One Year of United Way of Southern Maine

One year ago, United Way of York County and United Way of Greater Portland came together to create United Way of Southern Maine. This merger allowed us to drive greater impact and offer easier engagement with United Way across Southern Maine. We’re taking a moment to celebrate some of what we have accomplished this year thanks to our incredible donors, volunteers, advocates, and partners.  

We took steps to address the root causes of some of the most pressing issues in our community. 

  • We secured $95,000 in Congressionally directed funds to develop and launch a child care incubator in Cumberland County to help new entrepreneurs open their sustainable businesses with the necessary training and investment to succeed. This will not only spur the formation of new businesses but help alleviate the lack of available childcare in our community. 
  • We received two grants totaling $2.8 million from the federal government to support people temporarily housed in hotels throughout Cumberland County due to COVID-19 and lack of shelter and housing space. 
  • Thanks to our founding funding partner, IDEXX, and individual donations from community members, we raised more than $170,000 for our second Racial Equity Fund. (Read about the recipient organizations.) 
  • We received $160,000 from MaineHousing to serve as the home for two hub coordinators, one for Cumberland County and one for the Midcoast, designed to provide comprehensive regional solutions around the issues surrounding homelessness. 
  • We deepened support for United Way’s Bridge Programming, which helps job seekers earn credentials in fields experiencing a shortage of talent, such as Certified Nursing Assistants and Child Development Associates. Watch Mangasa and Kawaya’s GPWI story. 
  • We received a $150,000 grant for the Greater Portland Workforce Initiative to lead a pilot project supporting local employers’ efforts to improve employment outcomes for recent immigrants and foreign-trained professionals.    
  • 70 volunteers with CA$H Greater Portland program helped hundreds of low-income taxpayers with Federal and State returns, returning more than $855,000 to our community and providing guidance to those taxpayers on matters of personal finance. 
  • We secured grants of nearly $50,000 from generous partners like Unum and the Sam L. Cohen Foundation to raise awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in our community and brought together community partners serving over 5,000 community members for an education program to help them support clients who have experienced trauma.  
  • We distributed more than one thousand books to children most in need of them across Southern Maine. Kids who read get a strong start! 

Our advocacy work helps us address challenges at the systems-level in our community. Partnering with others, we successfully advocated for: 

  • $3.2 million in General Fund dollars to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which will cover an additional 40,000 Maine kids. 
  • The passage of the supplemental budget that included important investments impacting all our goals, including: 
      • A $20 million investment for free community college 
      • $8 million to improve the State’s Child Welfare System. 
      • $42.1 million to overhaul the educational opportunity tax credit called “Opportunity Maine”. 
      • $12 million investment to help recruit and retain early childhood educators. 

These accomplishments and so many more would not be possible without our hard-working volunteers. This year alone, 539 individuals raised their hands and engaged in United Way-led volunteer opportunities, including community investment review teams, steering committees, CA$H, and Mental Health First Aid training sessions 

Want to get involved and help create an impact in our community? Join a Childhood Resiliency Training, presented in partnership with the Maine Resilience Building Network, and learn more about Thrive2027, our community’s shared vision to accelerate change, the impact of adverse childhood experiences, positive childhood experiences, and strategies to build resilience. Register for a training. 

Many challenges face our community, but we are in this together. We are Southern Maine. We are United. Together, we are creating a community where every child has a strong start in life, more people are financially stable, and individuals have access to the mental health services and substance use treatment they need to thrive.