Community Impact Grant Opportunities

Applying for a Community Impact Grant

United Way Manitowoc County Community Impact grants are how we invest local dollars in our communities to address specific community centered issues.  Funding decisions are made through an annual competitive application process.  Our Community Impact grants are invested in high performing organizations that provide programs and services aligned with our focus areas in Education, Income, and Health.  

Who can apply for a Community Impact grant?

Community Impact grants are open to any 501(c)(3) or other tax exempt organization, government or school.  Certain eligibility criteria must be met by the applying organization. 

What is the process?

All eligible organizations must attend a grant training session in order to apply. Organizations must submit a Letter of Intent, followed by a full application, if invited.

2017/18 Important Deadlines:

Letter of Intent Open to Applicants: October 3, 2016

Letter of Intent Deadline: October 24, 2016 

Full Application Open to Applicants (if invited): November 21, 2016

Full Application Deadline (if invited): December 28, 2016 

Funding decisions are made in April 2017.  The grant cycle will start July 1st, 2017 and go through a one year funding cycle (12 months).

What are United Way Manitowoc County's 2017-2018 Focus Areas?


Goal: Achieve Childhood and Youth Success

School Readiness (Prenatal to Age 5)

Elementary Academic Success

Middle and High School Academic Success

Out of School Support


Goal: Promote Economic Mobility 

• Family-Sustaining Employment

• Financial Empowerment

 Affordable Quality Childcare



Goal: Improve Physical & Mental Wellbeing

• Substance Abuse 

 Suicide Prevention

• Access to Mental Health Care & Awareness

• Healthy Relationships

 Healthy Aging


Can you write a grant application with another organization(s)?

Yes. Community Impact can be achieved through a variety of ways. How your program makes an impact must be illustrated in your letter of intent. The key is that your program's impact is clearly stated and collaborations are clearly described. 

What do you mean by audit documentation?

An important part of the grant process is ensuring the agency writing the grant is financially fit, meaning the agency is stable and has the ability to support its programs. One way United Way can measure the sustainability of a potential partner is by looking at financial reports. To ensure the information is accurate, we ask for audited financial statements from organizations requesting a grant.  Audited financial statements include the auditor’s opinion letter, financial statements and full disclosures.  United Way’s mission includes being the best stewards of the dollars raised.  Financial assessment of organizations requesting grant funding ensures accountability.

In some cases an auditor’s management letter may suffice. An auditor’s management letter is a letter issued by an auditor containing the firm’s conclusions regarding the company's accounting policies and procedures, internal controls and operating policies. An evaluation is made of the present system, pointing out problem areas. Recommendations for improvement are cited.

What can United Way funds be used for?

United Way funds are to be used for programs and are not to be used by organizations for operational expenses.

Where did the goals come from?

The goals were developed by the Community Impact Committee based on local data.  The Community Impact Committee worked through several data points to discern Manitowoc County’s leading social issues.  

Can we partner with a program that is in a different area (Education, Income, and Health)? 

Yes.  United Way recognizes that there are cross-sector relationships within the Education, Income, and Health areas.  If two or more organizations choose to collaborate on a grant, one organization should be identified as the lead and the fiscal agent. This organization is to author the Letter of Intent and Application, and will be in charge of managing the grant if awarded. We strongly recommend a Memorandum of Understanding be written between the organizations outlining expectations and responsibilities of each party.

Why does United Way focus more deeply on specific issues?

Like most organizations, we are challenged to meet the needs of our constituents and effectively drive change with limited resources.  By investing strategically in a streamlined set of priorities that align with our organizational goals and through focusing more deeply on fewer issue areas, we aim to make a more meaningful and measurable impact in the communities we serve.

What is the basis for funding decisions?

Funding decisions are based on alignment with United Way Manitowoc County’s community goals and the applicant’s ability to demonstrate tangible, measureable results.

Who reviews the Letter of Intent and application?

The application process is overseen by United Way Manitowoc County’s Community Impact Committee, three groups of highly-engaged external professionals comprised of board, corporate, nonprofit and community representatives.  External reviewers were selected from academia and the public and private sectors based upon their experience and knowledge of community need; diversity was also an important factor, as we wanted to ensure the entire region was represented.

Reviews were also thoroughly vetted for any conflicts of interest.  Throughout the rigorous review process, reviewers utilized an assessment to rate applications based on their quality, alignment with United Way’s community-level goals, and ability to demonstrate measurable results in their respective area of focus.  Reviewers are recruited from throughout Manitowoc County to provide feedback based on application in that location.

Questions? Contact the Community Impact Director at (920) 682-8888 ext. 105.