Community Focus Grants

United Way of West Central Minnesota and the Willmar Area Community Foundation announce the 2017 – 2018 Community Focus Grant opportunity.

The United Way of West Central Minnesota (UWWCM) and the Willmar Area Community Foundation (WACF) unite people and resources to improve lives and strengthen communities in the Willmar Area and across west central Minnesota. As part of our grant funding portfolios, UWWCM and WACF have set aside funding for use during the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) to provide small grants to eligible nonprofit organizations in our service area. The intent of the Community Focus Grant program is to provide support for community projects, programs or initiatives in need of a small, one-time grant that aligns with our Community Impact Priorities.

About Small Grants:
The Community Focus Grant is an outreach of the United Way’s Community Impact funding process and the Willmar Area Community Foundation’s Discretionary Funding. The available amount of grant dollars each year is subject to change. Grants, up to $3,000 will be awarded to organizations aligned with UWWCM and WACF’s priority areas of Education, Health, Basic Needs, Engaged Youth, Productive Aging, and Bridging Diverse Communities.

2017 – 2018 Deadlines are October 5th, 2017 and February 28th, 2018.


Allowable Uses of Funding:
Community Focus Grant allocations can be used for projects such as:
• Emerging or unmet needs and/or to support innovative solutions to local issues.
• Program work including planning, training and/or development.
• Organizational capacity building including strategic planning, governance and other types of organizational planning and/or development activities.
• Community and/or human service work that includes volunteer participation.

Funding Guidelines:
• Community Focus Grant of up to $3,000 are available for qualified projects.
• Community Focus Grant funds cannot exceed 50% of the project budget.
• One grant per organization, per fiscal year (July 1-June 30). Not to exceed 3 consecutive years.
• Funding will support programs, projects or initiatives that have clear alignment to the Community Impact Priorities and serve people within the UWWCM and WACF service areas.
• Funding may not support capital campaigns, event sponsorships or marketing.
• Projects awarded funding are not eligible for additional funding through UWWCM or WACF during the same fiscal year.
Eligibility Requirements:
• Operate as non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, a public school, a unit of government and/or have a fiscal sponsor.
• Operate under written Articles of Incorporation and By-laws or other written documents or statutes that define the applicant’s purposes, membership, management and operation.
• Operate on a non-discriminatory basis in employment, recruitment of volunteers and delivery of services.
• Demonstrate effective program performance and financial responsibility and accountability.
• Operate or provide service within Kandiyohi, Meeker, Renville, Chippewa, and Swift counties of Minnesota served by UWWCM and WACF. Grant funding is only for programs that serve individuals living within the UWWCM and WACF service area.
• Program must align with the Community Focus Grant priorities.

Operating Guidelines:
• Funds shall be used solely for the granted purpose.
• Funded activities shall commence in a timely manner and expenditures shall cease within one year after receipt of the grant unless an extension is granted by the Community Investments Committee. Funds not expended shall be returned to UWWCM and Community Focus Grant program.
• All Community Focus Grants shall be approved by the Board of Directors of UWWCM and WACF upon recommendations from the Community Investments Committee following an application review. The amount of any grant will depend upon individual program requests and the need as determined by the Community Investments Committee. Funding requests may be denied without a hearing, appeal or onsite visit.
• No Community Focus Grants will be given for any purpose that would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the UWWCM, WACF or the applicant organization.
• Grant recipients shall acknowledge UWWCM and WACF in all promotional materials, activities and programs funded. Logos will be provided.
• Grant recipients shall submit a project performance report and financial statement indicating actual use and the results of Small Grant funds within 60 days of completion of project/program end date. Failure to do so may result in removal from consideration of future grant opportunities.


Contact Information:
For questions about this application, please contact United Way of West Central Minnesota or the Willmar Area Community Foundation.

James Miller, Executive Director United Way of West Central Minnesota
(320) 235-1050, james@liveunitedwcm.org

Sara Carlson, Executive Director – Willmar Area Community Foundation
(320) 235-4380, scarlson@communitygiving.org