Our Grants

Accessibility Options

We find solutions to our community's most urgent problems.

Through our Community Impact Grants, local nonprofit organizations can partner with United Way to reach our goals.

Community Impact Grants are awarded as part of a competitive application or Request for Proposals process. A comprehensive review is conducted by volunteers, Community Solutions Teams, staff, and the Board of Directors. As part of the grant award, each program agrees to work collaboratively to achieve a specific Community Change goal.

Programs selected for a grant award have showcased that their work aligns with one of United Way's Community Change goal, utilize evidence-based models, measure their results with data, and are willing to collaborate with other programs in the Goal area. This is how United Way ensures our grants are achieving results and making progress towards our goals.

Funds for the grants come from donations to United Way's Community Impact Fund. Each year, thousands of community members choose to give to this Fund in order to be part of the solution to our community's biggest problems. Thank you!

Grant Partnerships

Learn more about this area of our work.

211 - Get Connected, Get Help

The most comprehensive source of information about local resources and services. Real people answer the phone and connect callers to expert, caring help 24/7/365. Also offered via text.

A program of PATH Crisis

 

Assistance with Identification and Documents

A core group of volunteers assist guests in funding and acquiring birth certificates, state identification cards, and bus passes; provide assistance in completing Link card applications; help guests access appropriate social service agencies; offer emergency assistance; and provide homeless certifications.

A program of Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

 

Bridge to Subsidized Housing Utility Assistance Program

The Bridge to Subsidized Housing Utility Assistance Program will provide utility assistance to households approved for subsidized housing and connection to services that will support continued household stability. 

A program of Champaign County Regional Planning Commission

 

Champaign County Home Delivered Meals

Eases the impact of malnutrition and food insecurity among the aged population and provides a more stable nutritional foundation for the health and independence of clients, with a special focus on serving rural areas.

A program of PeaceMeal

 

Champaign County Food Fund

A reserve of local dollars that can be used to place nutritious emergency food into the hands of people in need. Through the Champaign County Food Fund, participating member agencies receive a discount toward shared maintenance fees or the purchase price of product ordered from the Foodbank. 

A program of Eastern Illinois Foodbank

 

Community Living

Provides residential supports to individuals with developmental disabilities who would otherwise be unable to maintain their independence in the community. 

A program of Developmental Services Center

 

Emergency Shelter for Families

Provides homeless families with children a short-term private space to be sheltered together as an intact family. 

A program of Champaign County Regional Planning Commission

 

HomeCare

Provides Champaign County seniors age 60 or older with non-medical, in-home assistance with activities of daily living.

A program of Family Service of Champaign County

 

Legal Help for Champaign County Homeowners

Free legal assistance to low-income homeowners living in Champaign County who are at risk of losing their homes.

A program of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid

 

Legal Help for Champaign County Public Benefits

Free legal assistance to low-income and vulnerable individuals in Champaign County who are seeking benefits or who have lost or are at risk of losing their benefits. 

A program of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid

 

Meals on Wheels

Home-delivered hot noon meals and optional cold supper bags. The hot noon meal provides at least 1/3 of the nutritional needs of older adults & can accommodate dietary needs such as low sodium, low cholesterol or diabetic diets. Primarily serves Champaign and Urbana.

A program of Family Service of Champaign County

 

Medical Care for Low-Income Adults

Promise Healthcare provides primary medical care to low-income adults regardless of their ability to pay and welcomes new patients daily.

A program of Promise Healthcare

 

Medical Care for Low Income Children

Promise Healthcare provides medical care for low-income children at Frances Nelson, the Urbana School Health Center and the Community Resource Center.

A program of Promise Healthcare

 

The Resource Connection

Connects residents of northern Champaign County with basic needs services and with other social, physical, and mental health services provided by CU-based agencies/programs. 

A program of Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County

 

Senior Counseling & Advocacy

Provide information and referral services to the community as well as one-on-one assistance in the homes of Champaign County residents age 60 and older, helping them access benefits and services as well as providing supportive counseling.

A program of Family Service of Champaign County

 

Senior Transportation

Rides for Champaign County seniors who, for reasons of health or safety, can no longer drive and/or may not be able to use public transportation due to physical or mental limitations or lack of access to it. Clients can receive one round-trip ride per week to attend medical or business appointments, go grocery shopping or participate in life-enriching activities. 

