Apply for grants

Apply for grants

Partnering with local nonprofits 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 grantee partners across our program areas. 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.

We're currently accepting applications for funding from our Olneyville Community Fund.

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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.

Forbes Nonprofit Council members share tips on building mutually beneficial partnerships. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

Form Symbiotic Nonprofit Relationships

Forbes Nonprofit Council

"If not done carefully, a business relationship has the potential to hinder rather than help the work being done by both organizations. To prevent collaborations that hinder nonprofit work, 11 members of Forbes Nonprofit Council, including Cortney Nicolato, United Way of Rhode Island's president and CEO, share how nonprofit leaders can form mutually beneficial relationships with a partner or another organization."

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Rakia Islam is one of the Design Team members. PHOTO: Refugee Dream Center

Nonprofit Center Design Team Announced

GoLocalProv

"United Way of Rhode Island announced on Tuesday the... members of a 'Design Team' that will be tasked with co-creating a vision and plan for... a Nonprofit Resource Center... 'We had a strong application response, and [these] individuals particularly stood out for their collection of unique insights and commitment to collaboration,' said Cortney Nicolato, president and CEO of United Way."

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CORTNEY NICOLATO is the CEO and president of the United Way of Rhode Island. As of Monday afternoon, this year's 401Gives Day raised $3.09 million, breaking last year’s record total by close to a million dollars. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

401Gives raises $3.09M for 507 nonprofits

Providence Business News

"This year's 401Gives Day raised the bar, once again, in supporting the state's nonprofit sector. As of Monday afternoon, the annual online fundraising initiative raised $3.09M, breaking last year's record total by close to a million dollars. It also saw a record number of donors – 12,850 in total as of 2:15 p.m. Monday – and number of organizations supported at 507, exceeding last year's mark by 87."

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Olneyville Programs Awarded $182,708

Through its Olneyville Community Fund, United Way of Rhode Island has awarded $182,708 in grants to programs whose work is strengthening the Providence neighborhood it calls home… Investments focus on creating opportunities for all by improving access to services for residents, enhancing educational offerings for children through adults, and increasing nonprofit capacity to meet community need. Eleven organizations received funding.

Leaders Chosen for Nonprofit Innovation Lab

“The leaders of 10 local organizations have been selected as fellows to participate in the latest Nonprofit Innovation Lab. This marks the third cohort of the joint effort of United Way of Rhode Island and Social Enterprise Greenhouse that launched in 2020. The unique program challenges organizations to think outside the box to develop new solutions to pressing social issues.”

State of Black RI Issues Homeownership Report

“Disparities in homeownership for Black Americans have persisted over time, but in Rhode Island, the rate of Black homeowners lags behind the national figure. However, the implementation of policy recommendations outlined in the newly released The State of Black Rhode Island: Homeownership Report can help to reduce, and possibly eliminate, these disparities.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

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