The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties is set to launch its fifth annual pillar grant funding opportunity. The application cycle officially opens at 9am on Friday, March 16th and closes at 5pm on Friday, April 20th, with grant allocation decisions announced by Friday, May 18th.
“Our United Way is so excited to kick-off our fifth year of pillar grant funding. Over the past four years, we have been able to allocate a total of $62,585 in pillar grant funding to 31 different community projects and programs, and we are eager to continue that support throughout 2018,” states Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director. “Our pillar grants continue to be a very successful program for us, both in increased applications received each year and increased designated support from donors. We had another great campaign year in 2017, which has allowed us to continue to support this unique and impactful funding stream.”
Pillar grants are a unique opportunity that differentiates from the traditional agency grants United Way provides, in that applicants are not required to be nonprofit organizations to be eligible for funding, although nonprofits are still able and encouraged to apply. Consideration is open to any and all community members, organizations/groups, schools, etc. that may have a great community project idea or an existing program that they need additional funding for. The main requirement is that the project must be aimed at improving the health, education and/or financial stability of the communities which United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties supports. Also, to ensure proper use of grant funds, pillar grant payments are made on a reimbursement basis after the receipt of paid invoices. A new requirement for 2018 is that all applications must specifically focus on one of United Way’s three strategic impact areas – early childhood education, mental health/AODA treatment, and job readiness/skills training.
“In addition to always trying to expand our financial support to our pillar grant program, we also wanted to focus on how we could be more impactful with our allocations. So this year, in an effort to focus on our strategic impact areas – areas which our community members told us are the most important for us to focus on – we are targeting our pillar grant support to projects and programs that specifically focus on improving early childhood education, mental health & AODA treatment and/or job readiness & skills training in our communities,” Hartwick states.
Some examples of past projects and programs that have received funding are: mobile railyard equipment through Fort Healthcare; scholarships for local children to participate in the Working for Whitewater’s Wellness Fit Kid Shuffle; improvements/additions to school and community gardens; support for the Jefferson County Connections Youth Leadership Conference; Parents Cafes for Jefferson County Head Start; KIND News publication through the Humane Society of Jefferson County; a handicap accessible fishing pier at the Rivers Edge Nature Preserve, Women Who Care school-based behavioral health program, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library through Whitewater LEADS, the Whitewater Little Free Pantry, and so many more.
“Each year, our board of directors continues to be impressed by the exciting projects and programs that we are fortunate enough to become a part of by providing pillar grant support. We’ve been able to develop some incredible partnerships and have been so grateful to increase our community support in new and innovative ways,” Hartwick states. “We encourage anyone looking for additional support with funding and community outreach to apply for 2018 funding. We are looking so forward to offering additional support to our key strategic impact areas and continuing to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our communities.”
A copy of the 2018 guidelines and application can be found on the United Way website at www.uwjnwc.com. All pillar grant applications must be completed online and log-in details can be obtained from the United Way office at 920.563.8880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.