550 Forest Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, ME 04101 info@uwsme.org 207-874-1000

2022-2023 Community Report

This Report Includes
Mental Health  •  Food & Housing  •   Child Care  •   Thrive2027

From Kittery to Freeport, from Sanford to Bridgton, Southern Maine is a great place to live and work for many, but we don’t need to look far to see many are not doing well. From food insecurity to housing, from children from historically disadvantaged communities falling behind in school to the shortage of affordable child care, from mental health challenges to addiction crises, the community problems are all around us. But thankfully, so are the solutions.

Our community faces complex and interconnected challenges that no one organization alone can address. But when united, we can tackle the root causes of barriers holding people back. And thanks to your support in 2022, we did what United Way of Southern Maine does best: We brought together the ideas and resources of partners, organizations, donors, advocates, and volunteers for the common purpose of improving the lives of people in Southern Maine.

But there is still work to be done. The vital work we do requires partners and leaders like you to stand with us as we continue to build a community where children have a strong start and succeed in life, adults are empowered to pursue careers with sustainable wages, and individuals have access to the mental health services and substance use treatment they need to thrive.

Here’s What Your Contribution to United Way Made Possible

Mental Health

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Food & Housing

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Child Care

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Headlines continue to highlight a troubling reality: we are losing too many neighbors, too early, to preventable conditions. Now more than ever, we need to connect those in need with mental health and substance use treatment, resources, and services that help them begin and stay on their recovery journey. Our entire community – individuals, families, workplaces – benefit when we help everyone live longer – better.



United Way of Southern Maine helps people live longer by focusing on several factors that affect health and well-being, including mental health; suicide prevention; and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery solutions. Strategies range from school-based health clinics to peer support programs to work that reduces exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which have a profound impact on future learning, behavior, and overall well-being. This work advances Thrive2027 Goal 3.


Lives Your Donation Impacts

The Home Team: Life Saving Human Connection
In a year when more people have died of drug overdose, Brooks and Courtney, from Home Team, have seen a greater need for human connection. The duo seeks out people experiencing homelessness or substance use disorder. Together with the Portland PD, Milestone Recovery Center, and other organizations, Home Team attempts to connect with as many individuals as they can to distribute water and food, connect to services, make medical referrals, or simply to start a conversation.


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When people earn enough income to pay for their basics like healthy food, housing, and heat, they can find the stability they need to build savings and gain assets. The financial stability of every individual and family from Southern Maine is essential to the vibrancy and equity of our community.



United Way of Southern Maine mobilizes nonprofits, government, businesses, and funders to ensure more people have the education and employment opportunities and resources to protect themselves against a crisis, while gaining long-term assets like a home or business. This work advances Thrive2027 Goal 2.


Lives Your Donation Impacts

Greater Portland Workforce Initiative (GPWI)
Housed at United Way of Southern Maine, GPWI helps individuals in Greater Portland prepare and connect to growing sectors of employment with family-sustaining wages. For Mangasa and Kawaya, two GPWI Bridge to CDA (Child Development Associate) and CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program participants, GPWI provided the opportunity, a career pathway, and financial stability while addressing the growing workforce shortage across Southern Maine.


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High-quality child care strengthens the workforce and local economy by allowing parents to work, go to school or receive training, and pay their bills. Early years are also the foundation for a child’s future development and success, providing a strong base for lifelong learning and learning abilities, including cognitive and social development.



The entire community plays a role in transforming children into educated, healthy, independent adults, which is why United Way of Southern Maine unites businesses, government, nonprofits, foundations, and individuals to increase opportunities and resources to support children’s healthy development, address families’ basic needs, encourage family engagement, and increase literacy. United Way also strengthens systems of support by investing in quality early childhood centers, professional development, and child care entrepreneurship. This work advances Thrive2027 Goal 1.


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United Way of Southern Maine provides staff and additional support beyond funding to community efforts, like Thrive2027, that take us one step closer to creating the region we envision — a community where people have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.


Headline Indicator: By 2027, reduce the reading proficiency gap to no more than 10 percentage points between all third-grade students and students from populations with historical inequities.

Baseline: The disparity between all students and specific groups ranges between 20-24%.


Headline Indicator: By 2027, 70% of households pay less than 30% of their income on housing.

Baseline: 65% of households pay less than 30% of their income on housing.


Headline Indicator: By 2027, reduce preventable premature deaths by 10%.

Baseline: 6,128 Years of Potential Life Lost per 100,000 people.

Take Action for a Thriving Southern Maine