United Way Announces $2.2 Million Community Investment

United Way of Eastern Maine (UWEM) is pleased to announce the investment of $2.2 million over the next three years to support nonprofits, communities and residents across Eastern Maine. UWEM will award 24 nonprofits with Strategic Investment Grants, supporting 30 programs serving residents of Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo, and Washington Counties.

The application process was extremely competitive, with a significant number of highly qualified programs demonstrating substantial potential impact toward UWEM’s Opportunity 2028 Bold Goals: meeting basic needs and promoting self-sufficiency for all; prevention, treatment and support recovery from Substance Use Disorder; and ensuring all children have quality early learning experiences. Programs were selected for funding after a rigorous, volunteer-led review process. UWEM is appreciative of the 65 community members who volunteered their time to conduct this important evaluation process.

This recent funding process incorporates changes to be more responsive to the needs of partners, increase accessibility to all organizations and to deepen impact toward the Bold Goals. These adjustments include a new fast track option for small grants, in addition to the traditional large grant awards, diversity, equity and inclusion and expansion of target populations. “We’re committed to strengthening partnerships and building capacity,” UWEM’s Chief Impact Officer, Matt Donahue shared. “Multi-year funding is critical to helping our nonprofit partners implement their programs, and generate lasting results. Tens of thousands of our neighbors will be safer, have shelter and food, receive the treatment they need, and grow and develop during their formative years because of these donor-funded grants. United Way and our partners will continue to work collaboratively to achieve our goals, to bring hope into the lives of all who live in our great region.”

This investment comes at a critical juncture for our communities, with many individuals and families struggling with having their most pressing basic needs met, including housing, childcare, and food security. Last year alone, 211 Maine received and responded to nearly 11,000 calls from community members across our region seeking assistance. UWEM continues to invest in the infrastructure and resources of 211 Maine, ensuring all Mainers have access to much needed resources, 24/7.

“United Way is leading the charge to achieve the Opportunity 2028 goals,” said Shirar Patterson, President & CEO of UWEM. “This investment is made possible because of our incredibly generous donors, who agree, that the funding and implementation of these programs is essential for the health and prosperity of our communities.”

For 85 years, United Way of Eastern Maine has leveraged community partners, invested donor dollars, and worked to meet the most pressing challenges facing our communities. The Strategic Investment Grant process highlights these issues, along with the nonprofit-led programs working to mitigate and address these concerns. Though UWEM is extremely proud to fund 30 programs, volunteer review panels identified 19 additional programs for potential future funding. UWEM will work diligently in its upcoming fundraising campaign to identify and secure funding, allowing for additional investment in these worthy programs.

Erin Barry, Board Chair of UWEM and review panel volunteer, “As a volunteer reviewer I know first-hand that there are many programs throughout our region doing incredible work that is changing people’s lives every day. Our goal is to be able to fund all of the programs that are worthy of funding and we need the support of the whole community to make that a reality. If you have not donated to United Way recently, I encourage you to take a closer look at what we do through your workplace campaign or our website. Every dollar we raise adds up to make a big difference.”

In January of 2022, United Way of Eastern Maine expanded to serve residents of Somerset County. Additional Strategic Investment Grants will be awarded to nonprofits serving Somerset County as part of a grant funding evaluation process currently underway, with results to be announced in August 2022.

View the full list of Strategic Investment Grant Partners, here.