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United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties (UWLS) is in the community impact business. UWLS offers grants to fund strategic, outcome-based programs of partner agencies. These grants are highly competitive and must help UWLS “move the needle” in a positive direction to “improve the quality of life” in our community. These goals are determined by community statistical information provided by the Florida Dept. of Education, Florida Dept. of Health, and the ALICE Report of United Way of Florida.  Please read the UWLS 2020 Funding Priorities and Guidelines (PDF)
  • Grant cycle runs from January to December.
  • No longer has a separate summer grant cycle. 

Step 1 – Annual Partners Meeting

The 2019 Annual Partners’ Meeting is mandatory for non-profit organizations wishing to apply for program funding.

  • WHEN: Thursday, August 8, 2019 at 4pm
  • WHERE: Midway Baptist Church 32707 Blossom Lane, Leesburg FL

Step 2 – Letter of Intent

Non-profit organizations applying for program funding must submit a Letter of Intent via the e-CImpact Agency website.

Letter of Intent should include the following:

Step 3 – Invitation to Submit an Application

Grant  applications are by invitation only.  Once the staff of UWLS has determined that an organization’s program fits our Strategic Funding Priorities, the organization will receive an invitation to submit a grant application into the e-CImpact Agency website

UWLS grants range between $5,000 to as high as $25,000. The average funded program is between $5,000 to $15,000.  Also, UWLS grants will only fund a program up to 75% of the total cost of the program. The grant may fund direct program salaries up to 50%; however, UWLS will not fund benefits, taxes, overhead, or building expenses.

WARNING:  Applications accepted September 15 - October 31 and online application platform closes promptly at 5 pm on October 31. UWLS will not accept hand-delivered, paper applications.

Further Instructions:

Step 4 – Committee Review

Committee Members: login to the e-CImpact Volunteer website
Since UWLS grants are highly competitive (meaning that UWLS receives more requests than funds available), the Community Investment Committee reviews and scores all grant applications. The committee is composed of board members, community leaders, and United Way staff. The committee uses a template to score each application based on the following criteria:
  • Does the program fit one of United Way’s pillars–Education, Health, or Financial Stability?

  • Does the program help accomplish United Way’s strategic goals?

  • Does the budget of the program make sense, or is the cost-per-person ratio too high?

  • Did the organization contribute to United Way’s campaign last year, and is their goal this year appropriate?

  • Does the organization have the capacity to deliver the outcomes of their program?

  • Does your program serve the ALICE population?

The committee may email the organization to ask clarifying questions about the application.  The organization should submit answers as quickly as possible to ensure the committee has accurate information to make a decision.  The committ will score the application to rank them in order of consideration.  The Board of Directors budgets the amount of money to award for grants.  The committee then spreads the budget, beginning with the highest scoring agency until the budget is depleted.  The committee submits their reccomendations to the Board of Directors for final approval.  

Alice Reports:

Step 5 – Board Decision and Notification

The Board of Directors of UWLS will meet on the second Thursday of December to make their final decision on the committee’s recommendations. After the Board of Directors makes their decision, each agency will be notified of the Board’s decision.
For those agencies that will receive funding, UWLS will send the Funded Partner Agreement (PDF) which outlines United Way’s expectations of the funded program agency and the guidelines of our mutual work. The deadline for signing the Letter of Agreement and returning it to United Way is January 5.  Failure to sign the Letter of Agreement and returning it by January 5 will result in the forfeiture of the grant.  
Funded program recipients will attend a check signing ceremony on the third Wednesday in January at 10 am. These agencies will receive their funds in four disbursements: one-quarter in January, one-quarter in April, one-quarter in July, and the final payment in October. Agencies must be present to receive the funds. Checks will NOT be mailed. Failure to be present will result in the forfeiture of that quarter’s disbursement.
Those agencies that did not receive funding will also be notified by United Way of the Board’s decision via USPS. Dr. Alan Holden, CEO and President of UWLS, will be available by appointment to review other ways United Way may be able to help those agencies. This includes scholarships to attend various non-profit training courses at the Edyth Bush Institute. This is available only to those agencies that did not receive program funding in this grant cycle.

Step 6 – Collaboration meetings and reporting dates

Our funded program recipients are required to submit quarterly reports and a success story via the e-CImpact Agency website.  Good success stories help United Way to share our community impact and create partnerships in the community.  Please read this example success story (PDF) as an inspiration that helps accomplish this goal.
WARNING: The e-CImpact Agency website closes promptly at 5 pm on the deadline date. UWLS will not accept hand-delivered, paper reports.  Failure to submit reports will result in a disruption of funding from United Way. 
2019 Quarterly Report and Success Story Deadlines:
  • October 7, 2019 at 5p
The funded program recipients are also required to attend quarterly Collaboration Meetings. These meetings are scheduled on the third Thursday of April, July, and October at 4 pm.
2019 Collaboration Meetings:
  • Oct 17, 2019 at 4pm


United Way staff, board members, and community leaders will also make agency visits to funded programs. These visits allow United Way a first-hand view of the organization’s program and the ability to share that success with the community.