Grants/Funded Partners

Grants/Funded Partners

JANUARY ARTICLE

If you’ve been around our organization a time or two, you are probably aware that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are among some of our core values. Pursuing these values is not an overnight achievement, but rather a journey that we have committed to walking for the long haul. If you’ve ever been on a hike or long walk, you’d know that it’s so much better and fulfilling to bring friends along with you. That’s why, ever since taking our first steps toward creating a more equitable McLennan County, we’ve invited our fellow nonprofit partners to listen, learn and pursue action alongside us. 

Over the years, we’ve sought to ensure our grant making is equitable by adapting our processes to include things such as offering free, contracted grant writing assistance for nonprofit grant applicants who are lower-resourced, led by people of color and have yet to receive a United Way grant. We’ve also provided alternative submission options in our grant application that allow applicants to submit certain sections with a video response as opposed to written, in an attempt to cater to different communication styles. Our grant review and selection process has been led by community volunteers diverse in race, age, gender, lived and professional experience, since the launch of our grant making model. This ensures us that our funding decisions are being made by the community, for the community.

This month, we hosted a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training for our current Funded Partners and nonprofit grant applicants as a way to share learning and resources within our nonprofit community. Staff from United Ways of Texas came from Austin to equip attendees with foundational DEI knowledge and an organizational assessment tool for nonprofits to use to inform their internal action planning to further their commitment to DEI. If you’re interested in conducting an organizational assessment of your DEI practices, check out the assessment tool that our training covered.

It excites us to imagine how our community could transform when each one of us is taking active steps to pursue greater equity. This is something we pursue not because we have to, but because we know that in a community where there is equity, everyone thrives. Our hope is to see McLennan County become such a community.

DECEMBER ARTICLE

As we enter into the holiday season and reflect on 2022, we are keenly aware of the many ways in which our community’s nonprofits have poured their heart and soul into serving McLennan County residents of all ages, races, and life circumstances, offering empathy and dignity day-in and day-out. It takes a special kind of someone to dedicate your career to ensuring others are equipped to thrive and we at United Way, thanks to the support of a generous network of givers across the county, have the privilege of supporting these individuals on their respective missions.

As 2022 comes to a close…

We wish to recognize and thank Family Abuse Center, Inspiracion, STARRY Inc., The Arc of McLennan County, and The Cove Waco for their dedication to ensuring that parents are empowered to be their child’s first and best teacher, creating a father-positive community, nurturing children and adults with developmental disabilities to discover their own superpowers, and providing youth a place to call ‘home.’

We wish to recognize and thank Ascension Providence, Baylor Scott & White, Communities in Schools, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, Waco Family Medicine, STARRY, Inc., and The Arc of McLennan County for working to lower rates of diabetes and breast cancer, supporting pregnant women’s health and well-being, providing accessible mental health counseling for youth, adults and families, and empowering girls to build meaningful social connections and reuniting families.

We wish to recognize and thank Caritas of Waco, Christian Women’s Job Corps, Grassroots Community Development, and Waco Cultural Arts Fest for their commitment to ensuring McLennan County women, families, and the special needs community have opportunities to advance in their careers, receive financial education and develop job skills.

We wish to recognize and thank Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children, American Gateways, Care Net Pregnancy Center, CASA of McLennan County, Community Cancer Association, Family Abuse Center, Greater Waco Legal Services, Meals on Wheels Waco, and Mission Waco Mission World for providing legal representation and advocacy for our immigrant community, children in foster care and those who otherwise couldn’t afford it, a safe place for victims of domestic violence, needed medications and support for cancer patients, and food, shelter, and basic essentials for men, women and families facing adverse circumstances.

I encourage you to go back and read through those paragraphs again and let the sheer volume and impact of the work that our nonprofit partners have done this year sink in. That’s a lot of lives touched in so many different and needed ways. If you get the chance before you enter into your holiday season, thank a nonprofit employee for their service in 2022. A little gratitude goes a long way. Likewise, we wish to share our gratitude with each of our donors who help make this kind of collective impact possible.

Change doesn’t happen alone.

NOVEMBER ARTICLE

The 2023-24 Grant Cycle has begun!

It’s November, and that means we’re starting up a new Grant Year! Every early November, we begin our Grant Year with the Eligibility Process. The Eligibility Process is the first step on the journey to become a United Way Funded Partner. On November 7th, we held an Eligibility Info Session, where returning and new nonprofit organizations could learn about what United Way is and how our grant process works. The first step in the grant application process is for interested nonprofit organizations and programs to submit a required Eligibility Checklist via our online grant portal. The Checklist consists of basic eligibility questions and document uploads. The Eligibility period runs from November 7th until November 28th. Eligible programs that meet UWWMC’s eligibility criteria and align with our Impact Framework will be invited to submit a full grant application in January 2023.

If you or a nonprofit organization you know is interested in a United Way grant, check out the Eligibility Process page of our website for information about how to submit an Eligibility Checklist.

While the Eligibility Info Session itself is nothing new, this particular Eligibility Info Session was special. We revealed our new Impact Framework (dubbed “Impact Framework 2.0”), and we’re proud to share that with the community!

