United Way looks at the BIG picture
United Way brings people together to change the world around us and advance the common good. We all win when a child is ready for school, when a family is able to stay in their home after a sudden job loss or illness, when our neighbors have food to eat and heat to keep them warm in the winter.
United Way supports local programs and initiatives that help Mid Coast Maine residents improve their Education, Financial Stability/Basic Needs, and Health. Our featured strategy for improving lives in all of those areas is Early Childhood, a comprehensive and prevention-based strategy aimed at setting today's babies up for a bright and healthy future. Read United Way's 23 Community Goals.
What's an Initiative?
Our Early Childhood focus includes a wide range of support for babies, children, & families to prevent problems & encourage healthy futures.
Best Start Initiative
Providing parenting support through home visiting
Helping keep babies clean, dry, and healthy
Early exposure to books and language is positively linked with school readiness and adult literacy
Babies and children are natural learners
An app encouraging all parents and caregivers to be brain builders
Our Strategic Plan shows that Early Childhood is much more than a focus area - it's a large-scale strategy for improving lives across the Mid Coast with long-lasting impact on the whole community.
United Way has 4 councils of dedicated community volunteers who focus on the following impact areas:
- Education: Success By 6
- Education: Youth & Lifelong Learning
- Financial Stability & Basic Needs
- Safe & Healthy Community
United Way's 23 Community Goals
Meeting Basic Needs/Safety Net
1. Everyone’s basic needs are met, especially for food and shelter
2. Everyone has access to safe and affordable housing
3. Everyone has access to transportation in our communities
4. Everyone knows where to go to get help and there are no barriers to needed social services
5. Everyone will have access to employment that provides wages and benefits sufficient to meet the basic needs of a household.
A Safe and Healthy Community
6. Everyone has access to affordable, high-quality health care (including mental health care, prescription drugs, dental care, etc.)
7. Our community fosters wellness through education, prevention, and action
8. Our community promotes prevention and provides treatment of drug and alcohol abuse
9. Support is available to people who are dying and to their loved ones.
10. People who provide care for others will receive support and respite
11. People who are vulnerable (hurt, ill, disabled, isolated, etc.) will receive the help they need
12. Everyone can live free from abuse and violence
13. Individuals and our communities are prepared for, and able to respond to, emergencies
Success By 6: Early Childhood
14. All children enter school ready to learn and succeed
15. The community supports healthy parenting skills
16. Children are read to from birth
17. There is high-quality, affordable, and accessible child care and early education
Youth and Lifelong Learning
18. Our community facilitates lifelong learning
19. People with challenges or disabilities also have opportunities to reach their full potential
20. Youth at risk have effective programs, including mentoring, to help them become responsible members of the community
21. Students have maximum opportunities to succeed because their health, educational and social service needs are being met
22. Everyone can read
23. All people, especially young people, have many choices for positive activities and learning enrichment
Success Example: Weatherization Project
“In January of 2009 I approached Habitat for Humanity about volunteering with them and they quickly referred to United Way’s Winter Preparedness Action Program.”
(Note: in that cold winter with climbing fuel prices, United Way brought the community
together to help, and created a volunteer “Step One” weatherization program. After that
first year, the two agencies agreed Habitat would run the program, and United Way would provide funding).
“I have seen firsthand how effective the Habitat and United Way of Mid Coast Maine
partnership has been, and I am proud to be involved with the Weatherization Project. Since 2009, Habitat has weatherized over 300 homes. On average, these improvements can save homeowners up to $400 annually on energy costs. In addition, Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers has provided weatherizing training for other Habitat affiliates and interested organizations around the state.”
- Steve Hatt, Habitat for Humanity Board Member
William J. Dana & Associates, Builders, Energy Auditors & Weatherization Specialists
Success Example: SEARCH Greater Bath
“The Catholic Charities SEARCH Program of Greater Bath would not exist without United Way, which created a task force in 2004 to find ways to help aging seniors in the Mid Coast stay independent in their homes. Our United Way was ahead of the curve in terms of the “aging in place” initiatives now taking place around the state and the country.”
- Chris Szalay, Program Coordinator
Success Example: Food Security Coalition
"The Food Security Coalition exists because United Way listened to the community, and their continued funding allows me to support our local pantries. The food pantries and soup kitchens are run almost entirely by volunteers. I’m continually impressed with their willingness to do what it takes to serve our community."
- Mary Turner, Food Security Coalition, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program
"We wanted to keep our food pantry simple, but there are procedures and structures that need to be in place, and Mary guided us from the beginning. In addition to Mary, the Bowdoinham community has been very supportive - volunteers, farmers, donors, and local organizations have all helped us keep our shelves stocked and doors open for the dozens of families who rely on us. With Mary’s help, we do it well. She's always there for us."
- Kathy Tome, Director of Bowdoinham Food Pantry