Community Impact Grant Q&A

Community Impact Grant FAQ

Downloadable version available by clicking here.

What are the United Way’s Community Impact Grants?

United Way partners with a foundation of strong, viable programs that address core community needs through Community Impact Grants. Our goal is to help meet people’s immediate needs and create lasting change by addressing problems at their root. Agencies funded in the 2018-2020 Community Impact Grant process are coordinating programs and services around shared results for our community, the ways in which we will measure these results and the strategies we will use to achieve them. Funded agencies utilize common performance measures to quantify the degree to which community members are better off as a result of the service or program provided.

The Focus and Impact Areas highlight United Way’s Community Impact Framework and are used to guide funding decisions. The Focus area categorize types of need to structure community efforts and facilitate the investment process. All programs must select one Focus area and apply under, and must work toward the Impact Areas listed. Because United Way invests in programs rather than in the organizations that operate them, an organization may apply for more than one program at a time; however, each program may only apply once.

Why does United Way want to focus more deeply on specific issues?

Like most organization, we are challenged to meet the needs of our stakeholders and effectively drive impact with limited resources. We aim to make more meaningful and measurable impact in the communities we serve by investing strategically in a streamlined set of priorities that align with our organizational goals. By purposefully investing donor gift to respond to community needs, we seek to achieve measurable impact in community conditions.

Are the Impact Grants for one or for two years?

Community Impact Grants are two-year funding commitments, reliant on program performance and solvency.

Is the grant request amount for one year or both years of the funding cycle?

The minimum ($3,000) and above grant request amounts are on a per annum/yearly basis. If funding is awarded, the amount would be awarded for the first year, and will continue at the same level contingent on grant performance and available funding for the next year.

Should I apply if we have not been previously funded or are not currently funded by the United Way Montcalm – Ionia Counties?

YES! Current grantees or organizations that received funding in prior years are not given special consideration by the grant review committee.

How does organizational size affect ability to compete?

It doesn’t. Organizational size is not a factor in evaluating applicants. Funding decisions are based on alignment with United Way Montcalm – Ionia Counties’ priorities and the applicant’s ability to demonstrate tangible, measurable results.

Can I get feedback about our previous year’s grant application?

Unfortunately, any feedback received from last year’s grant application will not be relevant to this year’s process. Based on the volume of applications we typically receive, we will not be able to provide individualized feedback to member nonprofits on their specific proposals. However, at the conclusion of this granting process, we will collect and summarize the most frequently occurring comments for grants received and the feedback observed by our grant reviewers. That information will be publish on our website.

Who reviews the final grant applications?

Funding decisions are made by trained volunteers who present diverse interests of the community and who are committed to creating opportunities for a better life for all. These impact fund volunteers evaluate applications for potential grantees and make future funding recommendations to our Board of Directors.

Reviewers are also thoroughly vetted for any conflicts of interest. Throughout the rigorous review process, reviewers will utilize an assessment tool to rate applications based on their quality, alignment with United Way Montcalm – Ionia Counties’ funding priorities, and ability to demonstrate measurable results in their respective area of focus. All efforts are made to recruit reviewers to represent all local communities.  

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