The United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties is set to open its seventh cycle of pillar grant funding to our communities. The application cycle officially opens at 9am on Monday, March 16th and closes at 5pm on Friday, April 17th, with grant allocation decisions announced by Friday, May 15th.
“Our United Way is so excited to kick-off our seventh year of pillar grant funding. Since launching our pillar grants in 2014, we have allocated a total of $101,513 in pillar grant funding to 50 different community projects and programs, and we are eager to continue that support throughout 2020,” states Megan Hartwick, United Way executive director. “Our pillar grants continue to be a very successful program for United Way, both in increased applications received each year and increased designated support from donors. We had another record-breaking campaign year in 2019, which has allowed us to continue to support this unique and impactful funding stream without taking support away from our partners and other community programs important to those in need.”
Pillar grants are a unique opportunity that differentiates from traditional nonprofit agency grants United Way provides, in that applicants do not have 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. Specifically, all applications must focus on one of United Way’s three strategic impact areas – early childhood education, mental health/AODA treatment, and job readiness/skills training. Also, to ensure proper use of grant funds, pillar grant payments are made on a reimbursement basis after the receipt of paid invoices or on a direct invoice basis.
“Before our 2019 pillar grant season, we amended our pillar grant guidelines to better align with our three strategic initiative areas – areas which our community members told us they felt were the most important issues for us to focus on. So we now target our pillar grant support specifically to projects and programs that focus on improving early childhood education, mental health & AODA treatment and/or job readiness & skills training in our communities,” Hartwick states. “Last year, we provided just over $18,225 to ten programs focused in these areas, and we couldn’t be more pleased with and proud of the impact they have had and will continue to have in our communities.”
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; 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 & school nurse training programs, the Whitewater Little Free Pantry, Recovery Support Center recovery coach training, Bethel House financial literacy curriculum development, a zen den at Fort Atkinson Preschool and Childcare, , an opiate awareness toolkit through the Jefferson County Drug Free Coalition, and many more.
“Our board of directors is always so impressed by the exciting projects and programs that we are fortunate to partner with through providing pillar grant support. We’ve been able to develop some incredible partnerships and have been so grateful to increase our community support and awareness in new and innovative ways,” Hartwick states. “We encourage anyone looking for additional support with funding and community outreach to apply for a 2020 pillar grant. We are looking 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 2020 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.