United Way 2021-22 Grant Awards are here!

Jul 27, 2021

United Way works with local businesses, individuals, and volunteers to raise funds in our community, for our community. Why? Because we know that together, we can make a greater impact, support more people and programs, and make more good things happen in Whatcom County than we could do on our own.

Our mission

United Way’s mission is to enable financial stability for everyone who lives in Whatcom County, which means helping individuals and families in a number of ways. Financial stability is complicated. Households can become unstable for a wide range of reasons, including:

  • Stagnant wages
  • Lack of affordable housing, rent, and/or child care
  • Student loans, medical debt, or other financial obligations
  • Inability to work due to certain conditions or disability
  • Racism and discrimination
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental health and/or addiction issues
  • Generational poverty
  • Lack of education and job skills

Any one of these things can keep someone from becoming financially independent. Individuals and families that are dealing with multiple issues on this list have an even harder time getting ahead. This is why we are so committed to funding proven solutions that bring people help and hope.

Our focus areas

We invest in local nonprofits working to provide basic needs like food, housing, health and mental health services. Having these needs met is what allows people to stabilize enough to focus on the next step toward financial security: Economic mobility

This is where programs that provide job skills, literacy, educational opportunities, and employment services, and child care come into play. United Way helps fund organizations that give our hardworking friends and neighbors with the tools, knowledge, and opportunities they need to get that next job, receive that raise or promotion, and progress to the next level in their careers.

Providing basic needs and increasing economic mobility are critical to helping individuals and families succeed, but we don’t stop there. United Way also makes investments in agencies dedicated to breaking negative patterns that hold people back generation after generation. We are investing in a number of nonprofits providing everything from parenting support to addiction services to escape from domestic violence, and other life-changing programs designed to put an end to the cycle of poverty in our community.

Our grant process

Each year, we receive 30 or more detailed applications from local nonprofits serving our community in a variety of ways. All of them are doing good work. All of them are helping people in our community. All of them are choosing to Live United. Unfortunately, not all of them can get United Way funding.

As always, we made our funding decisions based on the following criteria:

  • Urgent and emerging community needs
  • Alignment with our mission and core focus areas
  • Agency effectiveness, capacity, and stability
  • Service delivery and measurable outcomes
  • Active partnership and collaboration to achieve goals
  • Commitment to equity and serving those most in need

These decisions are never easy. The last two years have been increasingly challenging as we face a worldwide pandemic resulting in a drastic increase in demand for critical services and a massive decline in income for individuals, families and businesses. In other words, community needs were up and the ability to give was down.

Our 2021-22 grant awards

We are incredibly grateful to our many dedicated donors and supportive companies who came through for us wherever they could. We are also very thankful for all of our new donors, who were in search of an effective way to support county-wide programs and services during a really rough time– and chose United Way.

In addition, we benefitted from a generous 1:1 matching gift program through the Seattle Foundation and All in Washington. Mr. Jeff Bezos himself pledged 50 million dollars to match donations to COVID-19 relief funds at a number of Community Foundations and United Ways in Washington state, and our Emergency Recovery Fund was one of them. Through this opportunity, we received over $270,000 to augment our 2020-2021 fundraising efforts. Not only did this help offset a down fundraising year, it allowed us to give out even MORE grant funding than we did in 2019. This is what we call a happy surprise!

For our 2021-22 fiscal year, we are thrilled to announce that we are granting $878,867 in funding to 22 local nonprofits working to provide basic needs, increase economic mobility, and break the cycle of poverty for individuals and families in Whatcom County. This is in addition to the $202,000 we provided in emergency COVID relief grants.

We are very proud to have been able to continue our annual grant funding throughout COVID and help with additional grants from our Emergency Recovery Fund. We are also excited to be able to offer more flexible funding in larger amounts for the coming year.

Thank you for playing you part in helping us get here. We did not do this alone. 

Living United means being part of something bigger. Something special. Something inspiring. Investing over a million dollars locally in vital services that are helping people in our community get back on their feet definitely fits that description.

To view our 22 United Way partner agencies, click here.

For a full list of 2021-22 Community Impact Grant amounts, click here.

Thank you again to everyone who gave a gift. Large or small, matched or unmatched. You made a difference. You helped change lives for the better.

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