Apply for funding!

UPDATE: Heart of West Michigan United Way’s next funding cycle runs from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2023. Check back in August 2019 for information about Request for Proposal timeline and criteria. 

Successful proposals will be granted funding to meet critical needs of individuals and families in Kent County in the areas of family stability, youth education, and financial security.

What is a Community Impact Grant?

Community Investment Grants come from annual donations to our Community Investment Fund. Each grant addresses specific community-centered needs and provides one year of critical funding to a program or service of a high-performing, local, nonprofit organization.

All efforts will be made to respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner.  However, United Way staff are expecting to receive a high volume of proposals and proposal related questions and therefore cannot guarantee responses to requests received after November 8, 2016.  Please plan accordingly.  

For questions, please contact Bob McKown at (616) 752-8639 or at

Community-needs open for 2017-2018 grant proposals:

Family Stability

Heart of West Michigan will invest in emergency shelter services, permanent supportive housing supports (case management and mental health services), housing counseling, and affordable housing services for Kent County residents. 

UPDATE: Housing - United Way will fund upfront costs that lead directly to homeownership and/or asset building. United Way will not directly fund renovation or new construction.  However, United Way funds can be used to leverage resources for renovation and construction.

Financial Security

Heart of West Michigan United Way will invest in grants for job training, placement programs, basic job skills training, internships, and apprenticeships that are critical on-ramps to certifications, credentials, and jobs. Preference will be given to programs that have high job placement/retention rates in sustainable-wage jobs and/or provide transportation related to employment for Kent County residents.

Youth Education

Heart of West Michigan United Way will invest in the areas of 7th grade science, 8th grade mathematics, and middle school STEM programming. United Way will support programs, services, and initiatives that supplement or enhance a student’s understanding and success in those areas.  

2017-2018 RFP Timeline

  • Community Information Session: Friday, September 9, 2016 from 3:00-4:00pm

  • Community Information Session: Tuesday, September 23, 2016 from 10:30- 11:30am

  • RFP released: Sept. 15, 2016

  • RFP due: Nov. 15, 2016, 5PM

  • Volunteer review: Nov. 28-Dec. 22, 2016

  • Recommendations to Board: January 2017 Board Meeting, TBD

  • Announcement of funding: January 2017