A program of Family Service of Champaign County

 

SmileHealthy Dental Center

Full time dental clinic co-located at Frances Nelson that provides high-quality dental care to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

A program of Promise Healthcare

 

Support for Immigrant Families

Provides immigrant clients with access to public benefits resources, including assistance with applications, counseling, and case management. 

A program of The Refugee Center

 

Tax+ Options Counseling

CRIS utilizes evidence-based, person-centered, "Options Counseling" in the process of social service case management for individuals experiencing financial distress including assistance with tax returns. 

A program of CRIS Healthy Aging

Learn more about this area of our work.

Academic Support Program

Structured and consistent one-to-one and small group learning activities to help youth overcome the various obstacles they may be facing in the classroom, especially in reading and math.

A program of Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club

 

Community Study Center

Youth will receive year-round one-on-one homework and tutorial sessions in reading and math, along with small group grade-level assistance that will support their classroom academics. Also includes an 8-week summer program.

A program of Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center

 

EXPLORERS

Afterschool program for Rantoul students providing intentional and purposeful individualized instruction to make up for unfinished learning due to COVID, with focus on discovering the world and STEAM-based projects.

A program of Rantoul City Schools

 

Family Development

Supports and services to families of young children, birth to age five, who are experiencing or are at-risk for delays in development, or have identified special needs.

A program of Developmental Services Center

 

Healthy Beginnings

Long-term nurse home visiting service, providing home visits to low-income, expectant mothers and their families.

A program of Carle Health

 

Intensive Literacy Homework Assistance Program

Improves literacy and academic achievement for elementary students with academic and/or social/emotional challenges, primarily from Urbana Schools. Incudes direct instruction for students in literacy and math from licensed instructors.

A program of Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center

 

iRead-iCount

Grassroots community initiative utilizing a curriculum developed by Unit 4 specialists, using volunteers to work one-on-one with students to improve the reading and math scores of Kindergarteners.

A program of Champaign County Chamber of Commerce

 

Kindergarten Success Program

Provides Jumpstart Camp and Family Camp in summer months for students in Champaign and Rantoul preparing to enter kindergarten, as well as their families.

A program of DREAAM

 

Paving Pathways to Bright Futures

Provides developmental learning activities and ASQ/ASQ-SE screenings for children 0-6.

A program of Crisis Nursery

 

READY!

Provides developmental materials, home visitors, and supports for children and their families beginning at birth and all along the way until a child is ready to enter Kindergarten.

A program of CU Early and Champaign County Head Start

 

Summer Learning Support Program

Structured high-yield learning opportunities to prevent summer learning loss for youth grades K-3.

A program of Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club

 

Well Kids

Afterschool and summer learning program for youth, committed to increasing successful outcomes for Black families and dismantling racial disparities, helping enhance the academic growth, social-emotional needs, and mental wellness of People of Color living in the Urbana-Champaign community

A program of The Well Experience

Learn more about this area of our work.

Certified Nursing Assistant

Provides accelerated coursework to the attainment of a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate. This program provides direct access to competitive, stable, full-time employment and has a 98-99% pass rate. We primarily serve low-income students who cannot afford to attend the CNA program offered at Parkland. The accelerated structure is particularly important for students who are trying to balance current employment and/or parenting responsibilities.

A program of Urbana Adult Education

 

Homeownership Support Program

Housing is the biggest determinant of wealth accumulation. At present, Black households hold 1/8th of the wealth of white households, and the gap is growing. Only 7% of black households in the county own their own home while making up 15% of the population. White households make up 62% of the population but hold 75% of the mortgages. Our program is designed to break down those barriers to homeownership, including helping homeowners move through the red tape and rejections at banks - 30% rejection rate for black households in Champaign County - to help them reach their dream (the American dream) of owning a home.

A program of Habitat for Humanity

 

Operation Hope

Operation Hope serves as a critical positive link between students and their families and the school district and larger community that helps break down barriers between the students’ present reality and a more promising future. Operation Hope helps create a number of firsts, most notable of which are some students who are the first generation to graduate from High School, are the first generation to attend college or pursue a post-secondary career with intention.

