United Way of Berks County has announced two grant opportunities to invest in local 501(c)(3) nonprofits providing health and human service programs within Berks County. Venture Grants provide one-time funding to support innovative projects responding to needs of a specific community issue identified each year. For 2019-2020, programs centered on transportation services will be supported. There are many areas within Berks County having limited or no public transportation, which significantly impacts access to employment, high-quality early learning, medical treatment and access to healthy food.
- Programs designed to achieve one or more of the following outcomes will be considered to receive grant funding:
- Provide dependable transportation that will help Berks Countians secure and/or maintain employment, especially with employers located in remote areas with limited existing public transportation.
- Offer additional transportation options that help Berks Countians access preventative medical and/or dental care.
- Partner with high-quality early learning centers to give families access to services outside of their neighborhood.
- Assist at-risk populations, especially those located in food deserts, access to healthy food options.
These grants are intended to either provide short-term support for the start-up and development of new programs/services, or to provide financial support that enhances effectiveness or expands the capacity of an existing program. Proposed programs including the following elements are highly desirable:
• Serves both city and rural populations.
• Designs a comprehensive plan for collecting data on the effectiveness and impact of the transportation service.
• Fosters collaboration among providers/businesses to better ensure the continuity of the innovative solution beyond the one-year funding provided by the Venture Grant.
Detail on Venture Grant eligibility follows:
• Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing health and human services to Berks County residents is eligible to apply.
• Grants must support the delivery of new, expanded or enhanced programs and cannot simply fund existing programs.
• Priority will be given to programs that demonstrate meaningful and ongoing engagement with participants over an extended period of time, and that provide an opportunity for participants to apply new knowledge or skills to achieve the desired outcome.
• Stand-alone, one-time events or large group presentations will NOT be eligible for consideration.
Venture Grant Award Amount: A maximum grant of up to $25,000 may be requested, with United Way reserving the option to award a lesser amount based on demonstrated need and available resources.
LIVE UNITED Grants are one-time grants of up to $5,000 provided to grass-roots or community-based organizations with a yearly budget under $250,000 and working on “great ideas”, events and creative projects connecting people through volunteer or community building efforts; mobilizing people and providing opportunities for improved neighborhoods and communities or uniting people as a community, yet celebrating our diversity. These grants are intended for organizations having limited access to traditional funding sources.
• Grant ideas/projects must address one of the issue areas within United Way’s focus areas: Education – early care/ school readiness/literacy/youth development and education case management; Financial Stability – affordable housing, employment/job skills, personal financial management and financial stability case management; Health – mental health, health/wellness and self-sufficiency/independent living; Safety Net Services – helping vulnerable populations meet basic needs.
• Proposals may include one-time or ongoing events/projects that present the opportunity to make a big difference in one of the identified target areas using a small amount of funds. • Prior LIVE UNITED Grant recipients may submit an application; however, funds cannot be used in any way for a previously funded program.
These grants cannot be used for individual assistance, debt reduction, fundraising events, attendance at conferences, political events or events for religious purposes.
Applications for Venture and LIVE UNITED grants will open for completion beginning Monday, July 22, 2019, and applications are due by 5:00 pm on August 23. Applicants will receive notice of funding by October 1. The funding period is defined as November 1, 2019 – October 31, 2020.
Applicants should review the full detail regarding all grant eligibility requirements, as well as the application format, at www.uwberks.org. Grant proposals will be awarded through a competitive process after review by a panel of community volunteers, with approval by the organization’s Board of Directors.
For technical assistance with the application software, known as e-CImpact, please contact Jennifer Tinsman at [email protected] or 610.685.4576. For any other grant-related questions, please contact Kristin Gehris at [email protected] or 610.685.4567.