Greater Twin Cities United Way Vertical Logo Blue

Greater Twin Cities United Way Announces $12.1 Million in Grants for Local Nonprofits

The United Way logo is is over a gradient background

United Way Staff


Funding to Disrupt Racial Inequity, Fuel Lasting Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MINNEAPOLIS (April 13, 2022)Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) announces it is awarding $12.1 million to 90 nonprofits aligned with its vision of a community where all people thrive, regardless of income level, race or place of residence. Funding will support people experiencing poverty and communities disproportionally impacted by poverty, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander and People of Color.

United Way’s funding includes:

  • Multi-year grants for nonprofits focused on equitable access to housing, food, education and the workforce.
  • Grants for partnerships between schools and businesses providing purpose-driven work experiences and increased pay for youth through United Way’s Career Academies innovation initiative.
  • Grants to support training in trauma-sensitive care for early childhood education providers through United Way’s 80x3: Resilient from the Start innovation initiative.

“In the Greater Twin Cities region, we have grown more widely aware over the last two years that race and ethnicity sit at the intersection of disparities in income, housing, education and overall wellbeing,” said Acooa Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “Our grantmaking strategies are based on evidence that shows investing more heavily in organizations with strong racial equity practices and responsive, community driven programming, leads to deeper impact on life outcomes.” Ellis further explains United Way’s grantmaking strategy in this video.

Dorothy Bridges, Board Chair of Greater Twin Cities United Way in 2020 and 2021 and current member of the Board of Directors said, “United Way is leading the way in advancing racial equity with intentionality and accountability. Over the last few years in particular – amidst the backdrop of COVID and the racial reckoning – United Way has thoughtfully responded to emergency and long-term needs of our community with racial equity at the forefront.”

“Addressing disparities in access to household stability, educational success and economic opportunity ultimately will drive more economic success for our state,” said Tiffani Daniels, Managing Director, Minnesota Business Coalition for Racial Equity. “I’m thrilled by the leadership demonstrated in Greater Twin Cities United Way’s approach to community investment toward greater racial equity in our region, and excited for our continued partnership in the work to eliminate systemic inequities.”

“Our latest investments reflect the evolution of our fundraising and grantmaking models based on changing donor behavior, the changing needs of the nonprofit sector and our commitment to equity,” said John Wilgers, President and CEO, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “They also reflect the giving strategies of donors who want to directly address specific community needs through our innovation work like Career Academies and 80x3,” added Wilgers.

United Way’s 2022-2025 Community Investments

Through its 2022-2025 Community Investments Request for Proposals (RFP), United Way will award grants to local nonprofits that are committed to racial equity, with a focus on housing stability, food security, early childhood education, career and future readiness, and economic opportunity. Funding starts July 1, 2022.

A larger percentage of the funding will support housing. Stable housing is critical in the nine-county region as disparities along racial lines continue to deepen. Additionally, housing support continues to be the most common reason people connect with United Way’s 211 resource helpline. New to funding in economic opportunity is a specific strategy to support entrepreneurship.

United Way and community members with lived and professional experience co-created the RFP and reviewed the proposals. Applicants were evaluated based on the following criteria and weighting: programming and impact in community (50 percent), responsiveness to community needs (30 percent), leadership representation (15 percent) and a financial assessment (5 percent).

United Way’s 80x3 Investment

Research shows 80 percent of brain development happens by age three. Healthy growth is highly dependent on enriching and nurturing experiences. Incidents of adverse childhood experiences can result in trauma and impair brain development along with executive functioning into adulthood.

In May 2022, United Way will award grants to its first cohort of early childhood education providers dedicated to increasing their capacity to offer trauma-sensitive care for children up to three years old and their families. Through the United Way 80x3: Resilient from the Start initiative, funding will support an intensive year of training, coaching, peer learning and organizational change focused on addressing early childhood trauma through healing-centered and resiliency-focused approaches.

United Way’s Career Academies Investment

In May 2022, United Way will fund eight to ten partnerships between schools and businesses that honor student accomplishments and experience through increased pay and opportunity. These grants, part of United Way’s Career Academies Purpose Driven Paychecks program, will fill the gaps that exist in the educational system so more students can access wealth-building, purpose-driven careers.

