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United Way Seeks New Equity Grant Proposals by Jan. 8

United Way Quad Cities is accepting applications for its new United for Equity Fund grants, with up to $200,000 to distribute — supported by local business and industry leaders as well as individual gifts. Applications will be accepted through United Way’s website until noon Jan. 8.

United Way Seeks New Equity Grant Proposals by Jan. 8

Rene Gellerman is president/CEO of United Way Quad Cities.

The ideas of 450 Quad Citizens, brought up during 29 small-group conversations at the Quad-Cities Equity Summit in October, have informed and inspired the framework for United Way’s United for Equity initiative, aimed to reduce and prevent racial disparities affecting the education, income and health in the region.

“To achieve racial equity, we must unite as a society and commit to systemic change. This starts by bringing together civic, business and philanthropic leaders to catalyze transformative change in our community,” said Rene Gellerman, United Way president and CEO. “The United for Equity initiative demonstrates an encouraging community commitment to coming together to build a more equitable Quad-Cities.”

“The United for Equity Fund, guided by a diverse group of volunteers, aims to empower local grassroots and nonprofit organizations as well as social entrepreneurs to address the barriers that are keeping too many of our neighbors from opportunities to develop their full potential,” she said.

Grants are available to eligible applicants offering solutions focused on one or more of three priority areas:

  • Strengthen Families: Providing support to parents and families of color by increasing access to social services.
  • Empower the Next Generation: Supporting and engaging youth of color to better inform them about the issues of today and equip them to tackle the challenges of the future.
  • Educate and Equip the Community: Creating safe spaces to unpack the history of race and systemic inequalities alongside making diversity, equity, and inclusion training widely available.

United Way Seeks New Equity Grant Proposals by Jan. 8The United for Equity Fund is open to:

  • Nonprofits: 501(c)(3) IRS status or 170(b)(1)(A) public institutions;
  • Grassroots Organizations: community-based organizations or organized groups of individuals who have identified a specific issue/problem and are working collectively toward a solution;
  • Social Entrepreneurs: Individuals, companies or aspiring nonprofits with a novel solution to a social problem.

The fund’s priorities were based on an analysis of the nonprofit’s October Equity Summit virtual event, featuring hundreds of Quad Citizens.

A diverse panel of over a dozen Quad-Cities residents, led by Dr. Burl Randolph Jr., Colonel U.S. Army, Retired, selected the top three priorities. The panel will decide how grants will be awarded in February 2021 after reviewing applications.

United Way Seeks New Equity Grant Proposals by Jan. 8“To achieve a more vibrant and inclusive Quad-Cities and truly address the immediate needs of people of color, we need to connect the DOTS — Diversity of Thoughts — which makes our Quad-Cities great,” Randolph said. “That’s why the United Way has expanded its grant opportunities to include local grassroots organizations and social entrepreneurs who often have the closest connection to the communities facing systemic hurdles.”

“United Way is uniquely positioned to rally the community around this shared goal, to work with community partners, practitioners, and experts to invest in innovative ideas,” he said. “This ensures all Quad Citizens have the opportunities to realize their full potential and live their best lives.”

United for Equity Fund grants will vary in size depending on the needs of applicants, as approved by the review panel in February. There is no minimum or maximum amount applicants can seek, outside of the total fund of $200,000. However, given the fund’s three priorities of strengthening families, empowering the next generation and educating and equipping the community, grants will be awarded to multiple needs and not one single recipient.

To apply, visit www.unitedwayqc.org/apply. For more information, email Karrie Abbott at kabbott@unitedwayqc.org or call 563-344-0330.

United Way Seeks New Equity Grant Proposals by Jan. 8

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.
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