Renee’s Reflection: Update on Community Impact Investment Process

You trust United Way to lead social impact and ensure dollars are well spent. To that end, I’m thrilled to share updates on our community impact investment process. 

Our work with local nonprofits is rich and complex, andone way we work together is through competitive grants that align with the Plan for Community Well-Being. Impact grant applications closed on May 17, and we are inspired by the quality, expertise and collaboration among local nonprofits! 

United Way of Dane County is recognized as a leader in effective grantmaking, pioneering practices that are respectful, empower nonprofit innovation and achieve measurable community impact. We center our grant practices in transformational grant making which allows nonprofits more ability to fulfil their mission in responsive, adaptive ways. 

This January, our Board made an important decision, recommended by the Vision Council. In addition to impact grants, we will continue to fund collective impact partnerships (such as Schools of Hope and the HIRE Initiative) with a longer investment cycle. Those nonprofits which are currently part of a collective impact partnership will not need to reapply during this Request For Proposal (RFP) cycle. These partnerships vary from the typical RFP selection process and often include deeper, long-standing relationships with proven outcomes over time. The responses we have received to this decision are joyful and thankful. Here’s just one from a children’s mental health partner, who is part of our collective to ensure more children succeed academically and in life: 

“We at Rainbow are so grateful for United Way’s support and honored to be a part of this collaboration. We feel respected by this decision and are impressed with the opportunity for United Way to sustain support to strengthen this community collaborative, as well as to save agency time and resources when having to apply yearly.”
– Sharyl Kato, Executive Director of The Rainbow Project. 

Your investments in United Way are leveraging this kind of responsible and respectful nonprofit trust and collaboration, to achieve more positive results, together. I hope you feel proud of the impact you are making, I know I do.