Annual Agency Program Partner Grants
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Annual Agency Program Partner Grants

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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County focuses on our community’s most serious problems and is committed to strategic investments in Health, Education, Financial Stability, and Equity. If your program is aligned with these core issues, opportunities may exist for funding. United Way provides funding to more than 220 programs at over 110 local health and human services agencies on an annual basis. These programs provide quality services to individuals and families throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties. United Way invests in programs within member and non-member agencies that target specific issues through short-term “Strategic Initiative-based” and “Urgent Needs” grants. 

Each year, United Way’s Community Impact Division and Board of Directors allocate funds to programs within partner agencies. United Way’s annual Agency Partnership Agreement provides a framework that holds each funded program to a high standard of accountability of maintaining appropriate program results, administration, board participation, volunteer membership, engagement with United Way’s community campaign, and agency financial health..

Funding Criteria

On an annual basis, United Way volunteers determine whether sufficient funding for new programs is available from the United Way Community Fund. Agencies/programs may be considered for partnership in United Way’s safety net of services only after successfully completing and reporting on at least two years of non-partner program funding and recommendation from Community Impact Division Staff and the Community Impact Advisory Committee. This process may take two-three years to complete. Approved agencies will join the 90+ partner agencies that receive ongoing funding and will be subject to organizational and programmatic requirements. Annual funding through strategic initiatives or other grants does not automatically qualify an agency to be considered for program partner status.

Visit our Funding Opportunities page and sign up to receive notification of new funding opportunities.

Approved agencies join partnership agencies that receive ongoing, programmatic funding, and will be subject to organizational and programmatic requirements.

United Way Funding FAQs

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What is the criteria for United Way Agency Program Partners?
  • Health and human services agencies only.
  • Agencies that have current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, are in good standing, and have been operating locally for a minimum of a year.
  • Organizations and programs that have demonstrated broad community support and a record of fiscal and administrative stability.
  • Organizations must annually agree to and sign the United Way Agency Partnership Agreement.
What initiative funding or competitive grants are available?

United Way is pleased to offer annual funding opportunities to community organizations within Greater Milwaukee. As community priorities shift, United Way directs these dollars toward particular investment strategies. For current funding priorities and eligibility criteria visit our Funding Opportunities page. Sign up there to receive email notifications when new funding opportunities are posted.

What are urgent needs grants?

Urgent Need grants address important, pressing needs caused by the current economic landscape or other serious issues.


  • United Way Program Partner agencies are the top priority to receive funding from this stream. 
  • Eligible activities include agency-level funding, funding for health and human services programs, as well as support for programs not currently receiving United Way funding.
  • All programs applying must be in alignment with United Way policies and guidelines.
  • On a case-by-case basis, non-partner agencies may be eligible if they are responding to an emergency need in the community.
What is considered ineligible for grant funding?
  • Organizations that discriminate based on social or economic class, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation and identification, disability, special health care needs, race, color, national origin, or religion.
  • Political causes, candidates, organizations, or campaigns,
  • Fundraising activities, which provide more than token benefits in exchange for contributions sought,
  • Athletic teams or events,
  • Booster or social clubs,
  • Extracurricular activities of educational institutions and
  • Individual needs, such as scholarships or other forms of financial aid.
Can an agency reapply if they are declined funding?

Several grant opportunities are available every year. Visit our Funding Opportunities page to learn more about each opportunity and the criteria for each. Organizations may apply for more than one funding opportunity, as long as they meet the specific criteria for each.

If a funding application meets United Way’s criteria, but is not approved for lack of resources, the organization/program may reapply. If a funding application is declined because it falls outside United Way’s guidelines or fails to meet the criteria, the agency may not reapply for that grant/program.

Can an organization apply for more than one funding opportunity in the same fiscal year?

Yes, organizations are allowed to apply for and receive more than one funding opportunity each fiscal year, July 1- June 30.

What are United Way’s reporting requirements?

Typically, grant recipients must provide status and evaluation reports that:

  • describe what program activities have taken place,
  • discuss program results in relation to stated and measurable goals,
  • outline any anticipated or unanticipated events that have been addressed and
  • provide a financial report of how funds have been expended.

Specific reporting requirements, if any, above and beyond normal annual reports to the community will be outlined in a grant agreement and customized to each recipient’s unique circumstances.

Can my organization be listed on the United Way pledge card if they are not a program partner?

To be listed on our pledge card a 501 c 3 in good standing must also be one of these three things:

  • A United Way Agency Program Partner
  • A Creating Healthier Communities listed charity. More about Creating Healthier Communities here:
  • Unaffiliated list: Organizations in this category are reviewed annually and can change annually. To qualify they must:
  • Have 25 or more donors who are not employees AND
  • Receive $10,000 or more in designations AND
  • Run a United Way fundraising campaign at the organization.  


Donors can designate part or all their gift directly to any eligible 501 c 3 through United Way. If you have any questions about designations to your organization, please contact our Agency Help Desk.


Please contact our Community Impact team via email with questions.