Funding Opportunities

Our community’s most critical challenges

United Way of East Central Iowa focuses on identifying the root cause of our community’s most critical challenges. To create positive, lasting community change, it’s not enough to find shelter for a family; we strive to change the condition that led to homelessness in the first place.

Who/What does United Way fund?

By funding programs through local nonprofits, together we can build effective strategies to change these conditions. This requires collaboration of diverse community partners: businesses, local nonprofits, schools, organized labor, government, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, and many others. View our current list of partners and programs.

How does United Way decide who/what to fund?

Three Solutions Teams help guide United Way of East Central Iowa’s funding priorities. Each Solutions Team is a group of volunteers based on their professional expertise, diverse background, and regional representation. The teams train in one of three focus areas: Education (Early Childhood and Youth), Financial Stability (Income), or Health (Independence) — with an overview of research and best practices, agency performance, ongoing community initiatives and collaborations.

Along with United Way staff, the Solution Teams review results twice annually. Each focus area has a business plan and a report card to assess our annual progress on key strategies and our overall community goals.

The Solutions Teams’ goal is to fund the most effective strategies to achieve the three community goals. They conduct an intensive and competitive review process every three years.

The teams give priority to strategies that:

  • Align with community goals
  • Show a strong connection between community need and proposed strategies
  • Demonstrate performance in improving clients’ well-being
  • Can measure their performance
  • Integrate promising and best practices and consider leveraging resources and collaborative opportunities
  • Demonstrate a probability of success
  • Provide reasonable and appropriate costs for the activities required

How can my agency receive funding from United Way?

Steps to apply through United Way of East Central Iowa for the upcoming cycle of 2018-2020 funding:

  1. Submit the following information in a collated PDF document by October 21st, 2016 at 12:00pm to
  2. Review the following document before completing step 3
  3.  Submit the following in a PDF document by October 21st, 2016 at 12:00pm to
  4. Once an agency receives an invitation to apply for a type of grant, either Continuation or Enhancement and a focus area of Education, Financial Stability, or Health on October 28th complete step number four.
  5. Submit in a collated PDF document by January 13th, 2017 at 4:30pm to

New Applicants Only: add to the above collated PDF the following documents

  • 501(C)(3) Designation Letter
  • Current Bylaws
  • Audit or Independent Financial Review
  • IRS Form 990
  • Board approved annual budget with accompanying narrative                          

Additional RFP Documents to assist in application preparation:

RFP Training

The training about applying for the RFP will take place at the Human Services Campus (317 7th Ave SE Cedar Rapids, IA 52401) in the Rex Eno Conference Room on the Second Floor on November 8th from 8:00am – 10:00am. The training will be a time to go through all of the RFP narrative questions, Process Map, Logic Model, and data mapping as well as answer any questions applicants have about the RFP or other tools. You can register at

If you believe your work can help achieve our community goals, you are welcome to apply. Please review the materials posted below to determine your eligibility and alignment with the three focus areas. Eligibility, policies, and a description of the funding process are included in the Partner Agency Guidelines. It’s often helpful to contact United Way to discuss your ideas before submitting a letter of intent.

If you have questions or want additional information, contact Leslie Wright by emailing or calling 319-398-5372 ext. 815.