United Way of Waco-McLennan County’s Impact Framework is a set of strategic priorities that guide our grant-making. Impact Framework 2.0 has been introduced in an effort to align our grant-making with community-identified priorities in the Child Well-being Movement’s Community Action Plan.

This updated framework combines our original strategic goal areas with the desires of the community as espoused in our Community Action Plan. While we still focus on ensuring the Health, Education and Financial Stability of all of McLennan County’s residents, our new Impact Framework is more focused. Our four “Pillars” of Education, Health, Financial Stability, and Safety Net Services have now been condensed into three new Pillars: Children, Families, and Communities to reflect a new lens on child well-being.

The Children Pillar focuses on ensuring access to high-quality childcare and educational opportunities. Families focuses on meeting the basic needs of McLennan County’s children and families. Finally, Communities focuses on increasing access to community resources. Now, before you worry too much, many of our original Impact Framework’s goals and objectives still exist, they have just been restructured throughout the Framework. In addition, new strategies from our Community Action Plan were added to the framework to ensure McLennan County residents’ identified needs are being met. One of the new strategies under Communities, for instance, is focused on providing local resources (staff, programs, information) in Spanish throughout community services. In Families, we see a desire to provide supportive classes and groups for caregivers of children. There are more instances of these newly added resident priorities throughout Impact Framework 2.0.

Let it be known, though, that we’re continuing to fund programs that support children and their families, not just children, because we know that in order to ensure McLennan County is a strong community, we must take a whole-child, family-focused and cross-sector approach.

With Impact Framework 2.0, our goal was to focus resources on issues where community members feel they are most needed. In September, we called together a Community Grant Taskforce from members throughout the community, to share their thoughts and suggestions for revision of Impact Framework 2.0. Community voice remains at the heart of this process.

That’s all for this entry; however, things are ramping up here for our Grants and Impact Team! We are excited to welcome new nonprofits as United Way Funded Partners in the coming year! Stay tuned for our next article!

OCTOBER ARTICLE

One of the requirements for those who receive grants from United Way of Waco-McLennan County (UWWMC) are Funded Partner Site Visits. Site visits are an excellent opportunity for our United Way volunteers (including Board, committee, and CIC members/FRC), staff and interns to see “where the money is going.”

From October 17th-21st, United Way staff and volunteers participated in eleven different site visits, with eleven funded partners:

  • American Gateways
  • Ascension Providence
  • Christian Women’s Job Corp Waco
  • Communities in Schools in the Heart of Texas
  • Family Abuse Center
  • Girl Scouts of Central Texas
  • Inspiración
  • Mission Waco
  • STARRY, Inc.
  • The Arc of McLennan County
  • The Cove – Heart of Texas, Inc.

These Funded Partners are doing tremendous work in the community. Many even serve those outside the McLennan County area – bringing their much needed services to more rural areas. We’re thankful for them and all the work they have done.

Eligibility Info Session

It’s fall, and that means we’re gearing back up for our Eligibility Info Session! Eligibility is the first step in the grant application process for interested organizations and programs. They must submit a required Eligibility Checklist online. Eligible programs that meet UWWMC’s eligibility criteria and align with our Impact Framework will be invited to submit a full grant application.

So, when is the Eligibility Info Session? It will be held on Monday, November 7th from 2 – 3 PM CST. It will be held via Zoom, and the link to register is available here. If you are a non-profit or know of a non-profit and are interested in our grant process, please feel free to register! We hope to see you all soon!

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE

One of the requirements for those who receive grants from United Way of Waco-McLennan County (UWWMC) are Funded Partner Site Visits. Site visits are an excellent opportunity for our United Way volunteers (including Board, committee, and CIC members/FRC), staff and interns to see “where the money is going.” Reading an organization’s application and reports is one thing, but to be on-site, and seeing that good work being put into action is another thing. During the week of August 15th, that opportunity came.

From August 15th-19th, United Way staff and volunteers participated in thirteen different site visits, with eleven funded partners:

  • Advocacy Center
  • Baylor Scott & White
  • CASA of McLennan County
  • Care Net Pregnancy Center
  • Caritas of Waco
  • Community Cancer Association
  • Grassroots Community Development
  • Greater Waco Legal Services
  • Meals on Wheels Waco
  • Waco Cultural Arts Fest
  • Waco Family Medicine

The site visits may be a requirement, but they are a reminder to our staff and volunteers that while the Funded Partners are thankful for receiving funds, it must never be forgotten that these non-profits are the “foot soldiers” of action. These are the ones who work tirelessly to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are given the tools they need to achieve their full potential. These Funded Partners are doing tremendous work in the community. Many even serve those outside the McLennan County area – bringing their much needed services to more rural areas.

And so this first round of site visits comes to an end. But you’ll note that it was only round one of two of our Funded Partner site visits! In October, we’ll be having site visits with the rest of our Funded Partners. Stay tuned!

“As a United Way CIC member, I’ve had the opportunity to champion the way forward at increasing the equity in grant-making. Collectively, we strive to move the dial in a direction whereby funded programs are representative of the communities they serve.”

Paula Solano, 2021 Community Investment Council Member

1516 Austin Ave., Suite 2
Waco, Texas 76701
254.752.2753