Our Pillars


Every day, many children walk through the school door burdened with problems of poverty, discrimination, substance abuse, domestic instability, and illiteracy, to name a few. These problems are barriers that make it difficult for children to learn effectively. A child cannot learn if he or she is hungry or has no safe place to sleep.


It is the responsibility of the community to assist in addressing these social barriers so students can have a positive academic experience. United Way is not involved in the 8 hours that children are in school – rather, we work to support them through the 18 hours of out-of-school time.

  • Our Goal

    • Children enter kindergarten ready to learn.
    • Students are able to read by 3rd grade.
    • Students are on track to graduate from high-school college or career ready.

  • Our Work

    • 507 children served by the Summer Literacy Initiative.
    • 324 young people served by Youth Connect Summer evenings.
    • 40,000 books circulated by the mobile library, Lilly and Libby.

Our Education Partners

  • African Community Education (ACE) Program 
    • After School Program
  • Bancroft School
    • Worcester Partnership
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest, Inc. 
    • Making a BIG Difference in Worcester
  • Community Healthlink, Inc. 
    • Together For Kids and  Support for Success: School Based Mental Health Services
  • Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc.
    • Positive Directions!
  • Family Services of Central Massachusetts
    • Summer Literacy Initiative
  • Girls Incorporated of Worcester
    • Comprehensive K-12 Enrichment and Academic Enhancement for Abby Kelly Foster Charter School
  • Guild of St. Agnes
    • Infant-Toddler Early Education & Care
  • Massachusetts Educational and Career Opportunities, Inc.
    • Collegiate Success Institute – CSI Worcester and Teen Parent Program
  • Nativity School of Worcester
    • Graduate Support Program
  • Rainbow Child Development Center
    • Preschool and School Age Program 
  • Regional Environmental Council, Inc.
    • Food Justice Program
  • Straight Ahead Ministries, Inc.
    • Worcester Youth Re-entry Program
  • Open Sky
    • Safe Homes
  • UMass Memorial HealthCare, Inc.
    • HOPE Coalition Mental Health Model
  • Webster Square Day Care Center, Inc.
    • Preschool Child Care
  • Youth Opportunities Upheld, Inc. 
    • Dynamy Youth Academy
  • YWCA of Central Massachusetts
    • Worcester Early Education and Care
    • Girls Choice Middle/High School Program

For a full list of all programs we fund, and for a descriptions of these programs, click here.