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

Providence Journal logo

United Way to invest $100M to build racial equity

THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL

"The LIVE UNITED 2025 initiative is aimed at improving education, ensuring availability of housing that is affordable and safe for all, and empowering nonprofit organizations, among other objectives."

Read on site

Cortney Headshot

Cortney Nicolato: 20 who made a difference in 2020

GO LOCAL PROV

"When she was tapped as one of GoLocal’s 19 to Watch in 2019, like so many others, United Way President Cortney Nicolato couldn’t have imagined her role in 2020."

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Larry Warner

Five Questions With: Larry Warner

Providence Business News

"Redlining, racial covenants and discriminatory lending practices were fully legal practices that decreased homeownership among Blacks over several decades… Moreover, there is evidence of patterns of lower home valuations for BIPOC homeowners versus whites with comparable homes. Why does this matter, and how is it a root cause? Homeownership is highly correlated with accumulation of wealth."

Read on site

UPCOMING EVENTS

YLC

Young Leaders Circle Virtual Networking Night

Meet and reconnect virtually with other young professionals from 6 to 7 pm. We'll be using the Remo platform, so make sure to sign up in advance.

Register now.

A Women United member helps two children choose books to take home, thanks to our partner, Books Are Wings (BAW). BAW visits partner schools multiple times throughout the school year to distribute free books to students.

Women United Community Learning Partners

Join us via Zoom from 5-6 pm for the next event in this series, featuring Newport Partnership for Families.

Register now.

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From Hello to Help: 211 Day Event

Join us at 10 am for a Zoom webinar, "From hello to help: 211 is always there." Check back here or sign up for e-news below to receive registration details.