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

United Way’s 211 line has received 90K+ calls about pandemic, CEO says

211 has received 90K+ calls about pandemic

WPRI 12

"United Way's 211 call center has been inundated with questions and concerns from Rhode Islanders regarding the coronavirus pandemic… during an interview Wednesday… [United Way of Rhode Island's president and CEO Cortney] Nicolato said the call volume increased roughly 40% from previous years, 'and [we] were already taking the most calls per capita in the country.'"

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United Way pledged $100M toward equity

The Brown Daily Herald

"United Way of Rhode Island has pledged $100M to promote racial equity through accessible education, affordable housing, and employment for Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Rhode Island as part of the organization’s LIVE UNITED 2025 plan to help address systemic racism… [Brown] University has pledged… $600,000… [over] the next four years toward the LIVE UNITED 2025 campaign."

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Shekarchi unveils legislative package on housing

Shekarchi unveiled legislative package

WPRI 12

"House Speaker Joe Shekarchi on Monday unveiled a legislative package... that he said could go a long way toward addressing the state’s affordable housing challenges. 'Housing is a fundamental right for all humans and that’s not a reality today,' [United Way of Rhode Island's president and CEO Cortney] Nicolato said. 'We know we have to do better.'"

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UPCOMING EVENTS

forum on economic stability

Forum on Economic Stability

Join United Way of Rhode Island and the City of Providence at 1 p.m. for a virtual forum on economic stability. You'll hear from policymakers and advocates about policies you can advocate for to help Rhode Island families achieve economic stability.

Register here.

Our Community Learning Partners Series features community partners that are dedicated to improving children's literacy.

Community Learning Partners Series

Join Women United at 12 p.m. for the next event in their Community Learning Partners Series. You'll hear an update on the state of afterschool in Rhode Island from United Way's Ayana Melvan and Representative Julie A. Casimiro.

Register here.

401Gives Day on April 1, 2021

YLC Learn with Leaders Series

Join Young Leaders Circle at 5:30 p.m. to hear about the largest statewide giving day - 401Gives, and how you can become a champion for your favorite nonprofit.

Register here.