United Way for Southeastern Michigan is opening a highly competitive RFP process to fund eligible 501(c)3 nonprofits based in Washtenaw County with established programing in the areas of emergency food, homeless services, and/or benefit navigation support, inclusive of Medicaid enrollment services. Organizations are invited to apply for funding ranging from $15,000 to $40,000 for a 6-month grant period. The 2024 Washtenaw County Responsive Basic Needs investment process is an open call for applications from both potential and existing funded partners of United Way who meet the eligibility criteria and funding priorities laid out in the application.
Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan is committed to advancing equitable communities where all households are stable and all children can thrive in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw 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.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Basic Needs investment strategy involves a three-pronged approach designed to maintain strong funding, support the availability of basic needs services in Southeast Michigan, and be responsive to evolving community needs. We work side-by-side with partners to improve and expand programming and provide resources and expertise to help families get out of crisis — and stay out.
Being able to mobilize resources quickly to respond to changing community conditions and urgent needs is a core part of this strategy. We use data to identify trends and actively listen to our partners to provide critical resources when and where they are needed most. Responsive giving allows us to be nimble and provide support as needs arise in the community throughout the year.
Since 2014, the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report has provided United Way’s across the country with a framework to better understand the magnitude of financial hardship in our communities and how many households are struggling to afford their basic needs. The report looks at the discrepancy between the true cost of living across eight household budget categories and what individuals and families are actually earning. It provides evidence of the scale at which households are just one missed paycheck or unexpected doctors bill away from financial crisis.
The most recent ALICE Report reveals that beyond the 13 percent of households below the federal poverty level, an additional 27 percent of households in Washtenaw County are ALICE. Altogether, this represents 40 percent of households in Washtenaw who are unable to afford their most basic needs. In many locations and across a variety of demographic categories, the percentage is much higher. In Michigan between 2019 and 2021, Washtenaw County experienced the largest percentage increase in ALICE households, at 35 percent.
To complicate matters, we know that the cost of living has greatly outpaced income as expenses continue to rise and pandemic-era relief programs, like eviction moratoriums, SNAP emergency allotments, and Medicaid continuous enrollment have ended.
For all ALICE households we know that food, housing, and health care are drivers of stability. The objective of the 2024 Washtenaw County Responsive Basic Needs grant is to provide timely flexible funding to support organizations working to meet increased need in the following areas:
Emergency Food (including food banks, food pantries, and community/soup kitchens)
One in ten residents in Washtenaw County face food insecurity and nearly four in ten of them are ineligible for nutrition programs like SNAP. For many families, food banks, food pantries and community organizations serve a critical role in helping them access affordable, nutritious food for themselves and their families.
Homeless Services (emergency shelter, transitional housing, and homeless diversion and prevention services)
More than half of Washtenaw County residents spend more than 30% of their income on housing. This is an indicator of cost- burden for families limiting their ability to afford other essential items. Washtenaw County is seeing record-level increases in the number of people experiencing homelessness, especially among families. While limited affordable housing and higher acuity clients have resulted in a rise in the number of days it takes to move someone from shelter to housing.
Benefit Navigation, inclusive of Medicaid enrollment
During the pandemic, the “continuous coverage” requirement safeguarded insurance coverage for millions of people with Medicaid. As of April 1, 2023, states began ending coverage for people found ineligible or whose redetermination could not be completed for procedural reasons. Through this “unwinding” process, individuals and families are losing coverage, even among people still eligible. In Washtenaw County, an estimated 11.7 percent of residents are insured through Medicaid.
Funding from this grant opportunity will be used to bolster organizations providing these services in Washtenaw County to address the increase in need. Investment decisions will be made based on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to the scoring rubric, geographic scope, gaps in services and client population. All of which are designed to identify organizations that have the capability to create the most impact both individually and collectively for Washtenaw County.
1. Open to current United Way (UWWC) funded partners and prospective organizations.
2. Organizations that are based in Washtenaw County and serve Washtenaw County residents.
3. Organizations that are 501(c)3 nonprofits.
An organization must be in good standing with the State of Michigan and the Internal Revenue Service and will be required to upload a copy of their IRS designation letter, 990 form, W-9, and financial statements. Organizations may apply via a fiduciary if applicable.
4. Organizations with established programs/services in one or more of the following areas: emergency food,
homeless services and/or benefit navigation services including Medicaid enrollment support.
Established programming for this opportunity means that the program(s) and/or service(s) for which an organization is seeking funding must have been in operation for at least three years. The organization may have been operating for three years, but the program/services must also be in operation for at least three years.
5. Organizations that serve people living in municipalities with higher-than-average concentrations of ALICE.
There are five municipalities within Washtenaw County where the percentage of households that fall below the ALICE threshold is 40% or greater. We are interested in funding organizations whose services are targeting these communities. These municipalities are also listed within the application and include:
|Percent of households below the ALICE threshold
|Ypsilanti Charter Township
|Superior Charter Township
6. Organizations that provide programs/services on multiple days and/or at times convenient to working families.
7. Organizations that provide programs/services that help people meet their food, shelter and health care navigation needs in ways that promote access, dignity, and choice and are responsive to the specific needs of their local communities and environments.
8. Organizations that are in a stable financial position and have the capability to spend funding within the 6-month
grant period of January 1, 2024-June 30, 2024.
An organization’s prior fiscal year revenue and/or operating budget will be considered in the award determination. The requested amount should not exceed 15% of the prior year’s revenue or current operating budget. Since funding determinations will not be announced until early March, organizations will be able to retroactively charge eligible expenditures back to the start of the grant period.
Wednesday, Jan. 3: Application opens
10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9: Grant webinar (click here to register)
Thursday, Jan. 18: Application closes
Week of March 4: Funding determination notifications
Jan. 1-June 30, 2024: Effective grant dates
Friday, July 19: Final report
All applications must be submitted through United Way’s online, grants management platform SurveyMonkey Apply.
For questions on the grant, please contact Basic Needs Director Emily Mueller at SafetyNet@UnitedWaySEM.org.
For questions on accessing or navigating SurveyMonkey Apply, please contact SMA@UnitedWaySEM.org.
Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18
United Way for Southeastern Michigan accepts grant applications through our grants management system, SurveyMonkey Apply. Organizations must register as a user of the system prior to applying for these grant opportunities.
For more information about navigating Survey Monkey Apply, use the resources and links listed below to assist you as you explore current and future grant opportunities.
If you are new to Survey Monkey Apply and wish to apply for grants with United Way, please follow the steps below using the links and resources provided.
If you require additional assistance with SurveyMonkey Apply, please email: sma@UnitedWaySEM.org.