UWGC 2020 Black Empowerment Works Grantees and Reviewers

BLACK EMPOWERMENT WORKS GRANTS

The application windows for Black Empowerment Works Grants and Grant Reviewers are now open. Learn what you need to know here.

WHAT IS BLACK EMPOWERMENT WORKS?

Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by resourcing and funding grassroots/community-based, Black-led work (ideas, programs and projects). Annually we open the application process to select new grantees. To date, we have invested $1.6 million in 58 ideas and leaders. 

In year three of United Way's Black Empowerment Works we are looking to continue our investments in Black changemakers across the Greater Cincinnati area. 

As a core tenet of the program, community members make the investment decisions. By reviewing applications and holding conversations, they will work together as a team to select a diverse group of work to funds. Through these investments and ongoing capacity support and resources, we aim to fulfill the original vision of the Champions of Change.

Black Empowerment Works Class 3: Application Window

We are excited to open the 2022-2023 Black Empowerment Works program on May 2, 2022.

There are two ways to participate in the program:

  1. Apply to be a Black Empowerment Works Grantee.
  2. Apply to serve as a Black Empowerment Works Grant Reviewer, one of the people responsible for selecting the grantees.

WHAT DOES BLACK EMPOWERMENT WORKS FUND?

Each year, we seek to fund a diverse portfolio of work, representing different focus areas, organizational structures, and communities. This grant opportunity is open to nonprofit organizations, for-profits/social enterprises, community coalitions and groups, and individuals who meet the eligibility requirements. Applicants may only submit one application per year, with request amounts ranging from $2,500 to $25,000.

Expand the sections below to see what the Black Empowerment Works Grants will and will not fund.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility Requirements:  

  • Geography: Located in and serving Greater Cincinnati (Hamilton, Clermont, and Brown counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell, Grant, and Kenton counties in Kentucky; Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana).  
  • Black Leadership & Labor: The majority of decision-makers (60% of the leadership team and 50% of the Board, if applicable) identify as Black. The work seeking funding intentionally contributes to advancing the well-being of Black people.  
  • Grassroots/Community-Based: The work is rooted in and/or owned by the community. The work was developed by people connected to or affected by the area of focus. 
  • Community Benefit: The work benefits the broader community rather than benefiting any private individual, group, or business.  
  • Actionable: The work is far enough along in development and/or execution that if provided with funding through this cycle, it would be able to produce measurable results by September 2023.   

This funding opportunity is open to non-profit organizations, for-profits/social enterprises, community coalitions/groups and individuals who meet all of the other eligibility requirements above. Funding can be used to support program costs, operation and overhead costs, and more!  

WHAT ISN'T FUNDED

The following types of work and expenses are ineligible for funding through this program:  

  • General business support: This is not a small business grant. Applications must demonstrate a community benefit.  
  • Capital campaigns   
  • Political campaigns or partisan political work   
  • Debt reduction or work occurring prior to the grant period  
  • Currently funded United Way agency partners through the Call for Systems Change Partners (does not include City of Cincinnati Human Services Fund, County Funding)   

INTRODUCING THE ALWAYS CONFIDENCE FUND (POWERED BY P&G FEMININE CARE)

In alignment with the Black Empowerment Works focus and P&G Feminine Care's mission to unleash girls' and women's confidence, the Always Confidence Fund will invest in work that:

  • Tackles societal barriers on period stigma and gender inequality.  
  • Supports confidence-building of puberty-ages people with periods.  
  • Provides access to period products and education to help people with periods understand their bodies.

Priority will be given to work that addresses one of the opportunity areas lifted up by our panel of girls who helped to shape the fund. Review the Grant Information Packet for more information. All other general eligibility requirements apply. No separate application is required.

HOW WILL DECISIONS BE MADE?

Grantees will be selected by community reviewers. All applications will be reviewed by at least three reviewers. In addition to the written applications, grant applicant/reviewer conversations will occur where applicants can share more about their work and reviewers can ask additional questions.  

Key Dates:

  • May 2: Grant application window opens (Eligibility Form & Full Application). Interested applicants will complete an eligibility form first and, if approved, will move through to the full application. 
  • July 1: Grant application window closes at 5:00 p.m. EDT. 
  • Aug. 1 to Aug. 12: Grant Applicant & Grant Reviewer conversations.  
  • Aug. 24: Grant decisions communicated.  
  • Aug. 29: Public announcement of grant decisions.  

WHAT MAKES A STRONG GRANT APPLICATION?

