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 that are enrolled for the 2015 - 2016 campaign year are eligible to apply for Community Impact Grants during the open application period.

The 2016-2017 Community Impact Grant Request for Proposals (RFP) is now available. Please review carefully because several changes have been made.

You may find the proposal at the following link:
 2016-17 Community Impact Grant Request for Proposal

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. Funding decisions for the 2016-17 grants will be announced in January 2016.

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 2016 proposals.

What are United Way NCA’s investment priorities?*


Middle Grade Success
Academic and social supports for middle school students in low to moderate income families; out of school learning opportunities; medical and dental services; mental health services within schools; nutrition education; family support and engagement.

Recruiting and engaging mentors for students; raising post-secondary education and career exposure; connecting youth (especially boys of color) to caring adult mentors.

Financial Stability

Financial Independence
Access to financial coaching, free tax preparation, benefits enrollment, housing counseling, entrepreneurship assistance, and budget and credit counseling for low to moderate income individuals.

Homelessness & Affordable Housing
Helping individuals gain access to permanent housing and wrap-around services.


Healthy  Eating & Active Living
Access to healthier food choices for children and families; nutrition education; physical activity and education; and youth obesity prevention in low to moderate income schools/communities.

Basic Needs Support
Emergency and basic needs supports for individuals and families, including clothing, food, shelter, rent and utility assistance; access to prescription assistance, primary medical, dental, vision and mental health care.

*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