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Community Impact Fund

In order to achieve the greatest results through the Community Impact Fund, United Way supports programs in our major impact areas (Education, Health, Financial Stability and Community Strengthening), which reflect our mission of fostering structural change.

Recipient organizations must have a current tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) and have held this status for at least three years. Organizations that do not have this status may seek collaborative partners to serve as the lead agency or fiscal agent for a joint application. Funding decisions are made through a rigorous community volunteer process based on specific criteria that ensures accountability and capacity for delivery and encourages community problem-solving innovation.

Congratulations to the programs receiving 2016-2017 Community Impact Fund awards:

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Innovation Award

The United Way Innovation Award recognizes local nonprofit organizations for their outstanding work in the community. Though award criteria may vary each year, an emphasis is generally placed on programs that are highly effective and innovative in nature, and that have been enhanced by functional collaborations with other nonprofits, businesses or government organizations.

Premiere Sponsor: Don Maruska & Co.

2018 Innovation Award Criteria 

Applications will be accepted November 14, 2017 - December 14, 2017. 

Youth Grants

Each winter, the United Way Youth Board allocates three $1,000 grant awards to local groups that have created projects that have a positive impact on youth (up to age 19), and incorporate the 40 Developmental Assets and other youth development principles. The group is required to be based within San Luis Obispo County and the project must be carried out within the county. Strong projects allow the youth group planning the project to gain knowledge and skills. It will primarily benefit youth in the community, not just the project planners, and should be both creative and realistic. Applications are peer reviewed by members of the Youth Board. This group of high school students seeks to increase philanthropy and leadership in San Luis Obispo County youth, and improve programs to better serve our community. In 2017, the grants were awarded to:

  • Jack's Helping Hand - Little Riders Theraputic Riding Program
  • Judkins Middle School/Ms. Babka's AVID class - The Power of Imagination through Art"
  • Oceano Elemetnary School/Mr. DeCecco's 5th grade class - "Oceano Dolphins Grow Healthy"
  • San Luis Obispo FFA - "Bottomless Basket Project"

For questions about the Community Impact Fund, Innovation Awards, or Youth Board Grants, please contact Rachel Cementina at (805) 541-1234 ext. 14.

Emergency Grants

United Way is able to accommodate emergency grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations on a limited basis. If your organization is in need of one-time emergency funding, please contact Rick London at (805) 541-1234 ext. 11.

Special Initiatives

Over the years United Way has awarded funding to start or support important programs that keep our community safe, healthy and vibrant. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, but have included activities such as helping to develop an affordable housing trust fund through the Supportive Housing Consortium ($10,000 in 2000); joining other local funders to attract a $500,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation matching grant to open La Clinica de Tolosa dental clinic for low-income children (2002); raising more than $82,000 for San Simeon earthquake relief efforts and long-term rebuilding (2003); supporting the establishment of 2-1-1 SLO County, an information and referral phone number for those in need of health and human services ($25,000 in 2006); and supporting Beginnings of San Luis Obispo County, a collaborative dedicated to helping women in their efforts to abstain from alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances during pregnancy ($75,000 from 2008-2011).