Apply for grants

Apply for grants

Partnering with local nonrprofits to achieve our strategic goals

We’re investing in nonprofits doing great work in our areas of focus.

United Way of Rhode Island makes grants consistent with our mission: Uniting our community and resources to build racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders.

Our mission and its specific, measurable goals are presented in our LIVE UNITED 2025 strategic plan. You can download the plan, and read more about our mission and history here.

Our grantmaking focus

United Way of Rhode Island is committed to leveraging all of our assets (i.e., advocacy, convening, fundraising, strategic investments, awareness building) to create a more equitable Rhode Island. Much of our work is done in collaboration with grantees and other partners. We strive to engage with our grantees and partners in a spirit of trust, candid communication, and transparency. Our collective efforts also depend on the support and resources of governments, the private sector, communities, and individuals.

We primarily make grants to 501(c)(3) public charities. We also make grants to support organizations or projects that work with qualifying fiscal sponsors. We do not make grants to individuals or for scholarships. It is also rare for United Way of Rhode Island to fund capital projects or event sponsorships.

United way's strategic pillars

From 2021 through 2025, United Way of Rhode Island’s investments and work will be organized around the four pillars and respective focus areas outlined in the LIVE UNITED 2025 strategic plan.

Achieve United

Our "Achieve United" pillar is about advancing childhood learning. Its focus is early childhood literacy and out-of-school time learning programs.

Learn more

Advocate United

Our "Advocate United" pillar is about driving public policy. Our areas of focus include state and municipal policy, advocacy and research.

Learn more

Lift United

Our "Lift United" pillar concerns building economic security, including housing, workforce development, and adult education.

Learn more

Invest United

Our "Invest United" pillar involves expanding philanthropy. It's focus areas include nonprofit capacity building, resilience and diversity.

Learn more

To see current open requests for proposals (RFPs) and apply for grants, visit our grantmaking portal.

United Way of Rhode Island supports a diverse set of grantees across our program areas. You can see examples of recent grantees here.

For each round of grants, we issue a request for proposals (RFP) that outlines the work we are funding, the amounts of grants, the application process, and how we measure and evaluate results.

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Additional funding and capacity building support

United Way of Rhode Island’s strategic goals include both increasing the number of Rhode Island nonprofits in stable financial condition and increasing the amount of Rhode Island households that contribute to charities. We raise millions of dollars a year for local nonprofits via our workplace campaigns and 401Gives. In these programs, donors designate gifts for the qualifying nonprofits of their choice.

  • Workplace campaign donors may select any 501c3 and nonprofits do not solicit gifts; learn more about our workplace campaigns here.
  • Nonprofits elect to participate in 401Gives and may actively solicit designated contributions; learn more about raising money via 401Gives here.

Designated funds from workplace campaigns are distributed through our agency portal and 401Gives through the GiveGab dashboard. Agencies may reach the agency portal the login link at the top of our webpages. 

Our capacity building support includes mobilizing volunteers, professional development (notably, the Executive Director Learning Circle), and the Grantmakers' Council and other resources.

IN THE NEWS

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15 Features Nonprofit Websites Should Have

Forbes Nonprofit Council

"With so many interactions taking place online, a solid website is a must-have for nonprofit organizations... To help you create a stand-out web presence, a panel of Forbes Nonprofit Council members, including United Way of Rhode Island's president and CEO Cortney Nicolato, share some features nonprofit websites must include to appeal to current and prospective members or supporters.”

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United Way's 401Gives Day helped local nonprofit stay open through the pandemic

401Gives helped local nonprofit stay open

WPRI 12

"401Gives... is held on April 1… This year, 401Gives is especially important since 2020 was a double hit for local nonprofits… with the pandemic collapsing their traditional fundraising opportunities, and… the need for their services increased. 'If we hadn't had 401Gives, we probably would not have made it through the year,' [Karen Dalton, founder of Dare to Dream Ranch] recalled."

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401Gives hopes to raise $1.5M on April 1

Providence Business News

"The community will have another opportunity April 1 to offer their favorite nonprofits support. The second annual 401Gives... online campaign will go live that day... [Donors] can visit 401gives.org and send their donations to various charities and causes... Along with fundraising, United Way is also offering nonprofits digital training and networking opportunities to help the organizations benefit highly from... 401Gives."

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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Community Learning Partners Series

Join Women United from 12 – 1 p.m. for the next event in our Community Learning Partners Series, featuring New Urban Arts and Movement Education Outdoors. You'll hear how these organizations' afterschool programs are fostering creativity, problem-solving, and a growth mindset in amazing spaces.

Register here.

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Strength in Storytelling: “All American Boys”

Join Women United from 6 – 7 p.m. for a virtual discussion about the award-winning novel “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. This discussion will be hosted by Women United member Kristin Cassarino, an instructor at Providence College and William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School, and Dr. Adama Brown, United Way of Rhode Island's director of research and data analytics.

Register here.

Community First Conversation, Annual Children's Book Drive

2021 Children’s Book Drive, a Community First Conversation

Join us from noon– 12:30 p.m. for our Community First Conversation about our 2021 Children's Book Drive. Our hosts are Women United's chair Peggy Lamb and executive member Nancy Serpa. They will be joined by Jocelynn White, executive director at Books Are Wings, and Lori DiMatteo, volunteer coordinator at United Way of Rhode Island.

Register here. 

2021 Children Book Drive

2021 Children’s Book Drive

From May 1 – 31, United Way of Rhode Island, Women United, and Books Are Wings are collecting gently-used and new books for our 2021 Children's Book Drive. You can run a book drive at your school or workplace, or with your friends and family. Books may be dropped off at Cardi's Furniture & Mattresses locations in West Warwick, RI, South Attleboro, MA, and Swansea, MA. For more information on drop-off locations or running a book drive, contact bookdrive@unitedwayri.org.