Health Access Request for Proposals

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Health Access Request for Proposals  

The pandemic has placed health and wellbeing at the center of our nation’s attention while exacerbating inequities that exist within our healthcare systems. A person’s health is the result of several interrelated factors, including socioeconomic status, geography, and race and ethnicity. Where a person lives, works, socializes, and ages has a profound impact on their health and quality of life. Moreover, during the pandemic, Olmsted County residents have experienced increased delays in accessing health care; increased social isolation and substance use; and increased anxiety, depression, and financial stress.  

United Way of Olmsted County is investing in programs that remove barriers for Olmsted County residents to access healthcare. Health Access grants will focus on improving access to three areas of healthcare that our community has identified as high priority: affordable medical and dental care, mental health and addiction recovery, and direct support services for people with disabilities. United Way of Olmsted County invites applications from local programs that address these core community needs. We will also consider proposals for programs that provide auxiliary services to help people access direct care, including transportation, insurance navigation, community health workers, or other supports. 

The proposal period begins immediately. We invite you to review our Request for Proposals below and consider applying. 

What We’re Funding: 

We seek to fund local nonprofit programs that improve the health of Olmsted County residents by increasing access to physical, mental, dental, and/or behavioral health services through one of the following program types: 

  1. Direct care: Programs that provide free or low-cost physical, mental, dental, and/or behavioral healthcare for uninsured or underinsured residents

  2. Peer support: Programs that offer supportive mental health and/or addiction recovery services provided by a trained peer support specialist  

  3. Direct support services: Programs that provide direct healthcare and/or personal care support to assist individuals with physical, developmental, or intellectual disabilities to live safe and healthy lives  

  4. Auxiliary services: Programs that help people access healthcare through navigation, education, transportation, or other supports  

We will prioritize proposals from programs addressing a-c above. We will also consider proposals from programs offering auxiliary services (d). To learn more about the state of health access in Olmsted County, read our supporting research (Health Access Research). 

Additional Investment Details: 

  • We anticipate making awards to 5-7 programs that improve access to physical, mental, dental, or behavioral healthcare services through one of the program types described above. 

  • Health Access grants provide unrestricted program-level funding. Funds are intended to be used for general program operations in alignment with your proposal. Funds are not restricted to any specific line item or program activity.  

  • This is a four-year grant to be paid in monthly installments between July 2023 and June 2027. 

  • There is no minimum or maximum award amount. In recent grant cycles, the average annual program award has been about $35,000. 


  • Public information session: August 29 

  • Initial proposals due: September 12 

  • Full proposals due (by invitation): November 3 

  • Program meetings (by invitation): December 6-9 

  • Finalists notified: December 19 

  • Funding begins: July 2023 

We would be happy to talk with you about your proposal ideas! To schedule a time to meet with our team, you may contact Zeni Aly, Impact & Engagement Administrative Assistant, at 507-287-7877 or

How to Apply: 

Proposals are accepted through United Way of Olmsted County’s online grants portal. The grants portal works best in Google Chrome.  

We strongly encourage you to review the grant application materials carefully before beginning your application. The following documents may help you as you prepare your application:   

Certain organizations may also request the support of a Grant Guide to assist in developing their application.  

Our team is eager to assist you if you have questions about your proposal or are experiencing technical difficulties with your application. For technical support with the proposal process, or to schedule a time to meet with our team to discuss a proposal idea, you may contact Zeni Aly, Community Impact Administrative Assistant, at 507-287-7877 or

Proposals will be evaluated by a team of community volunteers, in coordination with United Way of Olmsted County staff. Reviewers will evaluate proposals on the following criteria: 

  • Eligibility: Proposal meets all eligibility requirements and includes all required information 

  • Impact: Proposed program demonstrates strong impact or potential for impact, as demonstrated through program outcomes, continuous improvement, and effective collaboration 

  • Equity: Proposed program effectively serves residents who disproportionately experience barriers to health access and works to remove barriers through culturally appropriate program design  

  • Budget: Budget is complete and appropriate for program plans.  

To be considered for a Health Access grant, programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:  

  • Serve primarily low-income residents of Olmsted County (We generally define low-income as those residents who live at or below 185% of federal poverty level

  • Improve access to health through one of the program types described above 

  • Be a program of an eligible nonprofit agency. 

