BEW Grantees 2023-2024



Black Empowerment Works promotes Black self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by providing resources and funding to grassroots/community-based, Black-led work. Since its inception in 2020, the program has invested over $5 million in 130 ideas and their leaders in partnership with P&G Always brand and bi3. 

This work exists for two reasons:

  1. There is an over-representation of Black families experiencing poverty and an underinvestment in community-based, Black-led work and expertise to address it.
  2. We are compelled to hold spaces and provide resources to imagine and bring to life unencumbered, self-determined Black futures.

More than just a grant fund, Black Empowerment Works seeks to contribute to the ecosystem of support for Black changemakers. We provide access to capacity-building resources, opportunities for partnership and more.

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Congratulations to our fourth cohort of Black Empowerment Works grantees.

View the full list of award recipients at



We seek to fund Black-led work focused on building solutions and/or aligning systems to help families in our community thrive, with an intentional focus on supporting Black families. This grant opportunity is open to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, for-profit social enterprises, community coalitions and individuals whose work meets our eligibility requirements.  

Applicants may submit only ONE application per year, with amounts ranging from $4,000 to $40,000 annually. Collaborative projects are welcomed. Grants are renewable for a second year, contingent upon performance and funds available.

Single-Entity Applications (most common)

Single-entity applications are ones where the applying individual/organization will be the recipient of the grant funds and holds majority responsibility for carrying out the work as defined. While the work may be carried out in partnership with other organizations, the applicant holds primary decision-making authority. Single-entity applicants may request funds ranging from $4,000 to $40,000. 

Collaborative Applications

A collaborative is defined as a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations/groups to achieve a common goal or body of work. What sets collaboratives apart from traditional partnerships are the following qualities: 

  • Shared decision-making power with clearly defined roles for each member. 
  • Shared resources (members pool resources to carry out the work, and all receive a portion of requested Black Empowerment Works funds).
  • Defined shared outcomes, with all partners responsible for and accountable to working toward those outcomes. 

In determining if a collaborative is the best route, the question to ask is, “Is this work where if any one partner around the table is not provided with resources, the work cannot happen?”. 

Collaboratives will submit only one application, with a collaborative lead serving as our sole point of contact throughout the application process. Collaboratives may request up to $75,000 and must upload a “document of collaboration” as an attachment to their application.

Note: For any partner listed in a collaborative, this application counts as their one application for the year. For more details, see the Frequently Asked Questions section of this site. 


  • Geography: Located and providing services within the UWGC nine-county service region (Hamilton, Clermont and Brown counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties in Kentucky; Dearborn and Ohio counties in Indiana).
  • Black Leadership and Labor: At least 60% of the leaders of the work (those empowered to make decisions on behalf of the group) identify as Black. The work has an intentional (though not necessarily exclusive) focus on advancing the well-being of Black people.
  • Grassroots/Community-Based: Community members, especially those directly or indirectly impacted by the focus of your work, have and continue to shape the work you do. Example: staff leading this work have direct experiences with the challenges your work seeks to overcome.
  • Community Benefit: The work benefits the community rather than benefitting any private individual, group or business. The work has a focus on individuals, families and/or communities with limited access to resources. 
  • Actionable: The work is far enough along in development or execution that if provided funding, it could produce measurable results by September 2024.


  • General business operating support.
    • This is not a traditional small-business grant. Applications must demonstrate a community benefit, aligned to one of the focus areas and beyond a benefit provided to employees and stakeholders of the business.  
  • Capital campaigns (a targeted fundraising effort to raise a large amount of money in a specific timeframe for a large project, like securing or developing a property).  
  • Political campaigns or partisan political work.  
  • Debt reduction or work occurring prior to the grant period. 
  • Work occurring outside of the UWGC nine-county service region.
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Through the Black Empowerment Works program, community members make the grant investment decisions. Learn more about serving as a Community Reviewer.



*Please note: Cycle 4 funding has been completed, and the application process is closed.

Grantees will be selected by community reviewers, with all applications reviewed by no fewer than three people. In addition to a written application, grant applicants will be invited to speak with reviewers to learn more about the work.

Seasonal Assistance MAY 2023
  • May 1: Grant application window opens. Interested applicants will create an account and complete an eligibility form through the e-CImpact system. If approved, applicants will gain access to the full application.

    (Deadline to create account and complete the eligibility form: June 28, Noon (EDT)  
Seasonal Assistance JUNE 2023
  • June 28: Grant application closes at 5 p.m. EDT.  
Seasonal Assistance JULY 2023
  • July 10-27: Community reviewers evaluate written applications.  

  • July 31-Aug. 12: Window for grant applicant/reviewer conversations. All organizations who apply by the deadline will be invited to an individual meeting with a review team.  

Seasonal Assistance AUGUST 2023
  • Aug. 23: Grant decisions communicated to individual applicants.  

  • Aug. 28: Grant decisions communicated publicly.  


Black Empowerment Works has invested in community partners through three funding pools: our general funding plus two special funds - the Always Confidence Fund and the bi3 Health Equity Fund. Selected work will be funded through ONE of these sources.

