United Way of Massachusetts Bay, Boston Foundation celebrate strength of public support for migrant families over the holidays

Massachusetts Migrant Families Relief Fund has provided $1.2 million to 30 organizations

December 1, 2023

Boston – The Boston Foundation and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay today thanked the thousands of people throughout the state who have stepped up in support of families arriving in Massachusetts this fall seeking shelter and safety, and encouraged continued generosity to meet the ongoing need.

The two organizations partnered earlier this year to form The Massachusetts Migrant Families Relief Fund, which was created to address the growing humanitarian crisis faced by migrants seeking asylum in Massachusetts, and to support the local, trusted community-based organizations that have deployed an all-hands-on-deck effort to meet essentials needs of new arrivals in our region. To date, the Fund has provided $1.2 million to 30 Greater Boston organizations,  focused in communities Including Attleboro, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Marlborough, Medford, Lynn, Lowell, Somerville, Waltham, Quincy, and Worcester as well as state-wide organizations.

The second round of grants, made last month, was notable both for the seventeen organizations that were recognized with funds, and for the selection process, which was led by representatives of the 12 first-round nonprofit partners in collaboration with the implementation team that worked to bring current data, context, needs, opportunities, and conditions to the conversation that informed grant allocations.

Funding has supported services such as English as a Second Language classes, legal services, assistance with health care needs, housing assistance, programming for youth, school enrollment assistance, assistance with filing for asylum or other immigration support, access to medical appointments, connecting refugee families with advocates and social supports at shelter sites and providing essential needs like food, diapers, clothing and hygiene items.

The Fund, hosted at unitedwaymassbay.org/migrantrelief, is continuing to accept donations from the public that will be used to provide grants to Massachusetts-based nonprofit organizations actively assisting migrant families, with a focus on supporting those with a demonstrated capacity for cultural and linguistic competency.  To complement and enhance public funding, grants are focused on building organizational capacity to meet current demand for services and to coordinate with existing shelter sites providing temporary shelter to migrant families. Funding is intended to increase capacity for the following services:

  • Provide general operating funds to local community-based organizations providing direct services on already-stretched budgets and staff resources and support their capacity to coordinate with shelter sites to meet demand for services.
  • Increase capacity to ensure individuals, children, and families have access to essential needs, such as temporary accommodations, food, clothing, diapers, hygiene items, and transportation.
  • Support livelihood opportunities and assistance such as health screenings, translation services, legal assistance, work authorizations, ESOL classes, and other socio-economic and cultural integration supports with priority for communities with under-served shelter sites.
  • Enhance community connectedness by supporting outreach that connects migrant families with opportunities for community integration such as faith communities, schools, and mutual aid groups.