Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement Grant
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement Grant

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All adults of working age in our community should have the opportunity to obtain permanent employment with a livable wage at a workplace where they are treated with dignity and have opportunities for advancement.

In 2018, the Black unemployment rate in Wisconsin was nearly three times that of Whites, according to American Community Survey data. This disparity was pre-COVID and we know that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on Black workers. Addressing this issue is crucial for the success of our broader community.

When EVERYONE has access to family supporting income from work that affirms their dignity, our whole community is stronger on every level.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County’s Diversity Leadership Society (DLS) is leading an initiative to reduce barriers to employment and advancement for local, diverse individuals.

Through DLS’ Reducing Barriers to Employment and Advancement (RBEA) Advisory Committee, United Way partners with 30+ organizations to address African American unemployment barriers across four priorities:

  • Education, training, and credentials: Supporting programs that help adults obtain their GED, learn a new skill or trade, or earn a new certification.
  • Transportation: Supporting programs that provide innovative transportation solutions and/or assist with driver’s license recovery.
  • Re-entry Services: Supporting programs with a focus on strengthening workplace re-entry and/or advocating for policy change that assists individuals who were involved in the justice system.
  • Diverse Talent Retention: Collaborating and advancing equitable research and evaluation to retain diverse talent in Wisconsin.


  • Agencies must be a 501(c)3 in good financial standing and operating as a 501(c)3 for at least one year.
  • Agencies may apply for funding to address reducing barriers to employment, using one or more of the strategies identified above.
  • Agencies may apply for up to $100,000, one time per year. 
  • Agencies must provide a 25% cash or in-kind match to be considered for funding.
  • Agencies must have a board approved policy that states the organization does not discriminate based on social or economic class, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation and identification, disability, special health care needs, race or religion. 
  • Special consideration will be made for organizations applying for funding with an additional organization to maximize impact.

2023-2024 Timeline

All trainings and roundtables will take place virtually, unless otherwise specified.

  • March 13, 2023 - Letter of Intent is open for submission
  • March 31, 2023 - Letter of Intent due by 4:30pm
  • April 13, 2023  Agencies notified whether they have qualified to complete a full Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • April 17, 2023 - RFP becomes available in e-CImpact and qualified agencies receive instructions on how to complete and submit RFP via email
  • April 25, 2023 11:00am - Save the Date for an optional RFP Training. Details will be sent to agencies completing a full RFP. *note date change
  • May 5, 2023 - RFP and all attachments due 
  • July 1, 2023 - Project funding year starts and agency executives are notified of award status



The Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement Letter of Intent is now closed.

Please sign up to receive Funding Opportunity notifications here


Additional Information

Agencies invited to complete a full RFP that are not currently United Way Agency Program Partners will be required to submit:

  • 501 (c) 3 Letter
  • Completed Form W-9
  • Most recent Audit Report & Management Letter for Audit Report
    • If the agency does not conduct an Audit, they will be asked to submit the last two fiscal year-ending Financial Reviews OR unaudited fiscal-year ending financials (Balance Sheet & Statement of Activities)
  • Most recent fiscal quarter financial report (Balance Sheet and Statement of Activities)
  • Agency 990, 990EZ, or 990N (most recently completed)
  • Current list of Agency Board of Directors

All agencies invited to complete a full RFP will be required to submit a program logic model.

Grant requirements for agencies awarded funding

The following items will be provided to all agencies invited to complete an RFP

  • Signed Grant Agreement
  • Counterterrorism Compliance Form
  • Policy on Protecting Children (if the agency serves children)

All funded programs and hiring partners may be required to commit to additional training requested by and provided by United Way.

Outcomes Measurement:
All funded programs may be asked to collect data that measure common outcomes and indicators.

  • Programs will be asked to choose one or two outcomes to report to United Way in their Year-End Report. Outcomes, indicators, the post-test survey tool, and training will be provided to funded organizations.

All funded programs are required to report demographic information for all of the clients completing programming (including those that did not take the post-test.)

  • Age Groups: 0 thru 3, 4 thru 5, 6 thru 11, 12 thru 17, 18 thru 24, 25 thru 34, 35 thru 44, 45 thru 54, 55 thru 64, 65 thru 74, 75 thru 84, 85 thru 94, 95 and over
  • Gender: Male, Female, Transgender, Non-binary/Genderfluid/Prefer to self-describe, Prefer not to say
  • Household Income: $0 to $9,999, $10,000 to $14,999, $15,000 to $24,999, $25,000 to $34,999, $35,000 to $44,999, $45,000 to $54,999, $55,000 to $64,999, $65,000 to $74,999, $75,000 to $84,999, $85,000 to $89,999, $90,000 or more, Free and reduced lunch (if income data is not available)
  • Racial Background & Ethnicity: African American/Black (not Hispanic or Latino), Asian (not Hispanic or Latino), Caucasian/White (not Hispanic or Latino), Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern (not Hispanic or Latino), Native American (not Hispanic or Latino), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (not Hispanic or Latino), Multi-racial, Other
  • Veteran Status (Do you now or have you ever served in the Armed Forces?)
  • Zip Code of Residence



Please reach out to our RBEA team using the form below.