Greater Twin Cities United Way announced 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 80×3: 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 80×3,” 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 80×3 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 80×3: 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 80×3 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


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


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


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


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.

Summit Academy OIC

The Bridge for Youth

The Center for Victims of Torture

The Family Partnership

The Link


Ujamaa Place

United Cambodian Association of Minnesota, Inc.

Urban Roots MN

Urban Strategies

Way To Grow

Wayside House

Wellshare International



YWCA of Minneapolis

YWCA of St. Paul