A program of Champaign Unit 4 Schools

 

Project Empower

Project Empower provides trauma-informed financial management resources and education. For women and children recovering from domestic violence, Project Empower helps to break down financial barriers and live healthier, more stable lives.

A program of Courage Connection

 

Strengthening Community Connections for Rural LGBTQ People

The goal of our program is to strengthen connections with communities in neighboring counties to enable LGBTQ residents to participate in Uniting Pride programs. This may be the first opportunity for LGBTQ youth and adults to be involved in programs and create relationships with other LGBTQ people who affirm their identities and are invested in their thriving as LGBTQ people. Community connectedness for LGBTQ people reduces negative mental health outcomes and enhances individual wellbeing.

A program of Uniting Pride of Champaign County

 

WIN Recovery

Provides a quality, proven approach that will lower incarceration and prevent recidivism among women served. Our program is designed to stop the trauma-to-prison pipeline by addressing and interrupting the source of trauma that leads to continuous cycles of incarceration. WIN Recovery connects women and LGBTQ2 clients with wraparound support services that are flexible enough to meet each person’s unique needs, including legal help, mental health treatment, parenting and life skills instruction, substance misuse treatment, employment assistance, and everything in between.

A program of WIN Recovery

Learn more about this area of our work.

Counseling Program

Provides professional, affordable individual, couples, and family counseling services to area residents suffering from mental, emotional, and relationship difficulties impacting their functioning in work, school, family or community life. Services are provided by Masters level therapists - and supervised by a licensed clinical social worker - who are committed to our strengths-based philosophy, making clients central to services, working with an interdisciplinary team, and verifying effective service delivery. Therapists use trauma-informed practice to collaboratively engage clients to tailor realistic alternatives and achievable solutions to their unique situations. 

A program of Center for Youth and Family Solutions

 

Hope for the Future

Will design, implement, evaluate, and sustain a tiered, evidence-based system of programs and services that are trauma-informed, coordinated, culturally responsive, and people-centered. By supporting Black children and parents across three tiers (Universal programming, Gang Prevention/Intervention, Intensive Wraparound Services), this project will design a pilot program and sustainable program model that expands existing programs and focuses on outcomes of violence prevention, positive racial identity, trauma healing, and overall holistic needs.

A program of DREAAM

 

HopeSprings Counseling Services

Offers counseling expertise to youth and families in our community who are experiencing a difficult life situation. 90-95% of the clients are Medicaid eligible/insured. Specialty therapies (EMDR, Theraplay, play therapy, Trauma Focused-CBT) are offered. HopeSprings maintains a strong emphasis on trauma-informed care with all clients, with a specialty with children. 

A program of Cunningham Children's Home

 

Safe Children and Strong Families Programs

The Safe Children program provides emergency respite for children “at risk of harm” due to a family crisis. Through the provision of care, we facilitate parenting breaks when home situations are fragile, promote stress reduction, positive parenting, and minimize the risk of employment loss due to childcare emergencies. The Strong Families program provides family stabilization through individual and group support and education services, including home visiting, support groups, play groups, and parenting classes. Referrals to other services and resources are also provided.

Programs of Crisis Nursery

 

Therapy - Community Outreach & Group Services

Free therapy services to survivors of sexual violence and their non-offending significant others, ages 3 and older, out of the office located in Urbana and through a contractual Therapist in Rantoul. A new therapist position would lead RACES’ group and outreach-based therapy services for child and adult survivors of sexual violence. This will include providing therapy at off-site locations with new and existing community partners, including schools and other community organizations, and will increase RACES’ offerings for evening service provision. This expansion of group services is responsive to an increased demand for this form of support during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new position would allow for the staffing needed to meet this request from the community and to allow for the time needed to travel to locations to meet with survivors who would not be able to come in to meet with a therapist otherwise.

A program of Rape Advocacy, Counseling & Education Services (RACES)

 

Trauma and Mental Health Support Program

Provides social, emotional, and behavioral support as well as strength-based management services for children and families promoting success within the Boys & Girls Club, school, and community. Through evaluation the Child & Family Social Workers will develop individual service plans in coordination with the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Clubs range of services, as well as leverages relevant community resources and referrals as needed. The Child & Family Social Workers will integrate a social, emotional and trauma informed lens to the practice providing impactful individual, family, and group services, case management, evaluation, consultation, crisis intervention, grief support, and community referral work. 

