United Way announces $1.7 million in community funding

Community campaign, federal grant and Covid-19 donations will support region-wide work

South Burlington, VT:  United Way of Northwest Vermont—an organization dedicated to improving lives in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties—announces its plans to distribute $1.7 million in community funding in 2021, raised through a combination of United Way’s annual community campaign, federal grants and United Way’s COVID-19 response and recovery funds. The new funding distribution begins in June.

United Way’s board of directors unanimously approved the plan at its March meeting. The new community funding portfolio will support programs and initiatives that address United Way’s key strategies: meeting basic needs (housing, food, transportation), supporting families, promoting mental health and reducing substance misuse. These key strategies were determined by extensive community-wide study and outreach.

United Way’s funding commitment is despite a recent drop in annual campaign donations and pledge payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new funding model aims to reduce the burden on nonprofits to apply for funding and offer increased flexibility in how they utilize the funds to achieve the greatest impact.

United Way FY 2021-22Community InvestmentsFunding SourceAmount
Campaign Funded GrantsCommunity Campaign$875,000
State of Vermont Youth Substance Use Prevention GrantsOne-Time State Grant$315,000
United Response and Recovery FundsCOVID-19 Giving$210,000
Donor Directed Gifts to OrganizationsCommunity Campaign$268,000
Vermont 211Community Campaign$52,000

“United Way and individual donors have stepped up significantly at a time when workplace giving is significantly down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. One-time infusions of COVID-19 funds, federal and state grants, along with workplace donations will enable United Way to continue addressing our community’s key priorities and sustain capacity this year,” said Jesse Bridges, CEO of United Way of Northwest Vermont.” A significant increase in community giving will be needed in the coming year to continue our funding commitments at current levels.”

“The past year has been one of deep reflection for our work to determine how to best support our community, our most vulnerable and the organizations that serve them. We’ve also held space to ensure that we don’t miss this rare opportunity to build back a stronger, more resilient system rooted in justice and equity. Our community-led investment model has proven invaluable during the last year as we relied on community volunteers’ perspective, expertise and insights to guide us,” said Chris Lyon, chair of United Way’s community investment committee and incoming board chair. “We’re proud to be part of a such a caring community and thank our donors, volunteers and nonprofit partners for standing with us in this uniquely challenging time.”

“We felt that we needed to put our faith in the community and in our partners given the dramatic increase in need for services,” said Bridges. “At this critical juncture, we are making a decision built on the hope that our community donors will rise to the challenge and help our larger community recovery efforts in the year to come.”

United Way’s community investments serve more than 40,000 people annually in every city and town in its three-county service region. For every dollar raised through its annual community campaign, United Way leverages additional investments and the power of volunteers to invest $2.25 back into the community.

For more information including a complete list of community funding grants, visit www.unitedwaynwvt.org.