Community Impact Grants

When you donate to Acton-Boxborough United Way, your dollars work harder to bring critical services to our community.  By pooling your donations, we can  make significant grants to organizations, attracting the quality services necessary for all residents to belong and thrive as the need for support is dramatically increasing.  

For our current grant cycle, Acton-Boxborough United Way committed $175,500 in Community Impact Grants to 17 area nonprofits supporting the health, education, and financial stability of the Acton and Boxborough communities. These Community Impact Grants are in addition to the $200,000 A-B United Way raised in 2020 for a separate A-B United Way COVID-19 Impact Fund benefiting community agencies and individuals seriously affected by the pandemic.

Our Current Grantees

A Friend in Need is a program of South Acton Congregational Church which provides one-time emergency assistance to residents of Acton, Boxborough, and Maynard who have been identified to the program by a caseworker, social worker, or clergy person.

AB Community Education logoOur grant to A-B Community Education supports tuition assistance for the Summer Day Program, providing opportunities to attend this enriching program to students who might otherwise not be able to afford to do so. 

The goal of the ABHL Early Childhood Council Scholarship Program is to promote access to developmentally appropriate high-quality pre-kindergarten settings for young children from low to moderate income working families of diverse cultural, racial and linguistic and economic backgrounds. This is accomplished by providing partial scholarships, making high-quality caring and supportive preschool environments financially accessible to families who could not otherwise afford the cost.


Acton Housing Authority (AHA) assists some of the neediest residents of Acton and Boxborough. Its mission is to provide safe and affordable housing to low-income residents from Acton and Boxborough. Our grant to AHA covers the cost of the Self-Sufficiency Coordinator to work extra hours to assist residents in State Funded Housing. The residents are provided with case management, information and referrals and support services to elderly, disabled and family residents who live in AHA’s State funded housing. 


The Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley, Inc. has been serving children ages 5 - 18 in the Maynard, Stow, Concord, Acton and Sudbury, Massachusetts area for over 40 years. Today our programs serve a record number of area youth with year-round program offerings. The Club adapts its programs to meet the changing needs of the community we serve.  The programs impact the lives of more than 700 children annually through a variety of youth-centered programs. Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley strives to provide a world-class Club Experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who enters our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle.  The mission and core beliefs of Boys & Girls Clubs fuel their commitment to promoting safe, positive and inclusive environments for all. Boys & Girls Clubs of America supports all youth and teens – of every race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, ability, socio-economic status, and religion – in reaching their full potential.


Womens Money Matters envisions a world in which all women have a financially stable life.  They work to empower women to improve their financial health to create a more secure future for their families and communities.  Womens Money Matters serves women over the age of 14 who are living on low-incomes, many in transitional housing. Its programs are for cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers the experiences of women.


CESI logo

Cooperative Elder Services’ Acton Center provides adult day health services to seniors and adults with medical or cognitive challenges who reside in Acton and surrounding communities. Our grant supports needs-based scholarships for those from Acton and Boxborough.

Danny’s Place Youth Services (DPYS) is a place where young people are encouraged to connect, get inspired, and grow. DPYS provides youth and teens with experiences to explore and create, to access helpful resources, and to grow into thriving, healthy emerging adults. Their physical space is a gathering space for our youth and our community, though our impact reaches far beyond the physical walls of DPYS. They partner with several other community organizations to provide services, programs, and events to youth, families, and the greater community.


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The Doli Atamian Campership Program raises funds to provide a camp or summer experience for children of low-income families who reside in Acton or Boxborough or for those whose housing is subsidized by the Acton Housing Authority in other communities contiguous to Acton and Boxborough.

A summer camp experience is valuable for children who often have no access to recreational areas and limited opportunity to explore new interests and skills. The opportunity to attend summer school can make a significant difference to a child in remaining with his or her peer group.  

DVSN logoDomestic Violence Service Network (DVSN) provides outreach and direct support to victims of domestic violence in partnership with ten police departments (including Acton and Boxborough), Hanscom AFB, the Concord District Court, and volunteer advocates.

DVSN provides two direct service programs: The Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Program (DVVAP) and the Court Support Program (CSP), which helps victims navigate the court system by assigning the victim an Advocate (volunteer).

Eliot was founded in 1963 and is a full-service community mental health center.

Eliot provides community-based services to more than 50,000 individuals and families throughout MA. The Eliot Center, which is part of Eliot Community Services, offers a range of outpatient mental health and substance abuse services, including diagnostic evaluation, individual, couple, group, and family therapy. Eliot serves a diverse population throughout their needs-based lifespan.

Important programs include Driver Alcohol Education (DAE), DMH-funded Jail Diversion Program, follow-up counseling for mental health and substance abuse issues as they relate to law enforcement. In addition, Eliot also provides crisis intervention training to police departments, including Acton PD.

English At Large (EAL) is a nonprofit agency founded in 1970 that provides individual and small group instruction through a volunteer network to adult immigrants and other newcomers who want to acquire English language skills as they adapt to life in the United States. Their vision is that newcomers to the United States will develop the English language skills and acquire the cultural knowledge needed to fully engage in their communities and fulfill their life goals. They offer One-to-One Tutoring, Conversation Groups, the Career Access Lab (CAL) and Beginner English Programs in 21 local communities.

