United Way’s new Impact Fund grants signal a shift in priority

 

United Way’s new Impact Fund grants signal a shift in priority

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey announced last week its Impact Fund would make $14.1 million in grants to nonprofits fighting intergenerational poverty.

The Impact Fund is designed to meet three goals by 2030:

  • 90 percent children reading on grade level by the end of third grade
  • 500,000 youth ages 15 to 25 reconnected to school or work
  • 300,000 individuals and families living above 200 percent of the federal poverty line

The funded organizations work in early learning, workforce development, economic self-sufficiency and community stability, including grade-level reading, school readiness and advocacy.

Of the $14.1 million, $12.1 million will be designated for general operating support and signature program funding; $1 million will scale evidence-based poverty interventions; and $1 million will support “Local Supplemental grants to ensure continuity of service in local communities and Rapid Response grants for disaster preparedness and response,” per a press release.

According to Philly.com, this United Way chapter’s previous grant cycle funded 233 organizations; this year, it’s funding only 122. The drop is due to the org’s new, narrowed focus on poverty, compared to a more general focus. Notably, nonprofits serving seniors were left out.

Philly.com also notes that United Way missed its $28.1 million fundraising goal, bringing in $24.7 million instead. Broad Street Ministry founder Bill Golderer, who took on the org’s president and CEO role in March, told the news outlet that Philadelphians should expect big changes from the funder over the next two years.

In order to keep and attract donors, he said, the organization needs to “say what we offer is knowledge about what interventions that we can measure would actually yield a reduction in the poverty rate. We’re not there yet.”

Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate of the United State’s big cities, at 25.7 percent.

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