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.
United Way Quad Cities is accepting applications for 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 until noon Jan. 8.
“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.”
About the Fund
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.
The 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.
Lifting Up Community Voices
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.
“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,” Dr. 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. This ensures all Quad Citizens have the opportunities to realize their full potential and live their best lives.”