United Way 2025 Impact Philanthropy Process

Dear Community Partners,

As we move forward together, shaping a future filled with opportunity for ALICE households, I am writing to share some updates about our 2025 Impact Philanthropy process.

As you may know, on July 1, 2023, United Way of Coastal and Western Connecticut was formed – a result of a merger between United Way of Western Connecticut and United Way of Coastal Fairfield County. As part of this process, our Board of Directors committed to undertaking a strategic plan within the first year. We are mid-way through that process and look forward to rolling out our strategic plan publicly in the first quarter of FY 25. The input we received from many of you through conversations and survey responses has been vital to this planning process and we’re grateful for the time you have taken to share your thoughts with our team.

From the feedback we have received to date, it is clear that our Impact Philanthropy grant-making continues to stand as one of the core pillars of our work. Through our Impact Philanthropy process, we are dedicated to distributing $500,000 in grants for the upcoming Fiscal Year, aimed at fostering significant and positive changes within our community in health, education, and financial stability.

Given where we are in our strategic plan, we desire to see that process through before making any significant changes. Acknowledging that nonprofits are dealing with a difficult financial landscape, and honoring our commitment and the feedback received over the last six months, we have made the following decisions related to our FY 25 Impact Philanthropy grant process:

First, we are rolling over our FY 24 grants with two adjustments. Perhaps most significantly, these grants will now be unrestricted, a decision based on our commitment to trust-based philanthropy and recognizing that unrestricted grants provide the flexibility nonprofit partners desperately need to carry out the work that benefits our community. We will reallocate 10% of the rollover grants in order to create a new pool of funding for nonprofits that did not receive FY 24 grants. Those organizations that are current grantees will receive a separate communication by EOD Friday regarding their rollover funding total.

For those organizations that are not currently funded, there will be an opportunity to apply for unrestricted mini-grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 from a newly created $100,000 pool of dollars. We recognize that community needs far outpace the available funding, making it likely that we will receive more applications than we can fund. As such, this fund is earmarked for organizations that did not receive FY 24 grants through either legacy United Way. To be eligible, nonprofits must work in the critical areas of health, education, and financial stability. Organizations that have partnered with us through United Way's fiduciary work with the City of Danbury and the Social Equity Council are encouraged to apply. The RFP will open on Monday, March 11, and will close on Friday, April 5 at 11:59pm. The RFP can be found on our website at www.unitedwaycwc.org/grant-opportunities.

Impact Philanthropy mini-grants will be reviewed by a committee that will be comprised of United Way’s regional community council members, as well as community members with lived experience. Committee members will receive equity and trust-based philanthropy training, to ensure that all decisions are made with equity at the forefront. This collaborative approach ensures that our grant allocation reflects the community's voice and needs. We anticipate announcing all decisions by mid-June, with the grant period running from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025.

This interim FY 25 Impact Philanthropy strategy will take us through to the launch of our strategic plan in the fall. As part of that announcement, we will release our FY 26 funding strategy and priorities. This evolution of our grant-making process underscores our commitment to not only meet the immediate needs of our community but to also invest in its long-term resilience.

We are immensely grateful for your partnership, trust, and the invaluable role you play in our community's growth and well-being. Thank you for your continued support and belief in our mission. We look forward to embarking on this journey together, with optimism and a shared vision for a brighter, more equitable future. Should you have any questions, please reach out to Ashley Gaudiano, SVP of Community Impact, at ashley.gaudiano@unitedwaycwc.org or 203-297-6726.


Isabel Almeida

President & CEO