In addition to investing in a broad range of social impact causes such as education, economic mobility and community organizing and coalition-building (see the FAQ section below or grant information packet for other issue areas), Black Empowerment Works also includes two specialized funds in partnership with local strategic partners:

P&G Always brand - Large Logo


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

  • Tackles societal barriers on period stigma and gender inequality.  
  • Supports confidence-building of puberty-aged 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 the panel of girls who helped to shape the fund:  

  1. Frank conversations and education around periods to reduce stigma and mystery.  
  2. Period education for boys and men. 
  3. Reshape, challenge school policies and practices that negatively impact girls.  
  4. Equip public spaces, especially schools, with a diverse array of period and period-adjacent products and resources.  
  5. Create/provide opportunities for girls to explore their interests, whether they be academic, creative, or career focused.
  6. Provide space for girls to practice positive self-care.  
  7. Equip people to advocate for the safety and protection of girls (and equip girls to advocate for themselves).  
bi3 Health Equity Fund Logo


In partnership with Black Empowerment Works, the bi3 Health Equity Fund invests in Black-led 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations working to improve health outcomes and build health equity, transforming the health and well-being of all people in Greater Cincinnati.

In 2023-2024, the bi3 Health Equity Fund will prioritize organizations focused on the following:

  • Accelerating birth equity

    Projects that improve the birth experience and reduce health disparities in maternal and infant health, resulting in better outcomes for Black families, including initiatives that address racial and social barriers that lead to poor outcomes.
  • Improving youth mental health

    Projects that improve mental health and provide mental health services, resources and assistance for Black youth, including projects focused on prevention and reducing stigma. Special priority will be given to youth-led projects.
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We encourage all applicants to review the full Request for Proposals information packet.

This document provides more details about the program, including instructions for navigating the online system and a complete list of application questions.



Does the program support new work?

Yes. The Black Empowerment Works program is open to new work, existing work and existing work with a new twist.

Is this grant open only to existing nonprofit organizations?

No! Beyond existing nonprofits, we are open to funding for-profit social enterprises, individuals and community coalitions. For work not connected to a nonprofit 501(c)(3), leaders can either choose to be funded through a fiscal sponsor or assume the tax liability of the grant.

Are there specific focus areas for investment?

We are open to a diverse array of work. The focus areas you’ll be asked to select from are listed below. You can pick more than one.  

  • Quality Early Child Care and Education (Ages 0-5)  
  • Quality K-12 Education, including academic after-school time 
  • Youth Social Emotional Skill Building and Leadership Development 
  • Career and Post-Secondary Preparation, Exploration and Training  
  • Financial Empowerment and Asset Building  
  • Basic Needs and Housing  
  • Birth Equity (assurance of optimal births)  
  • Physical Health  
  • Mental Health  
  • Systems Change, Mobilizing and Movement Building  
  • Community and Social Connectedness  
  • Other (You will be asked to describe your focus area in the application.)  

What makes a strong application?

Some of the qualities of a strong grant application include: 

  • The proposed work is clear, defined.  
  • The provided budget and timeline are clear and feasible.  
  • With funding and other supports, the organization can demonstrate having sufficient capacity and resources to carry out the proposed work.  
  • The work can produce measurable works within a year (September 2023 – September 2024)  
  • The work demonstrates a strong alignment to the BEW eligibility criteria, especially the “community-based” and “community benefit” criteria.  
  • The work demonstrates strong alignment to one of the focus areas identified or makes a strong case for another focus area.  

I am a member of two organizations looking to apply. Is that OK?

So long as the work is distinct and other members of the leadership team are different, your name can be attached to multiple applications.

How many grants/ how much grant funding is available this cycle?

We will invest in no fewer than 40 organizations for a total annual investment of no less than $1.6 million.

If I receive funding, what will I be required to do and report?

All selected organizations will be required to submit necessary paperwork to receive the grant. Grantees will have no fewer than two check-in calls with UWGC staff annually. A final report will be due at the end of the grant year.

Is the collaborative application different from the single-entity application?

The application form itself is the same, but the applicant will take a different approach to answering the questions. All responses should amplify the collaboration. Additionally, collaboratives will be required to submit a “document of collaboration” describing the current state and structure of the collaborative, the distinct roles of the partners and an agreement to share resources. This could be a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among all partners, letters of commitment or partnership agreements. 

Will Black Empowerment Works give preference to collaborative applications over single-entity applications in making funding decisions?

Not necessarily. We look at overall strength of the applications submitted. A strong single-entity application could be selected over a less-strong collaborative one. 

If preference is not given to collaborative applications, what is the benefit of applying as a collaborative?

Collaboratives can request more in funds than single-entity applicants. We honor that it might take more resources to carry out intentionally with others.

What happens if a collaborative is funded at an amount less than what was requested?

We would work with the collaborative partners to determine modifications, which is the same strategy we take with single-entity applicants.

Can I be a part of a collaborative and submit a single-entity application for separate work?

No. The collaborative application would count as the one submission of the year for all collaborative members listed.


Click or tap below to watch recordings of each Black Empowerment Works Cycle 4 Workshop or watch on YouTube.

Information Session | Black Empowerment Works Cycle 4 | May 4, 2023

Are you grant-ready? | BEW Grant Workshop #1 | May 9, 2023

Application Deep Dive | BEW Grant Workshop #2 | May 16, 2023

Designing, Delivering and Evaluating Programs | BEW Grant Workshop #3 | May 23, 2023

Building a Budget that Works | BEW Grant Workshop #4 | May 30, 2023

Applying as a Collaborative | Black Empowerment Works Cycle 4

UWGC 211 Online Database: Image of a Mac laptop keyboard.


The window for applications for United Way's 2023-2024 Black Empowerment Works funding cycle closed June 28 at 5 p.m. EDT.

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