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COVID-19 Rapid Relief Grants Available for Local Nonprofits

For the duration of this global health pandemic, the Community Impact Fund will serve as a resource for working families affected by this crisis. UWSLO leaders recognize the potential for economic impact, particularly affecting hospitality and service industry workers, is high. The organizations that serve populations in need every day will find themselves under-resourced and facing growing demand. United Way and our partners are working to identify those critical needs and resource gaps to best determine an appropriate response. UWSLO is now prepared to rapidly deploy flexible resources to local nonprofit organizations in our region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic consequences of this health crisis.

Hosted by United Way of San Luis Obispo County, the Community Impact Fund will provide mini grants up to $2,000 to local nonprofit organizations serving our county and working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of this outbreak. Grants will fund 501(c)3 organizations that have deep roots in our community and strong experience working with under resourced residents. The Community Impact Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity.

The rapid-relief grants will increase resiliency in disproportionately affected communities by addressing the economic impact of reduced and lost work due to the broader COVID-19 outbreak, the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by COVID-19 related closures, the increased demand for medical information and support, and fear and confusion about the outbreak among our most vulnerable residents. We anticipate that the primary areas of need will include:

  1. Food/food supplies

  2. Rental assistance

  3. Utility payments

  4. Other Assistance: Assistance is available for unmet needs not covered under items listed above, as determined by the Community Impact Committee.

The United Way of San Luis Obispo County's Community Impact Committee reserves the right to support other areas of need that develop as a result of the crisis. 

United Way of San Luis Obispo County will administer grants from the Community Impact Fund. Funding and decisions will be determined by the Community Impact Committee, made up of a cross section of community leaders. Together we will proactively identify potential grant recipients, solicit guidance on potential recipients from community advisors, and invite potential grant recipients to apply for funding. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis as funds are available. . Funding decisions may take up to 2 weeks and grant applications will be reviewed in the order received.

To support this critical work in our community, donate to the United Way of San Luis Obispo County's Community Impact Fund today or call 805-541-1234.

Applications for grants may be accessed through our online portal HERE AVAILABLE NOW.

Online Grants Management System

  1. Prepare required application documents in PDF format (e.g., project budget, organizational and financial documents, etc.)

  2. Access online grant applications through the Online Grants Management System.

Contact Resource Development Specialist, Dr. Leola Dublin Macmillan at if you have any questions about grant eligibility and contact Linda Wingert at for questions about our online grants system.

Online Application Instructions

To submit or access your organization’s online application, follow the instructions below.

  1. Create or Access Account: If you are new to our online grants system, you will need to create an account. Creating an account allows you to access and save your application during the application process. Please login to the Online Grants Management System to access an existing account or create a new account, all you need is an email address.

  2. Complete the Application: Complete all required sections of the online application and upload all required documents.

  3. Submission: Once all sections of the application are complete, submit the application using the Online Grants Management System. You will receive an automated submission confirmation email.

Review the guidelines and all available grant opportunities by visiting the Online Grants Management System.

2021 Community Impact Fund Grant Process - SUSPENDED

Hello United Way Friends and Neighbors,

As many of you may know, due to the pandemic, United Way of SLO County has shifted its focus to provide COVID-19 rapid relief grants to local nonprofits. For the duration of this global health pandemic, the Community Impact Fund will serve as a resource for working families affected by this crisis. UWSLO leaders recognize that COVID-19’s economic impact is likely to be significantly higher for hospitality and service industry workers. The organizations that serve populations in need every day will find themselves under-resourced and facing growing demand. If your organization serves these communities, we invite you to apply for a United Way COVID-19 Rapid Relief Grant here.

Since April 2020, UWSLO has been deploying COVID-19 Rapid Relief grants to local nonprofit, 501(c)3, organizations who serve community members that have been disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic consequences of this health crisis. As a result of this shift in our focus, United Way of SLO County has suspended its traditional Community Impact Grant process for 2021.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact United Way at 805-541-1234.



Congratulations to the programs receiving Community Impact Fund awards in 2020 



(Click image above to download PDF)



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.



 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 Sponsors: Don Maruska & Co.


CONGRATULATIONS 2019 Innovation Award Winner


 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 in 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. 




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 211 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).