United Way’s Career Academies partners with school districts across Minnesota to build equity-centered career pathways for grades 9-14, ensuring students have access to meaningful work experiences, college credits with zero debt and wealth-building careers.

In addition to grantmaking and innovation initiatives such as 80x3 and Career Academies, Greater Twin Cities United Way addresses community needs through its 211 resource helpline and Suicide Prevention Lifeline, advocacy efforts with legislators, as well as nonprofit and business partnerships

Organizations Receiving Funding from Greater Twin Cities United Way

  • 30,000 Feet
  • African Development Center of Minnesota
  • African Economic Development Solutions
  • Ain Dah Yung Center
  • Al-Maa'uun
  • American Indian Development Corporation
  • American Indian Family Center
  • American Indian OIC, Inc.
  • Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
  • Appetite for Change
  • Asian Economic Development Association
  • Avenues for Youth
  • Avivo
  • Baby's Space: A Place to Grow
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Twin Cities
  • Breakthrough Twin Cities
  • Catholic Charities - Northside Child Development Center
  • Centro Tyrone Guzman
  • Children's Defense Fund - Minnesota
  • Clare Housing
  • Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, Inc.
  • Connections to Independence
  • Division of Indian Work
  • Dream of Wild Health
  • Emma Norton Services
  • Esperanza United
  • FamilyWise
  • Frogtown Farm
  • Frogtown Neighborhood Association
  • Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc.
  • Hmong American Farmers Association
  • Hope Community, Inc.
  • International Institute of Minnesota
  • Irreducible Grace Foundation
  • Isuroon
  • Jeremiah Program - Minneapolis
  • Joyce Preschool
  • Juxtaposition Arts
  • Ka Joog
  • Karen Organization of Minnesota
  • Keystone Community Services
  • Latino Economic Development Center
  • Launch Ministry
  • Liberty Community Church
  • Merrick Community Services
  • Merrick Community Services-East Side Employment XChange
  • Mid Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Minneapolis American Indian Center
  • Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center
  • Model Cities of St. Paul, Inc.
  • Muslim American Society of Minnesota
  • Neighborhood House
  • Network for the Development of Children of African Descent
  • New Vision Foundation
  • NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc.
  • Northside Achievement Zone
  • Northside Economic Opportunity Network
  • Partnership in Property Commercial Land Trust Initiative
  • People Serving People
  • Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, Inc.
  • Pillsbury United Communities
  • Prepare + Prosper
  • Project for Pride in Living, Inc.
  • Sabathani Community Center, Inc.
  • Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood
  • Scott-Carver-Dakota CAP Agency, Inc.
  • Simpson Housing Services, Inc.
  • Solid Ground
  • Somali Success School
  • Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc.
  • Southside Family Nurturing Center
  • St. Paul Youth Services, Inc.
  • The Bridge for Youth
  • The Center for Victims of Torture
  • The Family Partnership
  • The Link
  • Tubman
  • Ujamaa Place
  • United Cambodian Association of Minnesota, Inc.
  • Urban Roots MN
  • Urban Strategies
  • Way To Grow
  • Wayside House
  • Wellshare International
  • YouthLink
  • Youthprise
  • YWCA of Minneapolis
  • YWCA of St. Paul


About Greater Twin Cities United Way: Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a region where all people thrive, regardless of income, race or place. The organization fuels lasting community change through its 211 resource helpline, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, innovation initiatives, nonprofit partnerships, advocacy work with legislators, and business and individual donor partnerships. For more information, visit and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

About the Author

Greater Twin Cities United Way unites changemakers, advocates for social good and develops solutions to address the challenges no one can solve alone to create a community where all people thrive. Together with our partners, we’re meeting immediate community needs while transforming inequitable systems in the areas of housing, food, education and jobs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Sign up for news, updates and opportunities to fuel change in our community.

* indicates required

You are signing up for updates about how your gift is fueling change in the community.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices.

magnifier linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram