I work for the United Way of Central Massachusetts, and I have the great pleasure of serving the people of Worcester. On March 16 a small group of us gathered at the Boys and Girls Club; our effort was focused upon coordinating services as efficiently as possible. As we were leaving a question was asked, “What do we call ourselves?” Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera answered, “Worcester Together” and our name was born.
Worcester Together is both a noun and a verb. It is our name AND it describes our work. We have raised more than $5.3M from foundations, businesses, and individuals. Contributions range from a million dollars to ten dollars; from ten dollars to a million dollars. We have awarded more than 60 grants totaling approximately $900,000 focused initially on immediate basic needs — food, child care for front-line employees, capacity to open temporary emergency shelters, telehealth capabilities, and personal protective equipment. We will continue with this grant-making work and we will transition to conversations focused upon rebuilding and reimagining the future.
Perhaps the most valuable part of this pandemic has been how we as a community have come together, gotten out of our silos or our lanes, and have collaborated in a beautiful way; all recognizing how interconnected so many aspects of life are.