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December 2, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dear Friends and Supporters,
This pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown families and added to the struggle and instability of so many nonprofits, including United South End Settlements (USES). Despite these significant challenges, we are persevering in our commitment to social justice, advocating for racial equity, and fully supporting our community as the beacon of hope we have been for 128 years. While the pandemic has thrown everything into question across all sectors, we are grateful that the sale of 566 Columbus Avenue, which was finalized last month, arms USES with the resources to stay in the fight, positioning us to secure our capacity to expand and serve for generations to come. We are thankful to the community at large for their support – we would not be here today without the overwhelming community support.
Having proudly owned and operated the Harriet Tubman House since 1976, we understand and share the sentiments of loss of place and community that some have expressed. But we are pleased that the new building will honor the mural, add affordable housing, build minority equity, and continue to serve as a gathering place for community dialogue, programming, and engagement as it has done for so many, for so long. Above all, the building sale will make it possible for generations of children and families to continue to receive life-changing programs and support at USES’s flagship location on Rutland Street in the South-End and at Camp Hale, our historic overnight camp in New Hampshire.
At this unprecedented time of COVID-19, supporting our community through early childhood education, after school, youth development, and family financial sustainability programs is even more critical than ever before. We remain inspired by the legacy of Harriett Tubman and know that we must do more. Over the past eight months, with the help of staff, volunteers, board members, families, community partners, and funders, we have fought hard alongside our families to keep the harsh economic impact of COVID-19 at bay. Last spring, we created a weekly food delivery program for hundreds of families and worked alongside our families to overcome job and income loss. We also partnered with a network of other early education providers, the City, and the State to develop best practices for staying open and providing safe, nurturing care and remote learning support for close to 100 children and families, all while we completed a major renovation to our 30-acre summer overnight camp which will welcome hundreds of Boston youth next summer.
While the sale is one major step towards our sustainability, the hard work of stabilizing USES is not done and the pandemic has made for greater challenges ahead. We are grateful to all our neighbors, staff, families, partners, businesses, and elected officials, who stand with us to ensure USES’s future impact. We welcome more people to join us in our efforts to innovate, serve and empower our entire community. If you need support to make it through the next days, weeks and months, or would like to volunteer alongside our incredibly dedicated staff, please contact Melody Valdes. If you would like to donate to USES today to help us increase our impact and reach more people in need, please click here.
Julia R. Johannsen
Maicharia Z. Weir Lytle