Frequently Asked Questions



We fund programs that positively impact our community in the areas of health, education, and financial stability. 

We periodically publish Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in response to community needs. Programs that align with the specific goals of an RFP are encouraged to apply.  

Our current funding areas include:  

  • Food Security 
  • Housing Stability 
  • Independent Living 
  • Connections  
  • Early Success 
  • Thriving Communities 
  • Health Access (new!)

Visit our Grantseekers page to see open and upcoming funding opportunities. We do not typically fund programs or projects outside of our formal RFP process. 

See examples of the types of programs we fund in to improve educationhealthfinancial stability, and equity.  

In almost all cases, United Way of Olmsted County provides funding for specific programs, rather than general operating funds for organizations.

Programs are eligible to apply for funding if they meet the criteria of a specific Request for Proposals (RFP), as well as our basic eligibility criteria: 

  • Provide services in Olmsted County and serve Olmsted County residents 
  • Serve primarily low-income individuals or families (those earning up to 185% of federal poverty guidelines
  • Operated by a 501(c)3 or other eligible nonprofit agency (see next question) 
Yes and no.

Faith-based organizations are eligible, provided they can demonstrate that no religious participation is required in the program and that there are no discriminatory restrictions on service recipients. 

Unincorporated community groups are eligible if they can document their relationship with a proper fiscal sponsor.  

Government agencies/units are eligible.  

Individuals, for-profit entities, and political or partisan activities are not eligible to receive United Way funding.  


In almost all cases, United Way of Olmsted County provides funding to specific programs, not for organizations’ general operations. Organizations may apply for and receive funding for multiple programs within a single RFP and/or across RFPs.

For most RFPs there is no set minimum or maximum award amount.

You should submit a request that reflects your program’s needs. United Way of Olmsted County strives to award grants at the full amount requested whenever possible. United Way encourages programs to pursue diverse revenue streams. Program awards typically constitute less than 1/3 of the total program budget, but this is not true in all cases.    

In recent years, the average annual program award has been $30,000-$40,000. Most awards in our core food security, housing stability, early success, and health access grants are multi-year awards lasting 4 years.

Thriving Communities award amounts and duration are specific to each grant opportunity. 

We occasionally issue an RFP for one-time awards. The maximum award amount for one-time awards is $20,000. 

Please carefully review the eligibility and review criteria outlined in the Request for Proposals. In many cases, we also make available our evaluation rubric and a sample application to help potential applicants understand what a strong proposal could look like. If you have questions about whether a particular proposal idea aligns with these criteria, United Way staff will be happy to consult with you about the RFP and your program plans.  

Certain agencies may also request additional support from a Grant Guide. Agencies are eligible to work with a Grant Guide if they have annual revenues under $1 million and do not employ a full-time grant writer. For full details, visit our website (Grant Guides: Technical Assistance). 

In some cases. 

United Way will consider joint proposals when a program is delivered by more than one organization  because there is a need for shared program planning, administration, and reporting. That requires all partnering organizations to be serving the same individual participants toward a single, shared outcome over a sustained period. If your program only contracts with another agency to provide a specific service within your program operations, this likely does not require a joint proposal.   

You should receive an automated email once your proposal has been submitted through our grants portal. Someone from our team will contact you via email within a few weeks of the proposal deadline to update you on the progress of your proposal.  

The review process and timeline will be detailed in the Request for Proposals. Most review processes include one or more meetings with our review team.  

Final partnership decisions and award amounts are decided by United Way of Olmsted County’s Board of Directors. For multi-year awards, final award announcements are typically made in April, with funding beginning in July. Awards are disbursed in monthly installments.