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.
Our "Achieve United" pillar is about advancing childhood learning. Its focus is early childhood literacy and out-of-school time learning programs.
Our "Lift United" pillar concerns building economic security, including housing, workforce development, and adult education.
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.
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.
Program aims to reverse learning loss
For 30 hours a week for six weeks, the Summer Learning Initiative gives students the opportunity to learn in fun and out-of-the-box ways... "There’s ways to be able to explore and be creative without feeling like they are falling farther and farther behind, which I think a lot of youth are feeling right now because of the pandemic," [Marlene] Guay said.
Summer energy bill assistance is available
The Westerly Sun
The Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund is open to all eligible Rhode Island households experiencing financial difficulty and [needing] assistance with energy expenses, even in the summer. The fund is sponsored by Rhode Island Energy, Block Island Utility District, Ocean State Power, Pascoag Utility District, Petro Home Services and RISEC LP and administered by United Way of Rhode Island.
10 Ways Nonprofits Can Influence Giving
Forbes Nonprofit Council
As nonprofits seek out donations, leveraging... win-win opportunities can be an effective way to further the social goals of the nonprofit and potential donors. Below, a panel of experts from Forbes Nonprofit Council, including Cortney Nicolato, United Way of Rhode Island's president and CEO, each share one... strategy nonprofit leaders can leverage to influence major corporations to support community-serving efforts.
United Way of Rhode Island is launching a new leadership development series for staff of local nonprofits with annual budgets of $5 million and under and is currently accepting applications from interested participants. The no-cost program is the Deputy Director Learning Circle, and it was developed specifically to strengthen the competencies of nonprofit staff who aspire to become executive directors.
In support of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that returns millions of dollars to the pockets of eligible Rhode Islanders, United Way of Rhode Island is making a total of $500,000 in funding available over a two-year grant cycle.
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.
Join United Way of Rhode Island for our 96th Annual Celebration on Wednesday, October 12 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at Farm Fresh Rhode Island in Providence. Together, we'll celebrate the positive impact we've made this year, thanks to you — our donors, partners, and volunteers — and honor the heroes among us. This event is free and open to all. Registration is required.