Applying for Community Impact Grants

Current Grantees
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What is a Community Impact grant?

United Way of the National Capital Area Community Impact grants are how we invest local dollars in our communities to address specific community centered issues. Funding decisions are made through an annual competitive application process.  Our Community Impact grants are invested in high performing nonprofit organizations that provide programs and services aligned with our three strategic priority areas of Education, Financial Stability and Health. Awardees help to improve community conditions across our regional footprint in the eight (8) counties we serve: Alexandria, District of Columbia, Fairfax/Falls Church, Montgomery, Arlington, Loudoun, Prince George's and Prince William.

Who can apply for a Community Impact grant?

Current United Way NCA member nonprofits who are enrolled for the 2015 - 2016 campaign year are eligble to apply for Community Impact Grants during the open application period.

The 2016 Community Impact Grant Request for Proposals (RFP) will be posted by August  2015.

New members for 2015-2016 will be eligible to apply for grant funding for the 2016 grant cycle, pending successful completion of the membership eligibility process and acceptance.

Not a member? Click here for information about becoming a member.

What is the process?

All eligible United Way NCA member nonprofits will be emailed when the Request for Proposal (RFP) is released. The entire process usually spans August to December. 

Funding decisions for the 2015 Community Impact grants were made in January 2015. 

Click here to see the 2015 Community Impact Award Recipients

If you have questions about your 2015 application, take a look at the most frequently occurring comments and feedback for non-funded 2015 proposals.

What are United Way NCA’s investment priorities?*


Goal: Increase students’ early and middle grade success by providing academic and social supports.

Early Grade Reading
Academic and social supports for elementary school students including:

Middle Grade Success
Academic and social supports for middle school students including:

Financial Stability

Goal: Increase the number of individuals with family-sustaining incomes and connect to college and career pathways.

Workforce Development


Goal: Help children and adults in our community thrive by being healthy and active.

Healthy Living

Basic Needs Support
Emergency and basic needs support for individuals and families including:

Priorities may be adjusted annually*

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does United Way NCA focus more deeply on specific issues? 
Like most organizations, we are challenged to meet the needs of our constituents and effectively drive change with limited resources. By investing strategically in a streamlined set of priorities that align with our organizational goals and through focusing more deeply on fewer issue areas, we aim to make a more meaningful and measurable impact in the communities we serve. 

Should I still apply if we have not been previously funded or currently funded by United Way NCA?
YES! Current grantees or organizations that received funding in prior years are not given special consideration by the grant review committee.

How does organizational size affect ability to compete?
It doesn’t. Organizational size is not a factor in evaluating applicants. Funding decisions are based on alignment with United Way NCA’s priorities and the applicant’s ability to demonstrate tangible, measurable results.

Can I get feedback about our previous year’s grant application?
Unfortunately, any feedback received from last year’s grant application will not be relevant to this year’s process. Based on the volume of applications we typically receive, we will not be able to provide individualized feedback to member nonprofits on their specific proposals. However, at the conclusion of this grants process, we will collect and summarize the most frequently occurring comments and feedback observed by our grant reviewers and publish the comments to our website.

Who reviews the final grant applications?
The application process is overseen by United Way NCA’s Regional Councils, eight groups of highly-engaged external professionals comprised of board, corporate, nonprofit and community representatives.  External reviewers were selected from academia and the public and private sectors based upon their experience and knowledge of community need; diversity was also an important factor, as we wanted to ensure the entire region was represented.

Reviewers were also thoroughly vetted for any conflicts of interest. Throughout the rigorous review process, reviewers utilized an assessment tool to rate applications based on their quality, alignment with United Way’s funding priorities, and ability to demonstrate measurable results in their respective area of focus.  Reviewers are recruited in all local communities to provide feedback based on applications in that location.

Have questions or need technical assistance? Please email