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

21-Day Equity Challenge logo

United Way starts 21-Day Equity Challenge

Rhode Island Monthly

"If you’d like to learn more about equity and its role in the fight against systemic racism, United Way… is here to help. Starting on Wednesday, February 24, Rhode Islanders can take part in United Way’s 21-Day Equity Challenge. Participants will receive a daily email that will feature different topics on racial equity, [including] racial identity, implicit bias… and allyship."

Read on site

11 members of Forbes Nonprofit Council

11 Ways Nonprofits Can Garner Feedback

Forbes Nonprofit Council

"As with any business, [nonprofits must] balance… where… donors want to go and what… [customers] desire… [and] find a way to make giving feedback as painless as possible… To help, 11 members of Forbes Nonprofit Council discuss how [nonprofits can] generate feedback from both donors and customers to better plot the trajectory of the organization."

Read on site

Cortney Nicolato - CEO of United Way discusses the upcoming bond issue question for housing

United Way’s Nicolato: Support All 7 Bonds

GoLocalProv

"Cortney Nicolato with United Way of Rhode Island appeared on GoLocal LIVE to advocate for all seven bonds on the March 2 special election ballot — and one bond question most importantly. Nicolato explained why United Way believes question three to support affordable housing is most critical for the community."

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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YLC and Wavemaker Networking Night

Join Young Leaders Circle (YLC) members and Wavemaker Fellows at 5:30 p.m for a virtual networking event. You'll have the opportunity to meet other young professionals and expand your network from the comfort of your home.

Register here.

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.