Focused Grants Guidelines

Focused Grants Guidelines

Focused Grant Purpose: United Way of Berks County is the recipient of a financial gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. In her blog “384 Ways to Help,” published on December 15, 2020, Ms. Scott wrote, “This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling. Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty.”

The impacts of COVID-19 are likely to be felt for the next several years. In most aspects, the pandemic brought new light to the many disparities that the community was facing and have made it difficult to ignore. As Ms. Scott points out in her blog post, there were some segments of our community hit harder than most whether due to the color of their skin, or the zip code in which they lived. As a result, United Way of Berks County has created an opportunity for nonprofits serving Berks County providing health and human services to apply for grants addressing critical community needs that will reduce the disparities exacerbated by the pandemic.

Grant Conditions: Focused Grants are intended to provide multi-year financial support for nonprofit organizations to launch a new and/or expand delivery of existing programs or services that will reduce the disparities faced by residents of Berks County and have long-term impacts in the areas of Workforce Development and/or Health. White papers for each focus area were developed based on community conversations, in addition to local, state, and national research. Details can be found here: Workforce Development and Health Inequities.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing health and human services to Berks County residents.
  • Organization is prepared to implement a new and/or expand delivery of existing program/service that addresses one or both focus areas.
  • Collaboration is strongly encouraged as part of program implementation. Any specific partnership roles/details should be outlined in signed letters of commitment (to be uploaded with the application). The lead applicant will apply on behalf of the partnership. Additional documentation will need to be submitted as part of the application if any dollars are subcontracted.

Award Amount: There is no minimum or maximum amount for which organizations may apply; however, United Way reserves the option to award a lesser amount, based on demonstrated need and available resources. This is a multi-year grant opportunity; a maximum of three years for this funding request. A detailed program/project budget narrative for each program year will be required as part of the application. In addition, applicants are asked to provide pertinent information regarding sustainability of the project beyond these grant dollars.

Application: Grant applications will be accepted, via e-CImpact and includes program overview, projected outcomes/outputs, projected organization and program budgets, and projected demographics. Non-UWBC agency partners (the lead applicant and/or any subcontractors) are required to upload documents in the Compliance section of e-CImpact including 501(c)(3) documentation, most recent audit and 990, and current board of directors.

Reporting: If awarded the grant, reports will be requested for each year during the grant period. Each report will include annual actual budget and future projections, outcomes achieved and demographics of those served with grant funding. Each additional year of funding is contingent upon satisfactory performance and the availability of dollars.

In addition, at least 2 program photos and client success story are required (please maintain client permissions). UWBC Community Level Outcomes and Program Level Outputs for reporting can be accessed via the Resource Center on e-CImpact. e-CImpact is a comprehensive grant and performance management software tool that helps simplify the grant application, evaluation, and reporting processes for success.

Application Process: Focused Grants applications will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of experienced community volunteers and approved by the United Way Board of Directors. Should the volunteer panel need additional information regarding the application, an interview or site visit may be scheduled with the applying organization.

Review Criteria: Fully completed applications will be evaluated based on the following:

  • How well the program matches the purpose of the grant program.
  • The strength of the program to effectively address the identified community issue(s).
  • The reasonableness and appropriateness of the budget for the proposed program.
  • Demonstrated ability and capacity of the organization, and collaborating partners, to ensure timely implementation and successful achievement of desired outcomes.

Grant Timeline: The Focused Grant application opens Tuesday, September 7, 2021, at 8:00AM. The deadline for submission is Sunday, October 31, 2021, at 11:59PM. Awards will be announced by February 1, 2022.

Disclaimer: Receipt of a Focused Grant does not entitle a recipient organization to receive Agency Partner status with United Way of Berks County (if not already) or to receive ongoing funding of any kind. Organizations who apply for this grant must be aware that they will need to find other sources of funding to continue their project efforts after the Focused Grant funding expires.

Questions or Support:

  • For technical assistance with e-CImpact, contact Jennifer Tinsman at jennifert@uwberks.org.
  • For any other grant-related questions or assistance, contact Ashley Chambers at ashleyc@uwberks.org.
  • Please review our Focused Grants FAQ page for a list of frequently asked questions. All questions submitted are added to the FAQ page weekly.