Eligible nonprofit agencies include: 

  • Agencies designated as a 501c3 

  • Government agencies/units 

  • Faith-based organizations, provided they can demonstrate that there will be no explicitly faith-related content included in their programming and that there are no discriminatory restrictions on service participants

  • Community organizations without 501c3 status, provided they can document their relationship with a fiscal sponsor with 501c3 status. 

Funding will not be provided for: 

  • Individuals  

  • For-profit entities

  • Political campaigns, candidates, parties, or partisan activities 

  • Programming that includes theological functions or requires religious participation.

We enter partnerships with our grantees with a spirit of service, mutual respect, and transparency. Where our expectations do not align with those of our partners, our team will work with grantees to develop mutually beneficial solutions. If you have questions or concerns about the expectations outlined here, we invite you to speak with our staff at any point during the proposal process. 

United Way of Olmsted County holds the following expectations of our grantees: 

  • Meet with United Way staff at least annually to touch base on your program operations, community needs, and our relationship. 

  • Report annually on program performance measures, including: 

    • Total number of program participants 

    • Participant demographics (including race, gender, income, disability status, and city of residence, where such information is available)  

    • Key program outcomes, disaggregated by race and income level where possible 

    • Additional performance measures to be co-developed by program staff and United Way 

If you do not currently collect all of this information, our team is available to support you in building your data collection routines to facilitate shared learning about your program and its participants.

  • Submit updated organizational information at least annually, including: 
    • Organization and program budgets 

    • Board of Directors roster 

    • Financial documents, in accordance with United Way’s financial reporting policy 

    • Demographic information about your organization’s staff and Board of Directors, where your data collection and privacy practices allow. 

  • Support United Way’s fundraising and community change efforts; for example, by sharing our program information with your participants, helping us to develop client stories for marketing materials, or hosting an employee giving campaign.

  • Funded program partners and United Way sign a funding agreement annually throughout the grant period. You can find a sample agreement here.

We will review proposals in three stages: 1) a brief written proposal, 2) by invitation, a second written submission with additional program narrative and organizational documents, and 3) by invitation, a meeting with United Way staff and volunteers to discuss the program being proposed. Prospective partners will be notified after each stage whether their proposal is advancing in the review process. 

Public information session - August 29, 12-1 pm via Zoom 

  • An optional public session held via Zoom. United Way staff provided an overview of the investment opportunity, the program requirements, and the proposal and review process. The session was recorded and can be found here. Staff are also available for individual follow-up discussions upon request. 

Initial proposals must be completed by 5 pm on September 12, 2022.

  • Proposals are intended to be brief. We encourage you to review the proposal questions in advance. All proposals should be submitted through UWOC’s online grants portal. For assistance with the online tool, please contact Zeni Aly at 507-287-7877 or Applicants will be notified about the status of their proposal on or around October 13. 

Full proposal due (by invitation) - November 3 at 11:59 pm 

  • Programs invited to submit additional materials should submit their completed proposal by 5 pm on November 3, 2022. The full proposal will request further details of your program design and impact. We encourage you to review the proposal questions in advance. At this time, we will also request organizational documents, including financial documents and budgets. Budgets may be submitted in your own preferred format; if you do not have a budget template of your own, a sample can be found on our website (Budget Help Page). Applicants will be notified about the status of their proposal on or around November 21. 

Program meetings (by invitation) - December 6-9 

  • Those continuing in the application process will be invited to have further dialogue with United Way volunteers and staff. This meeting is an organic conversation intended to clarify any remaining questions our reviewers have about your program and address any questions your organization has about partnership with United Way of Olmsted County. Applicants will be notified about the status of their proposal on or around December 19. Final partnership commitments are subject to approval by United Way of Olmsted County’s Board of Directors.  

Development of performance measures - January 2023 

  • Finalists will work together with United Way staff to develop the performance measures to be reported during the funding cycle. These measurements will be co-created and specific to the program. United Way of Olmsted County uses the Results-Based Accountability (RBA) framework and will support programs in developing RBA measurement plans. 

Final awards announced - February 24, 2023 

  • Partners can anticipate being notified of the final status of their request on or before February 24, 2023, after United Way’s Board of Directors has approved its final decision. 

Funding begins - July 2023 

  • First disbursements of Health Access grants will be made in July 2023. Awards are disbursed in monthly installments. Prior to the first disbursement of funds, all partners must execute a funding agreement.