To learn about the grants available to organizations throughout Berks County, visit our Grants page.
United Way of Berks County (UWBC) takes Agency Partner status seriously. UWBC’s goal is to have long-lasting relationships with Agency Partners that continue to fulfill a priority community need. Strong relationships include Agency Partners: (1) delivering effective services on an annual basis, (2) meeting UWBC funding requirements (as outlined by a mutual agreement which includes no fundraising during United Way’s annual campaign) and (3) communicating and participating in United Way activities and opportunities in a timely manner.
UWBC makes a three-year commitment to Agency Partners to strategically invest in programs addressing high priority Berks County community needs in the focus areas of Education, Financial Stability, Health and Safety Net Services. During the three-year cycle, agencies participate in a volunteer-led annual review process. This process monitors fiscal and governance practices of the agency as well as evaluates programs receiving UWBC funding to ensure investments are directed to high performing agencies and programs effectively addressing high priority community needs on an ongoing basis. UWBC funding dollars are prioritized to agencies and programs that demonstrate High Performance measurements in High Priority areas, as determined by volunteers involved in the investment process.
In order for UWBC to consider adding a new Agency Partner, resources need to be available which requires one or more of the following conditions to exist:
- Dollars raised during the annual UWBC Campaign are sufficient and sustainable to support existing UWBC Agency Partner programs, as well as funding to support other grant initiatives and provide additional sustainable funding that would make it feasible to support programs delivered by a new Agency Partner.
- UWBC’s relationship with a current Agency Partner changes where the annual investment to that agency decreases or is eliminated (due to performance issues or change in priority community needs).
- UWBC identifies a critical community need that needs to be resourced (in the short-term or long-term).
If any of the aforementioned conditions occur and UWBC determines that there are dollars available to add an additional Agency Partner(s), the volunteer-driven Community Impact Cabinet will determine how the dollars will be focused to address a critical need/service. Once that is determined, UWBC will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP), which will be open to 501(c)(3) organizations providing services to Berks County residents.
UWBC recognizes organizations, beyond agency partners, are providing important and vital services to the community. With this in mind, UWBC provides annual grant funding opportunities:
- Rapid Response Grants provide funding for local 501(c)(3) organizations that have experienced an unanticipated change in financial circumstances that jeopardizes a program’s ability to be effective, thereby causing serious consequences to clients and potentially the community as a whole. Alternatively, funding may be requested to address a significantly increased demand for services that exceeds the organization’s capacity to meet with current financial resources. Maximum grant amount is $15,000. Applications are received throughout the year as needs are incurred by organizations.
- Venture Grants provide one-time funding opportunities that support new or expanded programs which respond to specifically identified needs of underserved populations and/or geographic areas. A focus area based on community need/input is determined each year for this process. The application process occurs during the summer. The maximum grant amount that can be requested is $25,000.
- LIVE UNITED Grants are designed for grass-roots or smaller community organizations working on projects that bring people together in a variety of ways to improve the quality of life for Berks County residents. The maximum grant award is $5,000. The opportunity for applying occurs in the summer.
To learn more about any of these grant opportunities, please contact Kristin Gehris, Community Impact Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: UWBC appreciates that community organizations express interest in being considered as a future Agency Partner; we keep a running list of these organizations.