Criteria for applying
An organization will only be considered for funding if all of the following statements are true:
(1) Can demonstrate that they are a social impact organization as described in their mission.
(2) Are Black- and Brown-led according to the definition that the organization’s leader (Executive Director, President, CEO, Founder (as long as they are still involved in organizational decision making), etc) identifies as Black or Brown.
(3) Over 50% of their governing board (if organization has a board of directors) identifies as Black or Brown.
(4) The primary beneficiaries of the organization identify as Black or Brown (over 50%).
(5) The organization operates in one or more of the counties United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County serves (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee).
Mission statements should be concise and include the purpose, values, and goals of the organization.
Use a few words to describe the main focus of your organization. This is to help us better understand and quantify the types of organizations that are applying. Some examples are, Arts, Collaborations/Collective Impact, Community Building, Education, Employment, Environment, Food Security, Healthcare, Housing/Shelter, Services/Training for Professionals, Social Justice, Social Entrepreneurship, or Youth Development.
Social impact organizations are defined as those where the organization’s activities consciously, systemically, and sustainably create positive change that solves or addresses social injustices and challenges in the community.
This number represents the total budget the organization anticipates in the current fiscal period. The budget does not need to include actual revenue and expenses.
The review committee considers annual budget and the future sustainability of the organization in the context of the total grant ask. While this grant allows funding up to $100,000 per year for three years, not to exceed 100% of the annual budget, the review committee will make funding recommendations based on the perceived ability for the organization to sustain operations after the grant period ends.
Primary beneficiaries are a person or participant who benefits from, receives help, and/or gains an advantage from the organization/programing.
In order to meet criteria for funding, the primary beneficiaries of the organization must be Black or Brown (over 50%). The committee would like to see how those served are involved in fulfilling the mission in ways that differ from being a participant in programming. You can provide examples of how participants are involved in decision making or amplify how you receive and implement feedback given by them.
Success for your organization
Success at your organization can be described as the impact your organization has on the community it serves. While success can be demonstrated through anecdotal information or storytelling, the strongest measures of success are often demonstrated through outputs and the outcomes of the organization. Outcomes are measurements of the organization’s impact on the primary beneficiaries.
Barriers to funding
Examples of barriers to funding could be that the organization is not eligible for local or national grant awards for one or more reasons, that grant applications have consistently not been funded without constructive feedback on how to write a better proposal in the future, or that funding opportunities simply don’t exist for the type of work your organization is aiming to achieve.
Three-year grant award
The review committee is looking at the total grant ask in the context of the organization’s budget. Annual awards do not have to be the same amount for each of the three funding years. The review committee is looking for a grand total that would help an organization meet or expand the organization’s capacity to serve primary beneficiaries, in relationship to the annual budget. It should be related to how the organization describes the help funding will provide. Please note that the review committee may recommend funding at a different amount than what was applied for.
What can funding be used for?
Racial Equity Fund award dollars can be used to build capacity of the organization, whether that’s for overhead, a specific project, or a specific program. They can be used to sustain or expand current work of the organization or to start something new. How the organization uses funds to build capacity is up to the organization to define.
From GTKY to application round
Getting to Know You forms are reviewed by a subcommittee of the Racial Equity Fund Advisory Committee. Decisions to move an organization to the application round are based on:
- Basic criteria being met. (Organization is Black- and Brown-led and serves at least one of the four counties listed.)
- Social impact determined through the organization's mission, how primary beneficiaries are involved in the mission, and what success looks like for the organization.
- Demonstrated need for funding through the barriers the organization has experienced when seeking funding and how the funding will help the organization.
- Reasonable and sustainable funding ask through the annual budget and three year funding ask.
- A desire to learn more about the organization and the amount of funds available.
Each cohort has a total of $1.5M available for 3-years of funding. The committee makes an effort not to invite more organizations to complete a full application than the anticipated funding will allow.
Goals & Objectives of the Racial Equity Fund
- Increase unrestricted investments in Black- and Brown-led organizations.
- United Way investments will help organizations connect to, and receive funding from, other potential funders.
- Strengthen the capacity of Black- and Brown-led organizations through trainings, workshops, and opportunities for staff/board development that grantees have identified as areas of opportunity.
- Improve the sustainability of the organizations over time.
- Create and broaden the networks for and between Black- and Brown-led organizations.
- Long term goals and measures of success will be determined by the Racial Equity Advisory Council.
- Provide multiyear, general operating support to Black- and Brown-led organizations and issues that Black and Brown community members identify as critical, regardless of whether they match United Way’s previously defined program priorities, that builds capacity and sustainability.
- Use an application process that is both culturally relevant and not burdensome.
- Place a higher value on community building and people-focused labor done by individuals and smaller organizations.
- Select grantees using a sub-committee of the Racial Equity Fund Committee, who represent the community served.
- Trust awardees to do the work. Recipients are fully funded and trusted to do the work (ex: Non-traditional reporting designed by Black and Brown leaders.)
- Provide support as need/requested by grantees. United Way and a sub-committee of the Racial Equity Fund advisory committee provides additional, appropriate supports when necessary, tapping into internal expertise (i.e. volunteer project management and recruitment, marketing, etc.)
- Continue internal work around diversity, equity, and inclusion, while carrying out external initiatives.