COVID-19 Mini Grant

Apply for Funding 

In times of need we discover the full impact of a community united. 

For nearly 130 years United Way has been working to connect people, organizations and resources together to create a thriving community for everyone. United Way is committed to investing in critical basic needs services. As we all face growing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, our mission and purpose remain the same. This includes raising and deploying funds effectively during times of emergency. The United Way COVID-19 Crisis Fund proactively supports response and recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic affecting individuals and families below the ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) threshold in Montcalm and Ionia Counties. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Montcalm and Ionia Counties, United Way has established the COVID-19 Crisis Fund to support local nonprofits and community groups working with populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic faced with immediate, emergent and unanticipated community needs. Funds can be used on food supports, personal care items, shelter, and winter wear (receipts dated 11/15/20 - 12/31/20 must be included with final reports).

Quick Facts About the Fund

  • Fund contributions will be distributed for disaster recovery in the areas of emergency food and shelter efforts in Montcalm and Ionia Counties. 

In keeping with UWMI’s vision and mission, we will continue to prioritize organizations and groups:

  • Whose work benefits ALICE households with low incomes and historically and/or systematically marginalized people 
  • Whose primary program participants or services are offered in Montcalm and Ionia Counties

 In addition to the above, we are supporting organizations and groups:

  • Whose primary program participants are high-risk for contracting COVID-19 (e.g. older adults and those with chronic health conditions)
  • Who have experienced a decrease in critical volunteer capacity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Who have experienced an increase in staffing demands as a result of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

To Apply

Please visit our google form to apply for this grant. The maximum amount awarded will be $1,000. Contact Haley McLean at if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

*Last updated 11.17.2020

When will the application for funding be made available? The application was made available on Friday, May 1st, 2020 on the United Way’s website. Adjustments to the grant were made on November 17, 2020.

What is the period of time that the funds will be available and what time period with the grants cover? Grants funds will be available immediately. They are intended to cover costs for a period of up to three months.

What restrictions has the Fund placed on how agencies and groups can use grant funding? In recognition of the fluid nature of this crisis and the strain that puts on service agencies, we are putting a priority on flexible spending. The grant agreements will have basic stipulations on spending guidelines.

This Fund will be used to meet unmet needs, not duplicate or fund programs that other larger funding programs could cover, or needs that could be met by a federal or state program. Fund to reach organizations and groups that might not have access to resources otherwise will be prioritized.

Who will make funding decisions? The UWMI funding committee is the Emergency Food and Shelter Board for Montcalm and Ionia Counties. This committee is comprised of United Way Executive Director, United Way Program Manager, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Montcalm Area ISD, EightCAP Inc., Greenville Area Community Foundation and a community member. 

When will grant award decisions for individual agencies be made? Grant applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis. In recognition of the rapidly-evolving nature of this crisis, grant award decisions will be made weekly for the time being.

Are funds available only to human service nonprofits? No. Food pantries, shelters, and community collaboratives/groups using a fiscal agent are invited to apply. Government entities and schools/school districts are not eligible to apply for this funding. Unfortunately, UWMI is not able to provide funding directly to individuals.

How soon will UWMI make funds available? Once signed terms of grant are returned to UWMI, we will process ACH payment in 1-2 business days.  

If my organization’s application is approved, what will be the next steps? Once approved, your identified point of contact will receive an email that will verify your application has been approved, including the award amount, and will have instructions on how to submit your organization’s W-9 and steps to finalize the grant agreement. Funds will be dispersed as one-time ACH payments within 1-2 business days after signed terms of grant are received.

How will UWMI maintain transparency in its fundraising and distribution of funds? In activating this Fund, UWMI will take the following actions to remain transparent and accountable to our community:

  • A dedicated page on our website for the COVID-19 Crisis Fund
  • Track all donations to the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund in real time on our webpage;
  • Track all grant investments from the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund in real time on our webpage; 
  • Issue detailed reports on the three-month and six-month mark;
  • Share stories of the Fund’s impact on people, organizations and our community

Over what period of time will you be disbursing funds? Because the Fund’s purpose is to address immediate needs, we will be working to invest all allocable dollars through the winter.  Based on fundraising efforts and community need, after three months we will check in with nonprofits and groups to see whether the Fund’s purpose and use needs to shift based on community need.

How many times can my organization/group apply to the fund?  Organizations and groups may submit up to two (2) requests to the Fund.  Organizations and groups may only apply for the second request after the first request funding has been completely used by the organization. While UWMI continues to raise funds in our community for relief efforts, it is possible that available funds may be fully disbursed prior to this date.

Is the COVID-19 Crisis Fund only for organizations that have remained opened or is there relief for those that cannot remain open and are taking a hit because of it? We know that many nonprofits have reduced or temporarily halted service provision as a result of COVID-19.  The Crisis Fund is intended to support the needs of ALICE households most impacted by or vulnerable to COVID-19.  We presume that this support will take place through nonprofits and groups who are still operating programs and services.