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Racial Equity Fund Recipients

United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Racial Equity Fund has distributed $1 million in grants to local organizations. A total of 23 Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)-led organizations have received grants between $10,000 and $75,000 to focus on black nonprofit leadership development; youth leadership and voting rights; domestic and sexual violence; maternal/prenatal care; human capital development; mass incarceration; youth development including art; food insecurity; trauma; college access and persistence; and refugee support. 

The most recent round of awardees include: 

Organizations that received grants through the first round of our Racial Equity Fund earlier this year include:


APIA Vote: MI looks to introduce programming to address a series of racial inequities observed within and surrounding the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community of Southeastern Michigan. They seek to address these inequities through a multifaceted youth leadership development program emphasizing learning about diversity, equity, and inclusion; workshop facilitation and education for community leaders and local businesses; and community engagement through a series of community dialogues and discussion tables. 


Black Executive Director Alliance of Detroit seeks to increase pathways of leadership development for Black Executive Directors in the Detroit nonprofit community. They seek to add a second and third cohort of Black Executive leaders working to ensure there is racial equity in the nonprofit sector. Their work seeks to further the interests of the Black nonprofit community by uplifting Detroit-based African American led nonprofit organizations whose aim is to achieve long-term holistic impact on minority youth in Southeastern Michigan. 


Birth Detroit works to uplift and reclaim Black-led midwifery care, ensuring communities are healthier, stronger, and freer. By 2030 they envision: there has been a cultural shift in understanding Black midwifery as integral to our survival and celebrating Black birthing bodies and babies — and therefore celebrating all birthing bodies and babies. 


Refugee women often have or wish to gain skills but need additional support to become self-reliant and advance economically. Chaldean American Ladies of Charity seeks to help refugee women overcome the multiple barriers to economic advancement and self-sufficiency. 


Their ‘House-of-Hip-Hop,’ changes the status-quo and allows youngsters from all walks of life to connect, heal, and grow under one entity – hip-hop. Class Act Detroit‘s effort empowers adolescents to be their most authentic selves in a space encouraging them, is well-resourced, and is designed for their wellness. 


Detroit Heals Detroit looks to work through collective liberation for all residents in Detroit – making sure the communities’ needs are heard. They want to help bring this about by taking a holistic approach to combating trauma and taking direct action to address social inequities and conditions impacting Black youth mental health. 


Through their proposed program, Developing Kingdoms in Different Stages intends to address the racial inequities in our community: food insecurity, on-time high school graduation, poverty level, chronic absenteeism, and college/trade school entrance. Their activities will have a goal of combatting the number of children removed from their homes. 


E-Community Outreach Services identifies and connects Pontiac’s parents with community resources, including tangible items and services that provide human essentials and opportunities that help sustain the integrity of the city’s most vulnerable families. 


Family Assistance for Renaissance Men looks to reunite men with their children by reducing legal barriers such as revoked driver’s licenses, traffic tickets, and child support bench warrants. These barriers also prevent them from earning a stable income and resuming payment on their child support arrearages. In collaboration with over two dozen judges from county and circuit courts in Southeast Michigan, incarceration will be prevented, and fathers will be instead enrolled into the FARM program. 


Heritage Works looks to address the unfair distribution of material and nonmaterial access and opportunities to human capital development. They propose short- and long-term youth outcomes and experiences to develop a trained, equity-minded leader- and workforce to impact the outcomes of BIPOC-led organizations in our region. 


In the US with a population of more than 18%, Hispanics are the largest minority yet remain disproportionately underserved. The Michigan Hispanic Collaborative‘s model is one of college access and persistence, and ultimately economic empowerment. This is a distinctive niche in program service delivery for the Hispanic community and a focus area that has been overlooked for decades. 


Pontiac Community Foundationv‘s program looks to improve equity gaps in Pontiac. The Pontiac Community Foundation is dedicated to addressing the critical systemic issues within the Pontiac community through all its focus areas and programs. Through a collaborative approach, they convene, organize, and mobilize community leaders and citizens toward innovative and strategic solutions for our community, in addition to funding initiatives and providing fiduciary services to help build capacity and steward resources for a better Pontiac. 


Turning Point looks to address racial inequity in domestic and sexual violence – taking on racial injustice in staffing, service provision, and systemic responses. 


What is the Racial Equity Fund?

The Racial Equity Fund endeavors to provide financial support in the form of flexible, unrestricted and general operating grants with the intention of prioritizing funding solutions by leaders who are in close proximity to the opportunity/need the organization is trying to address. 
The Racial Equity Fund sees value in funding a variety of organizations—from smaller, community-based, grassroots organizations; to medium-sized organizations focused on institutional change; to larger organizations with resources to focus on systemic and structural change, and particularly those excluded from the traditional funding ecosystem. Funding can be used as seed funding to support organization growth and scale to design new, creative ideas and/or to promote or expand existing racial justice and equity work. 

How is United Way for Southeastern Michigan funding this program?

United Way for Southeastern Michigan is able to fund this program thanks to the generosity of the Mackenzie Scott Fund. An initial funding seed of $500,000 has been allocated.

How was the fund and RFP process designed?

The RFP process, language and rubric are being designed by the Racial Equity Fund Workgroup — a group of local community leaders representing diverse communities across Southeastern Michigan. The workgroup is responsible for incorporating lived experiences at all levels of the grantmaking process. The process is anchored in support by the Centering Community Voices Blueprint. The framework describes the need for centering community voices and highlights opportunities throughout the grant cycle for incorporating lived experiences of the communities served.

Why convene a workgroup to build out the grantmaking process?

Doing so is an important and effective way to support system changes and shift power dynamics. This will ultimately move individuals in underserved communities closer to having their basic needs met long-term and to reducing existing inequities.

What is the workgroup tasked with?

The workgroup is responsible for:
• Co-creating the Racial Equity Fund grant process.
• Setting funding priorities for the Racial Equity Fund centered on the lived experiences of community members.
• Determining RFP evaluation metrics and reporting guidelines.
• Developing a process to ensure a diverse applicant pool, including outreach to under-resourced and/or unfamiliar organizations.
• Drafting the RFP language.

How was the workgroup formed?

Members of the workgroup were chosen through outreach from United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team. They looked to local organizations and community leaders that have close ties with their communities and who prioritize the voice and lived experiences of those they serve.

What organizations are eligible to apply?

Nonprofit organizations with an executive leader that identifies as Black, Indigenous and/or a person of color. Organizations should serve residents in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties in Michigan.

What is the range of potential funding support?

$10,000 – $75,000

What type of program measurement and/or evaluation is required for this grant?

Organizations will need to report twice during the funding term; once at the mid-point and again at the end. Organizations will have the opportunity to design their own program success measurements.

How will the proposals be evaluated?

A review committee will be selected to review and score all proposals and evaluate each organization according to the requirements and terms and conditions identified throughout the RFP.

When will the awardees receive notifications of awards?

The award letters are tentatively scheduled to be sent on Jan. 14. United Way for Southeastern Michigan reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to make modifications to the selection timeline as needed and in the best interest of the process.