Community Strengthening

United Way of San Luis Obispo County is building capacity to advance the common good: supporting partnerships that pave the way for lasting community change and that strengthen communities by enhancing nonprofit organizations capacity to serve.

2-1-1 SLO County

2-1-1 is an easy to remember three-digit phone number that brings people and services together. It is a non-emergency telephone number that connects individuals and families with information and community resources, available to more than 90% of those living in the United States. Confidential bilingual service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone or through the online 2-1-1 Directory.

Funding Opportunities

Through the Community Impact Fund, United Way supports education, income and health programs of charitable organizations that have a current tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) and that have held this status for at least three years. Learn more about our multiple opportunities for funding


United Way of San Luis Obispo County has partnered with to provide a one stop resource for volunteer opportunities. The online database links organizations with community members looking to get plugged into service openings across San Luis Obispo County. On VolunteerSLO, local agencies post upcoming volunteer opportunities and events throughout the year making them easily accessible for people to find and serve at as the demand is needed.

Additional Resources for Nonprofit Organizations

Learn more about United Way of San Luis Obispo County's Agency Advisory Meetings, download funding report forms, post job opportunities, and other use resources for nonprofit organizations.

United Way of San Luis Obispo County oversees local community radio station, KYXZ LP FM, a 100 watt, non-profit, Low Power Radio station in the South County. The call letters are KYXZ-LP and will reside at 107.9 FM on the radio dial. (That’s the very top of your dial!)

Excellent Radio (1995-98) was among the early pioneers of the movement to create a process by which communities could legally apply for positions on the publicly owned airwaves.  The station was created as a model that became an inspiration to many other communities throughout the United States.

In 1998 the Grover Beach City Council issued an official proclamation recognizing Excellent Radio for broadcasting City Council meetings for three years and providing...  
   • A forum for community members to discuss local issues”
   • A diverse cultural selection of musical entertainment”
   • Easy and convenient access to local government information”
   • Educating and entertaining members of the community”
Today through a coming together of groups like United Way, and friends and advocates for the local county libraries, the likelihood of successful community strengthening is huge! The new Excellent Radio will be dedicated to fostering….
   • Cross–Generational respect
   • Cultural Literacy 
   • Recognition of the Libraries as the centerpiece of the community (The Commons) 
   • Mentoring through United Way’s outreach programs of Health, Education and Income
This station will support strengthening and educating our community for years to come. What better gift for our children could we give today?
Studio is located in Grover Beach. The transmitter and antenna will be on the Nipomo Mesa overlooking the entire South County.

To find out more visit

To make a donation, write a check to United Way or use this link and in the donor designation area select in “KYXZ LP FM Radio Station from the drop down list”.

United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.

We know the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is unique to every United Way community around the world. Below is United Way Worldwide’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Statement of Principle which outlines our commitment to building sustainable, inclusive, and resilient organizations and communities.


We take the broadest possible view of diversity. We value the visible and invisible qualities that make you who you are. We welcome that every person brings a unique perspective and experience to advance our mission and progress our fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. We believe that each United Way community member, donor, volunteer, advocate, and employee must have equal access to solving community problems. We strive to include diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at the center of our daily work. We commit to using these practices for our business and our communities. Join us in embracing diversity, equity and inclusion for every person in every community. LIVE UNITED



Thank you to San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles police departments for joining our initiative

As we continue to design and implement our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative, we are adding to our list of community partners. Most recently, the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles police departments have reached out to us in an effort to join us as we work to build and sustain a just, equitable, and inclusive Central Coast.



Things to Read

Anti-Racism Resources

This is a list of resources for white people and parents to help develop anti-racist culture.

The Crisis

Founded by W.E.B DuBois, The Crisis Magazine is the official magazine of the NAACP. Visit for more content

The Winters Group Guide

The Winters Group is a global diversity and inclusion consulting firm, and they have compiled this list of resources to share.
Things to Watch

Inclusion Starts With I

Check out this short video about the importance of inclusion in the workplace.

Racism is a Public Health Issue

Check out this panel from the Los Angeles Couty Museum of Art discussing police brutality in the COVID age.

Toward a Moment of Reckoning

Check out this lecture by our very own Dr. Leola Dublin Macmillan and local high school teacher and activist Geoff Land, brought to you by the History Center of SLO County.
United Way Statements



Black Lives Matter:          
Our Collective Commitment to Racial Justice

Californians from every background and generation are braving a global pandemic to march for racial justice. All across the Golden State, we are saying the names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many more Black Americans who have been unjustifiably killed by police.

California’s United Ways share in the deep sorrow and anger of our neighbors, and we stand in solidarity with those demanding justice and change in order to overcome the continued loss and devaluing of Black lives, rooted in a deeply painful history of violence and police brutality against our communities of color, particularly our Black communities.

Click Here to download and read the full statement.

United Way of San Luis Obispo County Staff and Board of Directors mourn the loss of George Floyd’s life

San Luis Obispo, CA – May 29, 2020 - We are saddened that this death occurred at a time when many of us are
working diligently to step up in support of our neighbors – of all races and ethnicities.

United Way of San Luis Obispo County strives to foster structural change by addressing root causes in order to safeguard the future of our community. Our Core Values include Integrity, Inclusiveness, Transparency, Accountability, and Leadership.

Click Here to download and read the full statement.


