United Way of Central Ohio Board of Directors approved $7.6 million in funding for 93 nonprofits in central Ohio to provide much-needed financial support for meeting basic needs and improving student success. The pandemic exacerbated existing challenges facing hundreds of thousands of people, and many nonprofits experienced reduced fundraising opportunities due to statewide restrictions. With the help of United Way of Central Ohio donors, these nonprofits can continue to support people in need across our community.
“United Way has always required its funded partners to have high-quality outcomes for the clients they serve. However, this year we made several changes to the application process, making it open to more grassroots organizations, requiring the collection of disaggregated data and requiring funded nonprofits to have diverse boards. These changes resulted in a significant increase of funded nonprofits led by people of color. We believe it’s important to acknowledge and support nonprofits that yield results and promote racial equity from within,” said Lisa Courtice, president and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio. “As a result, 40% of our grant recipient organizations are led by people of color, and 40 organizations are first-time grant recipients of program funding.”
Of the 123 people who reviewed the RFPs, 20 were United Way staff while the other 103 were community volunteers. In total, the demographics of the group represented the demographics of Franklin County, ensuring people’s lived experiences were represented in the process. This year’s grant review teams were also the largest in recent years, with nine people sharing their expertise and experience on 14 review teams responsible for reviewing and scoring applications for funding.
United Way’s Basic Needs grants, totaling more than $3.4 million of the funding, include a generous gift from the AEP Foundation. AEP’s investment in nonprofits providing basic needs is in response to the growing need in central Ohio for food, shelter and assistance brought on by the pandemic.