Community Investment Grants
United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties (UWLS) is in the community impact business and we are honored to offer grants to our fellow Non-Profit organizations. By applying for and accepting a grant from UWLS, your organization becomes a valued Funded Partner and we look forward to working with you during the grant cycle that runs January through December,
Registered 501(c)3 organizations may apply for grants to fund strategic, outcome-based programs and our grants are highly competitive. Preference will be given to those programs that align with the mission and focal points of United Way of Lake and Sumter, which is to “improve the quality of life” in our community. It is along with our funded partners, all operating in service to our community, in which we LIVE UNITED.
We are pleased to report that our 2021 Funded Partners have been selected and are each actively working on their valuable community programs. If you would like to review the information provided to these grantees, such as the application and the process followed in order to be considered, please click on any of the below links or steps.
Information on our 2022 Grant Cycle and when that process will begin may be found here as information becomes available. Our Grant Cycle process typically begins in the fall of the year prior to awards being disbursed. Should you have any questions about an existing award, report needed, or future application, please call 352-787-7530 and ask for our Community Impact Director.
To review this year’s RFP download UWLS 2021 Grant Cycle Request for Proposals (PDF).
To review this year’s 2021 Funding Priorities and Guidelines (PDF)
Our typical process is outlined below for the Grant Cycle already in process. The information below will change slightly in late 2021 and is now for review only.
The 4-Step UWLS Grant Cycle Process
STEP 1: Annual Partners Meeting
The 2020 Annual Partners’ Meeting is organized for non-profit organizations wishing to apply for program funding.
WHEN: Wednesday, September 9th OR Monday, September 14th, 2020. Both briefing options run from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.
WHERE: 32644 Blossom Lane, Leesburg, FL 34788
STEP 2: Submit Application
Grant applications are no longer by invitation only. We highly encourage any non-profit organization who believes they align with our 2021 funding priorities to submit a grant application into the e-CImpact Agency website.
UWLS program grants range any where from $5,000, to as high as $25,000.
Applications for our 2021 Grant Cycle will be accepted from September 15th – October 31st. The online application platform closes promptly at 4:30pm on October 31, 2020. UWLS will not accept hand-delivered, paper applications.
STEP 3: Committee Review
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 team members. The committee uses a detailed template and matrix in which to score each application based on the following criteria:
- Does the program fit one of United Way’s pillars-Education, Health, or Financial Stability (Income)?
- Does the program help to accomplish or support United Way’s strategic goals?
- Does the budget of the program make sense and is the cost-per-person ratio reasonable?
If previously funded by UWLS, did the organization meet all requirements and obligations outlined in their Funded Partner Agreement?
The committee may email the organization to ask clarifying questions about the application. The committee will score the application to rank them in order of consideration. The Board of Directors budgets the amount of money to award for program grants. The committee then spreads the budget, beginning with the highest-scoring agency until the budget is depleted. The committee then submits their funding recommendations to the Board of Directors for final approval.
STEP 4: Board Decision and Notification
The Board of Directors of UWLS meet in December to make their final decision on the committee’s recommendations. Agencies will be notified once the Board of Directors makes their decision.
For those agencies that will receive funding, UWLS will send a Funded Partner Agreement (included in our RFP) which outlines United Way’s expectations of the funded program, the agency receiving funding and the guidelines of our mutual work. The deadline for signing the Letter of Agreement and returning it to United Way is January 1, 2021. Failure to sign the Letter of Agreement and returning it by January 1, 2021 will result in the forfeiture of the grant.
Funded program recipients will attend a check signing ceremony on the third Wednesday in January (January 20, 2021) at 10:00am. 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.
The funded program recipients are also required to attend quarterly Collaboration Meetings, complete quarterly Results Based Accountability (RBA), and share at least one success story and photo per quarter. These meetings are currently scheduled on the third Thursday of April, July, and October from 1:30pm-3:00pm.
United Way staff, board members, and community leaders will also make agency visits to funded programs.
These site visits allow United Way a first-hand view of the organization’s program and the ability to share that success with the community, as well as allow our team to be able to brag about the great work your organization is contributing!
Thank you for your interest in our annual Funded Partner Grant Program.
Community Investment Success Stories
Dear United Way Sponsors/Donors/Supporters,
My name is John Mark Hair. I am currently 38 years of age at this writing and totally blind. My life before the Employability program at New Vision for Independence, sponsored by United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties, was extremely difficult. I had no real hope for the future. I would never amount to anything and would never be able to do anything meaningful for anybody including myself. I was a non-productive and all-together miserable human being. Life was going nowhere for me fast! I had no ability to get or keep gainful employment. I was fast sinking into depression and needing help.
In early April of 2018 I heard about the Employability New Vision through somebody who worked. Suddenly there was hope. Hope for a future with the stability of a job, the confidence for a productive and fulfilling life. I went through a 6-month training course, and after completing it I felt confident in my ability to begin searching for work. In Lake County, this is the only program for the blind and without them and their excellent services, those of us who are blind would not be able to live the lives we are able to live now. I thank God every day that we have them to help guide us into the future and look forward to many years to come knowing they will be there to assist. If it wasn’t for this program, I would still be stuck in a never-ending cycle of hopelessness and despair. They have given me the confidence I severely lacked to accomplish anything I put my mind to.