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 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

Featured image for Providence Journal Opinion Logo

ARPA a payment on bills long overdue

The Providence Journal

"The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) isn’t unexpected good fortune. It’s a past bill that’s overdue after decades of underfunding our communities," shares United Way of Rhode Island's president and CEO, Cortney Nicolato. "It’s also an opportunity to get things right and position our state to thrive for generations to come."

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Members of Forbes Nonprofit Council offer advice on balancing accountability with empathy in the workplace.

Balancing Accountability & Empathy At Work

Forbes Nonprofit Council

"Striking a balance between accountability and empathy is crucial for creating a work environment where employees can thrive... Here, 13 members of Forbes Nonprofit Council, including United Way of Rhode Island's president and CEO, Cortney Nicolato, share their expert tips on maintaining accountability and empathy in the workplace."

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MolinaCares logo

MolinaCares donates $105K to RI nonprofits

Providence Business News

"United Way of Rhode Island received $50,000 from the MolinaCares Accord for its Nonprofit Innovation Lab, designed to promote innovation within nonprofits to create programs focused on housing, health equity and solutions to racial disparity."

READ ON SITE

UPCOMING EVENTS

Women United Information Session

Join us noon-1 p.m. at our Women United Information Session. You'll learn ways to get involved as a leadership donor through United Way's Women United group. We will also discuss how this dynamic group of women raise funds each year towards childhood literacy.

Register 

United Way’s 95th Annual Celebration

Join United Way of Rhode Island on Tuesday, October 26 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. for our 95th Annual Celebration. Together, we're celebrating Rhode Island United and honoring our extraordinary community volunteers.

REGISTER

22nd Annual Lights On Afterschool

Join us for the Rhode Island Afterschool Network's 22nd annual Lights On Afterschool celebration. We'll showcase how afterschool programs are closing Rhode Island's achievement gap and explore ways to secure state funding for out-of-school time learning.

Register