A program of Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club

 

Well Family Care Program

Provides wellness support to families and children from birth to 18 years of age. The Well Family Care project is envisioned to meet the needs of mothers and help them in meeting the needs of their children. The program also provides therapeutic support to families, crisis intervention when a youth is in crisis, and support programs that promote family connectedness and build resilience in parents and youth. Mental health services and social-emotional learning is provided to children and their families. TWE is committed to building long-lasting relationships with youth and families through evidence-based support. 

A program of The WELL Experience

Learn more about this area of our work.

A grant cycle is currently open. Additional grants will be announced in late January 2022.

 

First String

Uses baseball and other sports to teach integrity, good sportsmanship, honesty, fair play, loyalty, and respect for oneself and others. With a holistic approach that reinforces these characteristics, First String, Inc. aims to help youth become well-rounded, trustworthy, and compassionate individuals ready to make a marked but positive difference in the world.  

A program of First String, Inc.

 

Midnight Basketball

A Friday night basketball league for boys in 6th - 12th grade that provides a safe environment, positive supports, and role models.

A program of Youth for Christ

 

Goal Getters

Provides academic and behavioral guidance, mentorship, social-emotional learning opportunities, family-focused activities, and positive community experiences to a select group of Unit 4 students age 14-17.  Also provides mentoring for students at Edison Middle School and Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

A program partnership between the City of Champaign, Champaign Unit 4 School District, and the Champaign Community Coalition

 

Shop with a Cop

This program fosters positive relationships between police officers, children, and families. 95 children from 31 Rantoul will have the opportunity to submit holiday wish lists. Gifts are delivered by officers.

A program of Rantoul Police Department

 

Dream Girls

Provides leadership and structure ​for females to become positive and responsible women with PRIDE, COURAGE, and GRACE.

A program of Dream Girls, Inc.

 

Reward Fund

This fund rewards tipsters who supply helpful information which leads to an arrest or recovery of stolen property. Grant funds will allow the award amount to be increased.

A program of Champaign County Crime Stoppers

Learn more about this area of our work.

Food Fund

A reserve of local dollars that can be used to place nutritious emergency food into the hands of people in need. Through the Champaign County Food Fund, participating member agencies receive a discount toward shared maintenance fees or the purchase price of product ordered from the Foodbank. 

A program of Eastern Illinois Foodbank

 

Meals on Wheels

Home-delivered hot noon meals and optional cold supper bags. The hot noon meal provides at least 1/3 of the nutritional needs of older adults & can accommodate dietary needs such as low sodium, low cholesterol or diabetic diets. Primarily serves Champaign and Urbana.


A program of Family Service

 

Harvest to Home

People living with HIV/AIDS access monthly supplemental groceries to improve their nutrition. The office of the Greater Community AIDS Project also has an on-site emergency pantry to help those who are unable to make it to a regularly scheduled Foodbank appointment.

A program Greater Community AIDS Project

 

PeaceMeal Senior Nutrition Program

Eases the impact of malnutrition and food insecurity among the aged population and provides a more stable nutritional foundation for the health and independence of clients, with a special focus on serving rural areas.

A program of OSF Healthcare Heart of Mary Medical Center

 

Food Pantry

Provides supplemental food to low-income residents of Rantoul and northern Champaign County.

A program of Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County

 

Backpack Program

Ensures kids in Champaign County have access to food on weekends and holidays. Provides shelf-stable food bags that contain foods that require little preparation to eat and are attractive and nutritious for kids.

A program of Feeding our Kids

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Attend Information Session for Grant – You will learn the specific Goals and metrics that United Way is looking for in the application.
  2. Submit Application – The application needs to provide both narrative and data evidence of how the program will help achieve United Way’s community Goal(s). 
  3. Application Review – United Way volunteers will review and score each application. We utilize a panel of subject-matter experts and caring community members. The panel is looking for strong alignment with United Way’s goals. We also look for evidence-based approaches, strategic partnership, commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrated effectiveness.
  4. Community Impact Committee Recommendation –The committee reviews each application and the notes from the Review, and determines which programs are to be recommended for a Grant. Not all programs will be awarded a grant.
  5. Board of Directors Approval – The Community Impact Committee presents recommendations for grant awards to the Board of Directors for review and approval.

