The United Way for Southeastern Michigan is opening a competitive RFP process to fund partners already engaged in advocacy efforts impacting households living below the ALICE Threshold, reducing barriers to services and increasing equity or supporting voter access and engagement. The 2023-24 Policy and Advocacy Grant investment process is an open call for applications from both potential and existing funded partners.

Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023.


United Way for Southeastern Michigan is committed to ensuring that all households are stable and that all children can thrive in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Every household should have access to systems and services that help them navigate times of crisis. Every family should have a safe home and the resources it needs to support a child’s healthy development. Every household should have adequate access to nutritious food, and individuals and families should be able to financially support and sustain themselves. We partner with organizations across the region to work toward this reality.

When we are civically engaged, united under one mission and speaking with one voice, we can make a lasting impact. To build a strong, equitable community, we must support policies that improve lives and empower families to succeed. We rally our partners and supporters to advance the United Way mission by advocating for meaningful change at the local, state and national levels.


According to the Michigan Association of United Way’s ALICE Report, nearly 40 percent of households in Michigan are not earning enough to afford the cost of their most basic necessities – food, healthcare, housing, childcare, transportation and technology. When it comes to ALICE, the increase in ALICE households in Michigan is driven significantly by seniors aged 65 years and older. As our population grows older the demand for health services, including caregiving, will only increase while also placing additional financial burden of caregiving on family members who may also be struggling financially. This doesn’t account for the COVID-19 crisis and the economic and health toll it has taken and will continue to take on households throughout our region.

This data demonstrates that we have a systemic problem whereby working families are not being set up to succeed. To address this, United Way for Southeastern Michigan seeks to support advocacy efforts that address policy changes that will help close the financial gap, reduce the economic impact of COVID-19, and improve economic opportunity for ALICE families. Please consider the ALICE report in your proposal and to the extent possible, draw connections to your proposed project and closing financial gaps for those living below the ALICE threshold.

Organizations are invited to apply for funding within the range of $20,000 to $45,000.


The grant period supports activities from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2024.


Eligible organizations include only nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations advocating on issues that affect Southeastern Michigan, and organizations located within Southeastern Michigan will receive preference.


Funding criteria includes (but is not limited to):

  1. Organizations that demonstrate a solid plan of action to engage elected officials at the local, state and/or federal levels, and engage the general public in advocacy actions that support households living below the ALICE threshold, eliminate systemic barriers and promote equity.
    1. Organizations must demonstrate existing advocacy efforts.
    2. Advocacy actions may include grassroots, grasstops, and/or direct advocacy. Organizations with plans that include grassroots efforts are preferred.
    3. Organizations should include methods and tools used for engagement.
  2. Organizations should demonstrate an understanding of their community’s needs and resources and the ability to address those needs through advocacy.
  3. Organizations should demonstrate a consideration of equity in their advocacy efforts.

Coffee hours

For more information or if you have any questions, please join the policy team for one of our two coffee hours:

3:00 p.m. on Nov. 2: Join on Zoom

11:00 a.m. on Nov. 9: Join on Zoom


Oct. 30: Application released
Nov. 17: Application due
Dec. 18: Funding decisions made


For general inquiries about the grant, please contact Cassie Thierfelder.

If you have questions about Survey Monkey Apply, please contact SMA@unitedwaysem.org.


Click here to apply.

(If your organization doesn’t already have a Survey Monkey account, click here to create one.)

Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov.17.