For generations, leaders within communities of color have confronted the manifestations of racial and ethnic inequality in neighborhoods, communities, and institutions. Work by these leaders to confront such inequality is often accomplished through small nonprofit charitable organizations whose innovation has an outsized impact in addressing economic, human service and educational challenges.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and United Way of Greater Kansas City seek to invest in the work of these organizations through the Nonprofit Catalyst Fund, providing strategic grants tailored to the unique needs of organizations and priorities established by their leaders. These investments are focused on organizations serving BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities as well as organizations led by BIPOC leaders in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
This initiative is informed by local research conducted in recent years into the capacity-building needs of area nonprofit organizations. The grants are intended to strengthen applicant organizations’ capacity within specific organizational domains: governance, financial management, technology, communications, program design and evaluation, fundraising and human capital.
The focus of these investments will also be driven by what is learned as we engage with prospective applicants, ultimately addressing the unique needs of each grantee, and build a knowledge base that will inform future investments. Because grants may be used to engage contracted specialists, we hope to establish a resource list co-created by grantees and United Way, available for use by future grantees.
Potentially qualifying organizations are invited to submit an interest form below. A United Way team member will follow up within 48 hours with details on upcoming informational meetings and details on the application process.
The Nonprofit Catalyst Fund is available to small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in the six-county Kansas City metro area that are BIPOC-led, or focused on the needs of BIPOC communities, and which have an established track record of service to the community of at least one year. Applicant organizations must have a mission aligned with one or more of the following focus areas: education, youth development, human services, community development, and those that have economic mobility, entrepreneurship support, and/or workforce skill building as a primary goal. Because this initiative is intended to support smaller nonprofits, but also organizations with an established track record of developing financial resources to support their mission, eligible organizations are those with budgets between $25,000 and $500,000 in at least one fiscal year between 2019 and 2022.
Click Here to Submit an Interest Form
Nonprofit Catalyst Grant – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the grant—how can it be used? The grants are intended to support capacity-building strategies that support the long-term success of the organization, across several organizational domains: governance, financial accountability, technology, communications, program development and evaluation, fundraising, leadership development, and strategic planning. Funds can be used to cover staffing expenses, consultant contracts, professional services, small capital expenditures, and organizational operating expenses aligned with the capacity-building goals of the funding proposal.
How can an organization seek a grant from the fund? The first step for seeking support from the Nonprofit Catalyst is the submission of an interest form. Interested organizations will be contacted by a United Way staff member who will schedule a meeting to explore the organization’s eligibility for the fund and learn more about the applicant organization’s goals for the grant. This is followed by the submission of an online funding application. Funding decisions will be made within 3 weeks of a monthly application submission deadline.
What is the amount of funding that grantees will receive? Successful applicants will receive a nonrecurring grant ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, and generally not to exceed 20% of an organization’s operating budget, and based upon the specific need outlined in the applicant’s funding application.
What type of organizations are the focus of the fund? The intended beneficiaries of this fund are smaller 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that primarily serve communities of color and/or smaller 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations that are led by BIPOC individuals (at board and staff level). Eligible organizations are those with a mission that aligns with one or more of the following human service domains: education, youth development, human services, community development, and those that have economic mobility, entrepreneurship support, and/or workforce skill building as a primary goal. (Organizations uncertain about eligibility with respect to mission alignment are encouraged to consult with a United Way team member.)
What is the geographic focus of the fund? This grant opportunity is for organizations within the six-county Kansas City metro area (Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass in Missouri and Johnson and Wyandotte in Kansas).
How is “small nonprofit” defined for the purpose of this initiative? This fund is intended to advance the progress of established organizations with an established track record of serving the community (for at least one year), and that have an annual operating budget between $25,000 and $500,000. In assessing the budget size eligibility, we will consider the organization’s financial statements as reflected in the IRS Form 990, or a year-end financial statement or budget provided for review by the applicant organization. In addition, applicants must have at least one paid staff person who is responsible for day-to-day operations of the organization (who may be in full-time, part-time or contract role).
How does United Way define “BIPOC-led” for the purpose of this initiative? A priority focus of this initiative is the investment in the capacity of organizations that are founded by or led by leaders from communities of color, either at the staff or board level (i.e.: Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer or President is from a community of color, majority of board members or executive staff are from communities of color, etc.). Other organizations whose mission is focused on addressing the effects of racial inequality and who predominantly serve communities of color (as demonstrated by demographic service delivery data) are also candidates for this grant opportunity. Organizations that are not BIPOC-led will be asked to share how their program design and service delivery approaches are informed by input from leaders within the communities of color they serve or BIPOC members of the community with lived experience valuable to program design and delivery.
What is the timeframe of this grant opportunity? Grants are intended to provide a nonrecurring investment to support work that takes place over a limited timeframe, generally one year. However, the time period over which grants are used is flexible and applicants will be asked to define the grant period at the time of application. This period may be adjusted after the grant is awarded, based on the grantee’s progress accomplishing the specific goals outlined in the application.
Click Here to Submit an Interest Form