First connections, which was founded in 1994, provides comprehensive family support programs in 11 MetroWest communities to families with children birth through age eight. Their mission is to equip parents with young children with tools, practical strategies, and connections to other families and their communities to foster healthy parenting and guide them through the first years of their parenting journey.

Habitat NCM is an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, overseen by a 13 member Board of Directors, with a staff of 4 full-time, including our Executive Director, and 6 part-time employees. Volunteerism is the lifeline of our organization. They work in partnership with foundations, corporations, community groups, faith-based organizations, individuals, and partner families to accomplish their mission of
bringing people together to build and repair homes, communities, and hope. Their vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Incorporated in August 1976, MetroWest Legal Services (MWLS) provides legal advocacy to protect the rights and improve the lives of poor, elderly, disabled and otherwise disenfranchised individuals and families in the 45 cities and towns in their service area. 

MWLS assists clients in cases involving the following legal issues: Housing, Domestic Violence, Government Benefits, Immigration, and Wage & Hour Disputes. MWLS is the only source for free civil, legal aid in our area.

Minute Man Arc provides a lifespan of support for children and adults with disabilities by increasing independence, personal choice, and self-advocacy. They serve the nine town area of Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard and Stow.

The Early Intervention (El) Program provides a range of therapeutic services to more than 500 children each year, from birth to three years, for whom there are developmental concerns due to biological, medical or environmental factors. MMA is the only provider of EI services in our area.

Minuteman Senior Services (MSS) has been helping elders and their family caregivers locate appropriate eldercare assistance since 1975. Their mission is to help elders and others with chronic care needs remain in their own homes safely and independently for as long as they are able, and to support their caregivers as they face the challenges presented by competing needs of family, work and self. Minuteman Senior Services operates more than 20 programs helping residents in 16 communities in the suburbs northwest of Boston. They assist in excess of 30,000 seniors and disabled individuals each year.

560 residents of Acton and Boxborough received support education and resources to age in place with assistance through the Senior Nutrition program, 300 AB residents received meals, safety checks, socialization and nutrition information. 200 residents participated in the SHINE program, which provides guidance in the Medicare benefit selection process. There were 64 instances of elder abuse cases and 11 residents completed the chronic pain management program.

The Mt. Calvary Community Supper is a non-denominational program aimed at reducing food insecurity and social isolation by providing a free weekly Wednesday dinner in a warm, compassionate environment since 2012. “Their mission is “To Eliminate Hunger and Address Social Isolation”. The Mt Calvary Community supper is the only active supper program in town, and the number of guests they serve has been increasing.

Open Door Theater of Acton is a non-profit, family-oriented, accessible community theater company that has been creating learning experiences through theater for adults, children, and people with disabilities since it was founded in 1980. Open Door envisions and embraces a diverse community which enables access to theater for all on both sides of the curtain through mentorship and communal problem solving. Open Door strives to create a family environment in which cast and crew can reach their goals and we share our experiences and expertise with other organizations so that we can all become more inclusive and accessible.

Open Table is a food pantry and community meals program located in Maynard, MA, with an additional weekly dinner hosted in Concord, MA. They are open to all who come, including many guests from Acton and Boxborough.

In addition to offering a hot meal in a friendly environment and groceries to bring home, Open Table has a team of guest support volunteers, such as trained mental health professionals, who connect guests to a variety of social services such as fuel assistance, legal aid, and medical resources.

The Stow Food Pantry is now a weekend drive-up pantry by appointment only. To minimize waste, volunteers call clients to take food orders.

The $175,500 in Community Impact Grants represents A-B United Way’s largest grant commitment ever, an almost 14 percent increase over Community Impact funding in previous years. This grant cycle is for an 18-month period running from January 2021 through June 2022.  

In interviewing agencies and considering their financial requests, A-B United Way focused on its mission to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of EVERY person in Acton and Boxborough. Of the $175,500 allocated, 50 percent targets agencies providing health-related services in areas such as senior services, domestic violence, early intervention for children, and mental health services. Thirty percent focuses on financial stability including housing, legal services, food insecurity, and emergency payments. Education rounds out the grants with an emphasis on supporting programs for families with young children, preschool scholarships, programs for residents with disabilities, summer camperships, and English language classes.

The agencies A-B United Way funds – both through the $175,500 given out in Community Impact Grants and the $200,000 COVID-19 Impact Fund -- have demonstrated remarkable resilience during the challenges of 2020.  Through their creativity, caring and commitment, they have continued to meet the needs of the community and the people they serve by adapting quickly to the changing environment.  Mt. Calvary Community Supper, for example, turned its in-person community supper serving 65 people weekly into a drive-thru dinner “pick up” for 250 people.  MetroWest Legal Services held socially distanced attorney-client meetings on clients’ front lawns.  Several agencies used Zoom for mental health counseling, educational classes for the disabled, and domestic violence services. 

According to A-B United Way Executive Director Griet Dehandschutter, “A-B United Way is proud to support these agencies who make a difference in the lives of our community members each and every day.” And through the new A-B United Way COVID-19 Impact Fund, “We were able to also address the immediate needs of individuals by paying - so far - more than $100,000 in rent, utilities, and car repairs for people struggling with the loss of employment during this community and national crisis.”

Community Impact Grants Timeline