Community Investment Grant Opportunity

United Way of Northwest Arkansas is committed to creating pathways to prosperity that increase opportunities for children and families to live and grow in a thriving, nurturing environment. As a mobilizer of community resources, United Way works in collaboration with workplace giving partners to raise funds that support programs to increase the capacity of children and families to achieve their fullest human potential in three funding focus areas:

Early Learning: Early Learning programs foster healthy development and enhance school readiness among children, parents, caregivers and families.

Quality Out-of-School Time: Quality out-of-school time programs boost academic success, career exploration and positive outcomes for children.

Developing Self-Sufficiency: Self-Sufficiency programs improve economic stability by boosting workforce readiness skills to help individuals acquire a sustainable living wage.


Two-year Community Investment Grants provided funding to 30 agencies through December 2023. The next grant application opportunity will be announced following completion of the United Way 2024 workplace giving campaign.


To be eligible for a United Way grant, a program must:

  • Be implemented by a 501(c)3 organization or an education or healthcare institution
  • Align within one of the funding focus areas noted above
  • Provide services primarily in or based in Benton, Madison or Washington counties
  • Meet the criteria for responsible financial stewardship including:
      • Most recent annual audit, consistent with General Accounting Principles, conducted by a certified public accountant (CPA). Any organization funded by United Way with an annual budget of less than $50,000 or that is requesting a grant of $10,000 to $49,999 may, in lieu of an audit, submit a Formal Review conducted by a CPA. The CPA must be independent of the client.
The grant application process will be announced in 2024.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program Grants

The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) was in 1983 under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. The program is overseen by a national board chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The board includes representatives of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, Salvation Army and United Way Worldwide. United Way of Northwest Arkansas serves as EFSP grant administrator for Benton, Carroll and Washington counties and manages a local review board.


Federal guidelines require that local agencies receiving funding must be able to adhere to the following requirements:

  • be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government
  • not be barred or suspended from receiving Federal funding
  • have a checking account (cash payments are not allowed)
  • have an accounting system or fiscal agent approved by local board
  • have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • have a Unique Entity ID (UEI) number
  • conduct and provide a copy of an independent annual audit if receiving $50,000 or more in EFSP funds, or conduct an accountant’s review if receiving $25,000 to $49,999 in EFSP funds
  • be providing services and using its other resources in the area in which they are seeking funds
  • practice non-discrimination
  • have a voluntary board if private, not-for-profit
  • to the extent practicable, involve homeless individuals and families
  • have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs
  • have ability to fulfill all reporting requirements as requested
As funds are announced, an application will be linked. If organizations are interested in applying for funding from multiple counties, separate applications must be submitted for each county and each phase.