Some of the qualities that make up a strong application include:

  • A clear description of the proposed idea, program or work.
  • The work can produce measurable results within the grant period (September 2022 – September 2023).  
  • The provided budget and timeline are clear and feasible.  
  • With funding and other supports, the organization can demonstrate the capacity to carry out the work.  
  • The work demonstrates strong alignment to one of the focus areas identified or makes a strong case for another focus area.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A GRANT?

Applications must be submitted through our online portal by July 1, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

It is strongly recommended that you review the entire Grant Information Packet before submitting your application.

 

THIS OPPORTUNITY IS NOW CLOSED
Be the first to learn about the new grant recipients: Sign up for news alerts.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS AT A GLANCE

Step 1:

Grant applicant creates an account in the online portal & completes the eligibility survey. (Deadline: July 1 at 12 p.m. EDT)

Step 2:

If deemed eligible, the applicant completes the full application form. (Deadline: July 1 at 5 p.m. EDT)

Step 3.

Community reviewers read & evaluate the applications in teams. (July 13 – July 28)

Step 4.

Reviewers hold 30-minute conversations with applicants to learn more about their work. (August 1 – August 12)

Step 5.

Reviewers make decisions using the written application and conversation information. (August 15 – August 22)

Step 6.

Applicants receive individual communications about the reviewers' investment decisions. (August 24)

BECOME A BLACK EMPOWERMENT WORKS GRANT REVIEWER

 

THE REVIEWER APPLICATION PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED FOR 2022.

WHAT IS A GRANT REVIEWER?

Black Empowerment Works Grant Reviewers will work in small teams of three to five, reading a subset (approximately 10) of the applications submitted. Through written application reviews and conversations with grant applicants, they will work to identify applicants in their pool they would like to fund. Final funding decisions will be made following the assessment of information collected from all review teams.  

WHAT MAKES A GOOD REVIEWER?

In general, we are looking for people who are:  

  • Active listeners, empathetic and relatable.  
  • Active in their communities (however you define them, and preferably in support of Black people).  
  • Passionate about and/or connected to the mission of advancing the well-being of Black people.  
  • Able to commit to fully participating in the process, including completing trainings, application reviews and meetings. Program window: June 20-Aug. 24. 
  • No prior experience is required! You do not have to identify as Black to apply to be a reviewer, though we will seek our selected reviewer panel to be majority Black.  

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SERVING AS A REVIEWER?

We believe taking part in this process has several benefits, namely:

Learning about Black-led, grassroots work happening in Greater Cincinnati.  

Connecting with other community members passionate about resourcing and funding Black work.  

Accessing professional development resources, including the VIA Character Strengths assessment and training on radical candor (provided by Mayerson Academy)

Ongoing opportunities to engage in Black Empowerment Works.  

Grant Reviewer Testimonials

Angela White, 2020 BEW Reviewer

“As a reviewer for Black Empowerment Works you are plugged into the many innovative and creative, black-led local initiatives designed to meet the needs in the communities' individuals live and serve."

– Angela White, 2020 Reviewer

Diamond Brown, 2021 BEW Reviewer

"I think this opportunity provided unique and exceptional networking opportunity to connect with other reviewers... Not to mention a great personal and professional development opportunity for us as reviewers.”

– Diamond Brown, 2021 Reviewer

Garrison Mays, 2021 BEW Reviewer

"It not only helped a community I care about but helped bring light to the crucial role the under-recognized entrepreneurs in the city play to help it grow and develop.”

– Garrison Mays, 2021 Reviewer

Josselyn Okorodudu, 2020 BEW Reviewer

"I loved the recognition that black folks are brilliant, talented, capable, and will be the creators of sustainable changes in our community. I also appreciated the opportunity to take part in a process that sought to address poverty—an issue that black communities have inherited because of generations of systemic racism.”

– Josselyn Okorodudu, 2020 Reviewer

WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT?

Reviewers can expect to dedicate approximately 28 hours between June 20 and Aug. 22, consisting of training, independent application review, decision-making meetings and grant applicant conversations. 

BECOMING A REVIEWER

For more details about becoming a reviewer, please read the Reviewer Information Packet. We strongly encourage reviewing this document before you apply.

The application period closed June 8, 2022 at 11:59 p.m EDT

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

INFORMATION SESSIONS

Sign up for one of our information sessions on Eventbrite. Sessions are as follows:

INFORMATIONAL VIDEOS

COMMUNITY RESOURCE SESSIONS

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? CONNECT WITH US!

  • ATTEND one of our information sessions: Visit Eventbrite.
  • EMAIL US at black-led@uwgc.org
  • CALL US at 513-762-7233.
    Leave a voicemail if we don’t answer, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
  • SCHEDULE a personal question session for dedicated 1:1 time to talk through any questions you may have on Calendly.

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