Donate Now to support our initiative






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).
 is a free website for local volunteer opportunities. We help the community give back! Through we are connecting the community with opportunities to GIVE, ADVOCATEand VOLUNTEER. Post your one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunites, share your events, and get connected to new volunteers! Apply for an account today. would like to THANK Union Bank for their continued sponsorship and support.

USA Patriot Act

United Way Worldwide is in compliance with the spirit and intent of the USA Patriot Act and other counter terrorism laws.  Affirmative action is taken to prevent technical, in-kind, or other resources from inadvertently being used for illegal acts and terrorist activities.  In accordance with USA Patriot Act regulations, nonprofit organizations that receive funds from United Way of San Luis Obispo County (including grants and donor designations) are required to have a current, signed copy of the Patriot Act Statement of Compliance on file; please follow the link to download a copy, or call the United Way office at (805) 541-1234 with questions.

Download the Patriot Act Statement of Compliance Form.

Agency Advisory Committee

United Way's Agency Advisory Committee is open to all agency representatives to learn and share information about issues and activities affecting health and human service organizations in SLO County and the community at large. Grant recipients are highly encouraged to attend. Agency Advisory meetings are held on an as needed basis, and upcoming meeting times will be posted here when scheduled.

Update Your 211 Listing

211 is an easy to remember three-digit phone number that brings people and services together. It is a non-emergency telephone number that connects individuals and families with information and community resources, available to more than 90% of those living in the United States. Resource updates to the 211 SLO County database are made on an as discovered or requested basis. Representatives who wish to modify their public listing may do so by submitting a request from their own agency's Public Resource Directory page or by calling the United Way office at (805) 541-1234. Data must be formatted according to the 211 iCarol Style Guide.

Community Impact Fund

Through the Community Impact Fund, United Way supports education, financial stability and health programs of charitable organizations that have a current tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) and that have held this status for at least three years.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) was created to supplement and expand the work of local social service agencies in an effort to help people with economic emergencies. The program is governed by a National Board that selects jurisdictions for funding, and Local Boards are convened to determine the highest need and best use of funds. United Way of San Luis Obispo County serves on the Local Board as the administrator for EFSP in SLO County, alongside other local representatives from the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Department of Social Services and the faith community.

San Luis Obispo County was awarded $114,000 in EFSP funding for Phase 33 (February 1, 2016 – August 31, 2017).

Local Recipient Organizations (LRO) seeking forms or manuals should log in to their online account at

The application period for Phase 34 is now open. Click here to be redirected to for application materials.

Nonprofit Jobs Board

Do you have job opening at your nonprofit agency?  United Way of San Luis Obispo County will post employment opportunities at other nonprofits on an as requested basis. If you would like to post an available opportunity at your organization, please email, and provide a complete job description and closing date.

Opportunity Exchange

The Opportunity Exchange is a space for local businesses to share items available for nonprofits. If you would like to share an item, please email


Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) promotes communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration among community organizations, faith-based groups, and government agencies with the goal of streamlining service delivery to people affected by disasters while eliminating unnecessary duplication of effort. Visit the SLO VOAD website.

Community Reports and Studies

  • The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County “How Are We Doing?”: A Summary of Community Data on San Luis Obispo County: (we can include link to the PDF once we make it publicly available) The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County retained Diringer and Associates to conduct a review and analysis of existing data on San Luis Obispo County. The review summarizes the key findings as they pertain to The Foundation’s program Areas of Focus: youth, health, housing, environment, arts and culture, and capacity building. This information is intended to be used by community members, partners, Foundation staff, Foundation Board, and various Foundation leadership committees.
  • California Healthy Kids Survey: The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is the largest statewide survey of resiliency, protective factors, risk behaviors and school climate in the nation. Across California the CHKS has led to a better understanding of the relationship between students’ health behaviors and academic performance and is frequently cited by state policymakers and the media as a critical component of school improvement efforts to help guide the development of more effective health, prevention and youth development programs.
  • Growing Together Initiative Community Survey Report: In 2001, to identify the issues and service needs of the local LGBTQ community, the Growing Together Advisory Committee developed and administered a Community Survey . The Survey was administered again in 2008. Along with identifying service needs, the Survey has provided a method for gathering information about the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQI community, local community involvement, and local support for LGBTQ individuals, through organizations and sources of information. The 2014 Survey was administered once again and distributed throughout SLO County both electronically and in print.
  • SLO Health Counts: SLO Health Counts is a one-stop source of population data and community health information for San Luis Obispo County. This includes research-based promising practices for each health indicator.
  • United Way Real Cost Measure: Statewide report published by United Way on financial challenges for working families. Data is presented on a statewide and county specific level.
  • Vital Signs: The Vital Signs report is compiled every three years through a collaboration of local organizations which sponsor the project. What is the quality of life like in San Luis Obispo County? Do residents feel safe? Are there enough employment opportunities? Do people feel they have access to good schools and services? Is our community healthy? These are just a few of the questions that a consortium of public and private health, education, business, environmental, human service and civic organizations set out to answer when they began the ACTION for Healthy Communities project in the late 1990s. As defined, the project goals are:
    • Raise public awareness of human needs, changing trends, emerging issues and community problems;
    • Provide accurate, credible and valid information on an ongoing basis to human services planners and those providing funds;
    • Provide information for individual institutions to guide decision-making about creation, management, and redesign of programs;
    • Establish community goals using measurable Quality-of-Life Indicators that will lead to positive, healthy development for individuals, families and communities;
    • Develop and support collaborative action plans to achieve the community goals.