We're working to improve education outcomes, access to healthcare, and economic opportunities for all men, women, and children. We build capacity, facilitate partnerships, and invest back into the organizations that are working on the ground to address Itasca Area'smost pressing needs to create a vibrant community for all.

Itasca Area Community Response Fund

Funding Period: Closes July 15th, 2020

The mission of the Itasca Area Community Response Fund is to support nonprofit and other community organizations engaging in immediate basic needs relief, short-term response, and longer-term recovery during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations and community groups who provide direct assistance to individuals and families with financial need or demonstrable hardship resulting from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.

Organizations interested in applying can submit an application online through the Community Foundation’s Grant Portal.  Applications for the first round of funding should be submitted by July 15, 2020.

COVID-19 Response Information:  Overview  |  News Release  Grant Portal

Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSP)

Funding Period: Phase 37 (FY19) & Phase CARES (FY20) (CLOSED)
Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Qualifying emergency food and shelter services run by local service agencies are urged to apply for a portion of $66,355 in federal funds that Itasca County has been awarded by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA). $27,355 have been allocated to Phase 37, while $39,000 of supplemental funds came through due to the CARES Act.

Funding is based upon 12-month (December 2018-November 2019) unemployment rates, the total number of unemployed, number of individuals below the poverty level, and the total population of Itasca County. Awards are appropriated annually to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food, and supportive services for individuals and families who are experiencing hunger, homelessness, and an economic crisis.

A local board, facilitated by United Way of 1000 Lakes, with representatives from county government, The Salvation Army, and American Red Cross, as well as advocates for the homeless, faith-based organizations, and community partners govern how the funds will be distributed.

Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must:

• Be private, voluntary non-profits or units of government,
• Be eligible to receive Federal funds,
• Have an accounting system,
• Practice non-discrimination,
• Have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs,
• Have a voluntary board (if they are a private voluntary organization)

Applications can be submitted online and must be received by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. United Way recommends that applicants attend the meeting of the Local Emergency Food and Shelter Board, which will take place over Zoom on Thursday, May 21 at 1 p.m.

Community Impact Grants

Funding Period: July 2019-June 2021 (CLOSED)

Interim Report (due June 9th, 2020): Agencies receiving funding through Community Impact Grants must complete an interim report before the second fiscal year. Learn more

Community Impact Funding is open to registered 501(c)(3) organizations that align with United Way’s mission, service area, and impact priorities.

United Way funded programs are chosen through a competitive application process. Approval is based on the merits of the program, community needs, and available funds. Funding is made possible by the financial contributions of hundreds of community investors through United Way’s annual campaign (September – March).

Community Investment applications are reviewed by an investment panel that consists of dedicated volunteers and members from United Way’s board of directors. Between the months of February and May, these community members attend a training; visit program sites and talk with agency staff, leadership, and program participants; review budgets and evaluate program impact, and bring funding recommendations to the United Way board of directors.

The grant allocations began in July 2019. Results for funded programs will be measured, tracked, and reported annually through June 2021.

Interested organizations must complete an electronic application. New programs seeking funding should schedule a pre-application session and send a letter of intent to United Way, indicating which focus area they are addressing, outlining the community program or service they hope to provide, and the funding amount they intend to request.

For information about United Way’s grant process or to schedule an in-person Grant Session with staff, contact (218) 999-7570 or email info@uwlakes.org.

We are currently not accepting applications for Community Investment Grants. However, interested organizations can look at past years’ application materials in order to get an idea of the application process and requirements:

Community Investment Grants: ApplicationApplication Guide Site Visit Guidelines

United Way Interim Report

Deadline: June 9th, 2020

April marked the final quarter of this fiscal year’s allocations, which distributed $175,300 through our grants program alone. As the new funding year approaches, we’re seeking to gain insight on our collective impact as well as inform our work moving forward. To learn about how COVID-19 is affecting our partner organizations and the individuals they serve, we’ve added a section addressing this topic.

This year’s reporting has been moved online, which will enable results to be aggregated together. Agencies should fill out the Interim Report form once for each United Way-funded program. Organizations reporting on more than one program will be able to skip non-program-specific sections on their subsequent uses. Note that once an agency representative has started the survey, they will not be able to save it and finish it later; the report must be completed in one session. Below, we’ve made available outlines of the report in PDF and Word Document form so that agencies can prepare for in advance.

Submit Your Interim Report: Online Form

Metrics & Evaluation: The Metrics & Evaluation section of the report, dealing primarily with program statistics and demographic information, can be filled out online as part of the report or via PDF and uploaded to the online report form. Metrics & Evaluation Form

Outlines: Note that these documents are not meant to be filled out and submitted, only to help you to prepare for the report in advance if you wish to do so: PDF | Word Document

Note: You will need to sign in to a Google account to fill the form out. Many agencies will already have a Google account, but those that don’t can create a free account with an existing email address. Create account

For more assistance, read our list of Interim Report Tips & Tricks.

We hope those that are in a position to share their work from the funding year can do so by Tuesday, June 9th. We understand that COVID-19 has changed circumstances for everyone across our region; if this request presents added stress to your organization, please contact call 218-259-9535 or email kimberly@uwlakes.org.

Resource Library

United Way operates a lending library of tools and resources for area nonprofits and community organizations to use at no cost. Items available for checkout include games for events, market booth materials, and use of our conference room. View the resource list of available items and use the button below to borrow from the library.


United Way Volunteer Recognition Program

Nomination Period: Opens January 2021

Each year, United Way recognizes outstanding community members who dedicate their personal time to improving the community in which they live. Agencies are invited to nominate an outstanding volunteer to be considered for the Outstanding Volunteer Awards, presented in March. Winners were recognized at the United Way Campaign Celebration and Best of Awards.

In the News: United Way of 1000 Lakes Celebrates Volunteers

2019 Award Winners

ElderCircle ─ Sherry Burcar-Flint
Grace House – Nancy Baker
Project Care – Dr. Phillip Imholte, MD
Project Care – Karen Karls

2018 Award Winners

KOOTASCA Community Action – Dee Bretti
Project Care – Suzanne Koprowski

2017 Award Winners

ElderCircle – Anne Anderson
Grace House – Kay Klingman
Habitat for Humanity – Jerry Tinquist
KOOTASCA Crisis Nursery – Vicki Andrews

2016 Award Winners

Bridges Kinship Mentoring – Bigfork Lunch Buddies (Al Gustaveson, Connie Remmers, Krini Alampi, LeeAnn Baker, Mary Ann Starnes, Sandy Lyytinen, and Sue Williams)
ElderCircle – Roberta Truempler
Grace House – Gary Heinzer
Minnesota Youth Council, Greenway High School – Baylie Norris & Hannah Erickson
Support Within Reach – Evelyn Fielding

2015 Award Winners

Advocates for Family Peace – Kole Kalisch, Sam LaDoux and Trent Klatt
Bridges Kinship Mentoring – Grace Derfler
ElderCircle – Gary Wildgrube
Grace House – Carol Kenshcaft
Itasca Youth for Christ – Dan Fiala

COVID-19 Information and Resources

United Way is actively engaged in conversations across our region to learn how we can be best support COVID-19 efforts and serve the ever-changing needs of our community.

Learn More