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United Way Mass Bay and the Faith & Action Initiative


United Way Mass Bay and the Faith & Action Initiative


Copyright 2004 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Used with permission.


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When the United Way of Mass Bay (UWMB) decided in 1997 to launch an initiative providing financial support to faith-based organizations (FBOs) working with inner-city youth, it was bucking a long-standing policy of funding only secular programs. This case study reviews the changes at UWMB that led to the decision to partner with FBOs and describes how UWMB acquainted itself with effective FBOs in the city and designed program guidelines for the new funding initiative. It summarizes UWMB’s “Faith in Action” initiative and tells how the UWMB went on to compete for a Capital Compassion Fund grant to further build capacity. The case study is especially helpful for private funders who want to learn about the key topics and challenges involved in faith-philanthropy collaboration.


Note: to see additional case studies from the Harvard Executive Session, view the Building Effective Cross-Sector Collaborations: A Learning Module.

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united way 1.pdf184.91 KB
united way 2.pdf26.75 KB
united way 3.pdf79.98 KB