In June 2020, following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, the Rochester Nonprofit Consortium drafted a unified statement in solidarity with all those who seek justice and racial equity. Community partners were invited to sign the Commitment to Action towards Racial Justice to express their promise to listen, learn, and act to address racism; connect to resources to apply a race equity lens in their work; and build capacity to promote wellbeing for all residents of our community. 70 organizations (“the undersigned”) spanning all sectors and areas of work that have signed the Commitment.
Today, the Rochester Nonprofit Consortium continues to organize resources, tools, and connections for undersigned organizations to carry out their commitments to act in support of racial justice. In support of those efforts, United Way of Olmsted County, Rochester Area Foundation, Mayo Clinic, and Think Bank have joined with the Rochester Nonprofit Consortium to provide financial support for undersigned organizations to take meaningful action steps towards racial justice within their organizations and the communities they serve.
Update: We are expanding eligibility for this opportunity due to generous contributions by community partners! Nonprofit organizations that have not signed the Commitment to Action are eligible to apply, provided they have taken steps to listen and learn about how they can advance racial justice in their work.
Grant Purpose: Support organizations to take action in alignment with the Commitment to Action toward Racial Justice
Grant Award: Organizations may apply to receive $500, $1,000, or $2,000, with a limit of one award per organization; a total of 20-30 awards are anticipated
Grant Timeline: Funds disbursed by March 31, 2022 and must be expended by December 31, 2022
Commitment to Action towards Racial Justice Micro-Grants are intended to support organizations in taking concrete action to advance their goals related to racial justice, equity, and inclusion. Successful applications will propose a specific project(s) that represent concrete action to advance racial justice within the organization and/or the community.
By concrete action, we mean that your organization has taken steps to listen, learn, and identify specific steps that would make a difference for your organization to achieve its mission in a more equitable way. Your organization should have a clear understanding of the impact you expect your proposed project will make on your organization and/or the communities you serve.
All nonprofits that meet the following eligibility requirements may apply, regardless of whether they have already signed the Commitment to Action towards Racial Justice.
Eligible nonprofit organizations include:
- Organizations designed as a 501(c)3
- Faith-based organizations that provide direct services to individuals in the greater Rochester area, provided they can demonstrate that there will be no explicitly faith-related content included in their proposed project and that there are no discriminatory restrictions on their service recipients
- Community groups with a proper fiscal sponsor
- Applicants must be located in and serve individuals in the greater Rochester area
To apply, organizations must submit a brief written application available through United Way of Olmsted County’s grants portal. Applications will include:
- Organization information
- Confirmation that your organization has signed the Commitment to Action towards Racial Justice
- Grant request amount ($500, $1000, or $2000)
- Description of your project and how funds will be used
- Description of how you identified the need for this project
- Anticipated impact of the project
Applications will be accepted beginning immediately. Applications must be submitted through UWOC’s grants portal by noon on January 31, 2022.
Applicants may also choose to participate in an optional 50 minute reflection session with a member of the review team between January 10 and January 21, 2022. Reflection sessions are intended to provide a space for your organization to reflect on the work you have undertaken so far and possible next steps to advance racial justice in your work. While we hope that reflection sessions will be valuable in crafting a project proposal for the grant application, these conversations are not intended to provide feedback on draft proposals. Reflection conversations are confidential and will not be used to evaluate proposals.
You can sign up for an optional reflection session using the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040d49a8ae23a7f49-commitment
To begin the written application, visit the United Way of Olmsted County grants portal and select “Commitment to Action towards Racial Justice Micro-Grants.” Visit the portal using the following link: https://uwolmsted.communityforce.com
Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:
- Intentional action: Proposed project is specific and is designed to advance racial justice within the organization and/or the community based on prior listening, learning, and planning
- Impact: Proposed project is likely to advance racial justice within the organization and in the community
- Priority may be given to organizations with smaller annual budgets or to culturally specific organizations
- Priority may be given to organizations that align with the focus areas of funding entities
Post-award: After being selected for an award, organizations will be required to submit organizational documents in accordance with the requirements of funding entities, such as 990s, boards of directors lists, organizational budgets, or other. Organizations must submit all required documents and sign a funding agreement before awarded funds can be disbursed.
Grant recipients will be required to submit a brief report to Rochester Nonprofit Consortium after the completion of their proposed project, no later than January 2023. Reports will include the impact of the grant, including number of people impacted; lessons learned; and any obstacles to success. Grant recipients may be given the opportunity to participate in a grants showcare to share what they have learned and accomplished with undersigned organizations or other stakeholders.
Funds must be used only for approved proposals. Funds may not be used for expenses incurred prior to the effective date of the Funding Agreement.
We understand that staff time and professional development are critical for organizations to achieve their missions. Project proposals may include costs associated with staff members’ time, particularly when covering those costs would otherwise be a barrier to completing the proposed project (eg. training for staff whose positions are funded by restricted grants).
Apply Now: The application period begins immediately, and applications will be accepted through January 31, 2022.
To register for an optional 50 minute reflection session with a member of the review team, click the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040d49a8ae23a7f49-commitment. Optional reflection sessions will be offered between January 10 and January 21, 2022.
To begin the written application, visit the United Way of Olmsted County grants portal and select “Commitment to Action towards Racial Justice Micro-Grants.”https://uwolmsted.communityforce.com. Applications must be submitted by noon on January 31, 2022.