If selected, organizations are provided with a contract. Grants are typically for a one or two year term.

United Way of Champaign County's funding guidelines are specific. We do not provide funds to individuals, political institutions, school fundraisers, capital campaigns, capital items, endowments, marketing opportunities, event fundraisers, or sports events.

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • Must serve clients in Champaign County, Illinois.
  • Must have bylaws that state the purpose of the organization, make provisions for the size of the Board of Directors, and provide rules for selection, tenure, number of officers and committees, financial and legal procedures, conflicts of interests, and quorum requirements. A Board that is actively engaged in an advisory, governance, and/or fiscal capacity. 
  • Your organization has policies and procedures on non-discrimination in employment and provision of service.
  • Your organization has the mechanisms and capacity for regularly reporting measurable, qualitative, and quantitative outcomes.
  • Your organization is a human service agency OR tax-exempt under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code OR has another tax-exempt organization act as a fiscal sponsor.
  • Your organization is able to provide United Way of Champaign County with a completed financial audit or letter of financial review and an IRS Form 990.
  • A funded agency with total revenue of $300,000 or greater will be required to have an audit performed by an independent audit firm.
    • An agency with total revenue of less than $300,000 will be required to have a financial review performed by an independent audit firm. Agencies with total revenue of less than $300,000 may also choose to provide an audit.
  • Your organization must be willing to support and cooperate with United Way of Champaign County in the areas of fundraising, planning, data collection, data reporting, training, and communication. 

* United Way actively practices nondiscrimination. (See our United for Equity statement here). Organizations that have a faith-based mission may receive a grant, as long as a person's lack of participation in the faith-based mission does not disqualify a person from being served. For example: a grant funded program providing meals cannot require a person to participate in a pre-meal prayer in order to recieve food. United Way grants may not fund any religious activities.

In order to submit a grant application, you must provide the following information:

  • Nonprofit agency budget
  • Proposed Grant Program budget
  • Board of Directors list and meeting dates
  • Financial documentation (Audit or Financial Review, and IRS Form 990)
  • Verification of 501 (c) (3) non-profit status for your Agency or Fiscal Agent

Please note, United Way grants are awarded to support the work of a specific program within a nonprofit organization. We do not fund agency general operating expenses. If you would like to become more familiar with the difference between a nonprofit agency and it's programs, we recommend connecting with our friends at the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

United Way grants support the best approaches and strategies to achieve the goal and solve our community's toughest problems.

Our review panel is looking for strong alignment with United Way’s goals. We also look for evidence-based approaches, strategic partnerships, commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, program sustainability, and effectiveness.

United Way's current Community Impact Goals are.

Early Grade Level Success

Child Well-Being

United for Equity

Victory over Violence

Specific metrics for each Goal area can be found on the pages linked above.

It’s possible the organization you’re looking for may have chosen not to apply for a United Way grant this year. Our grants are awarded in one or two-year cycles, and sometimes organizations choose not to apply. Perhaps they found different funding sources or are shifting their programs to different areas of impact that are not aligned with United Way’s goals. 

Decisions about which programs to award grants are never easy. Our Community Impact Committee carefully evaluates each application to determine if and how a particular program fits into our goals, what the long-term outcomes are, and what level, if any, of funding we can provide. Programs can only be effective if they have the resources to succeed, so we make sure our grants are of a dollar amount that will make a meaningful impact.

Additionally, the amount of funds donated to United Way’s Community Impact Fund determines our ability to award grants. Our fundraising team works diligently to raise as much money as possible each year, while still keeping United Way's fundraising expenses low.

As a result of all these factors, the list of programs and agencies we fund will change from year to year. United Way is constantly striving to find, support, and invest in the best long-term solutions to our community’s toughest problems. We truly believe this benefits not only those we help but all of us as a community.

Future Grant Information

United Way opens Requests for Proposals and Grant Opportunities throughout the year. If you would like to receive notice of these opportunities, please fill out the form below.

Please note, United Way of Champaign County grants are awarded to registered nonprofit organizations or organizations with a nonprofit fiscal agent. We do not award grants to individuals.