United Way of King County

OVERVIEW: This Seattle-based funder provides grants in the areas of homelessness, youth, early learning, and financial stability in King County, Washington. UWKC solicits grant applications and posts current opportunities. 

FUNDING AREAS: Homelessness, youth, early learning, and financial stability

IP TAKE: Not all United Way organizations are the same. The one in King County is a huge grantmaker and an ally for local health and human services nonprofits.

PROFILE: We often think of United Way organizations as grantees, not grantmakers. However, Philanthropy Northwest, the regional grantmakers’ association, identified the United Way of King County (UWKC) as one of the top grantmakers in the Northwest.

This organization has four focus areas: homelessness, youth, equitable education, and financial stability. It has worked with over 100 service providers to address community challenges and deliver vital services throughout King County. Occasionally, the United Way of King County also solicits competitive applications for funding.

For example, the organization opened an application process for approximately $8 million at the start of a recent year. Due to applicant increases, these grants have been getting more and more competitive.

Aiming to reduce homelessness by 50 percent by 2020, UWKC allotted up to $3 million in a recent grant cycle. It prioritizes programs that get people off the streets quickly and serve all population groups. These grants go to emergency shelters, housing services for domestic violence survivors, outreach and engagement centers, non-time limited permanent housing, rapid rehousing, and streets to home for families.

Up to $3.5 million per year has been allotted towards financial stability, in a program that aims to lift 50,000 people out of poverty by 2020. These grants go to emergency food systems and programs that eliminate barriers to increasing income. Up to $2.5 annually has been set aside for early learning in past years to reach its goal of 80 percent of King County children entering school ready to succeed. Decreasing racial disparities in kindergarten readiness is a big priority here. A funder program called New Solutions has received about $388,415 of the annual budget in the past to spark new solutions for underserved communities.

Only health and human service agencies that serve King County, Washington, are eligible for these grants. The application process is online via eCImpact. UWKC benefits from the Gates Endowment. Current financial data can be viewed here.

The organization also provides volunteer management workshops, typically for a fee, that welcome staffers of all nonprofits. Board and leadership workshops have been offered in the past, but no longer. However, UWKC has a volunteer page to request volunteers and get help with volunteer management.

General questions can be directed to CommunityServices@uwkc.org or 206-3700. Keep up with UWKC on its Press Room and The Latest pages.

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