feeding the Hungry
For decades, we have funded programs to feed the hungry in our 25-community service area, but our area is still at a deficit. To address this need, we are working closely with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and have already come up with several additions to our food initiatives:
- Convening representatives from local colleges & universities to ensure students have access to healthy food
- Meeting with food pantries to learn about their individual needs, such as supplies and volunteers, and determine how UWPV can help meet them
- Opening the United Way Chicopee Cupboard to distribute food, cooking lessons & recipes, pet food, offer Thrive financial coaching, and more initiatives
- Working with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke to expand their existing food security program, which already provides food for hundreds of families in need
UWPV is developing a youth development curriculum, called YouthGenerate, which we are providing with grant funding to out-of-school programs in our service area. YouthGenerate is a service-learning curriculum focused on leadership development and building life skills through mentoring, character/citizenship development, and community service.
Information and Referral Services
While its primary offices are in United Way of Tri-County’s Framingham office, UWPV recently opened a satellite call center for Call2Talk, the mental health/suicide prevention component of the Mass2-1-1 state-wide platform at our office in Springfield.
This new call center is staffed by graduate students from the Springfield College Master of Social Work program, who have been trained to answer the Call2Talk lines as part of their course requirements.
UWPV’s Thrive program, which provides free, one-on-one financial coaching, recently hired a new coach. Emmanuel Reyes completed the Financial Empowerment Learning Institute training series facilitated by United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Reyes is our first Spanish-speaking financial coach, allowing the program to reach even more people in need.
Bridging the Digital Divide
We are laying the groundwork for a new program to tackle the digital divide – the gap between people with access to technology and those who do not -- by acquiring hardware and providing it, along with training, to members of the community in need. We plan to begin the program with Thrive financial coaching clients and families receiving assistance from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Holyoke, and then expand it by working with area libraries in our service area.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer should watch our volunteer portal at volunteer.uwpv.org for openings, and any organization who wishes to participate can contact Jennifer Kinsman, Director of Community Impact, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413.693.0212.
UWPV is launching Connect Western Mass, a first-of-its-kind community events calendar. Connect Western Mass will provide a place for the people of Hampden County, Granby, and South Hadley to find events, virtual events, trainings, and so on – with a focus on events by or to benefit area nonprofits. We plan to launch Connect Western Mass before the end of January 2021.
We recently created a new volunteer portal at volunteer.uwpv.org. which boasts features to make the volunteering process easier on volunteers, corporations, and nonprofits alike. Thanks to our investment, we can provide free accounts to our nonprofit partners with enhanced features of a $900/yr/partner value.
Anyone interested in joining can visit volunteer.uwpv.org, and UWPV partners interested in taking advantage of the enhanced features we’re providing can make their partner account today at volunteer.uwpv.org/register/organization.
UWPV has entered an agreement to become the fiduciary sponsor of the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley. We will also work with their staff to provide more clientele to their program.
Diversity On Board
UWPV has agreed to take on Diversity On Board as a UWPV program. Also called On Board, this program has operated independently as a 501(c)(3), strictly with volunteers, since its creation.
On Board connects talented potential board members with organizations seeking to increase diversity on their boards and committees. Historically, this takes place at a biennial tabling event at the Basketball Hall of Fame. UWPV would like to promote the program year-round, as well as provide training for new board members to help them succeed at building stronger non-profits, and in turn, stronger communities.
Venture Grant Funding
We will work with non-profit partners to identify their unmet needs and provide small capital grants for repairs and improvements.