Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Fund
United Way of the Midlands’ (UWM) investments seek to ensure the path to opportunity is open and accessible. Our broad scope of community investments supports the social service infrastructure in our community and creates a circle of support for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. Within our funding areas, we prioritize a variety of sub-populations that experience social and economic disparities – including single parents, seniors, disconnected youth, and others.
We’ve focused the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) fund on racial equity, and Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color (BIPOC) populations specifically, based on socioeconomic and health outcomes that are widely disproportional by race, as well as community stakeholder feedback.
The DEI Fund will invest in BIPOC-led community agencies working in greater Omaha with programming focused on increasing racial equity through Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship, Financial Education and/or Asset Building. Organizations must meet specific eligibility criteria related to their senior leadership, client population, geography, and program goals.
Further priority will be given to organizations:
- Where racial equity is clearly embedded in the program/organization and leadership and staff are representative of their client population
- Helping low-income, women, refugee/immigrant and/or other BIPOC intersectional populations secure high-wage employment and/or develop multigenerational financial assets
- Collaborating with other agencies: Cost-sharing, co-locating, shared marketing efforts, formal referral processes, and/or joint programming
- Removing barriers to service access by implementing creative and innovative strategies to ensure clients can access service
DEI Fund Categories
Loan and Access Management
Business Financial Literacy
Job Search and Interview Assistance
Placement and Retention Services
Financial Education & Asset Development
Financial Literacy Curriculum
Why Establish a DEI Fund?
The DEI Fund gives UWM an opportunity to be more intentional and strategic with our investments as we strive to build a more united community by addressing the historic and systemic marginalization that exists. It will focus on racial equity, and BIPOC populations specifically, based on socioeconomic and health outcomes that are widely disproportional by race, and community stakeholder feedback. Advancing racial equity moves us beyond focusing on disparities alone, to focus on targeted strategies that support BIPOC populations and, in doing so, increase our collective success.
What the Data Tells Us
Although the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area has high labor force participation across all racial groups, disparities and barriers remain:
- The percentage of full-time working poor is four times higher among BIPOC populations in Omaha (National Equity Atlas)
- The Omaha-Council Bluff’s metro area’s 65.5% homeownership rate is ranked 46th nationally – but our 33% homeownership rate among African Americans is among the worst in the country (89th) (American Community Survey, 2015-2019)
- 51% of African Americans and 46% of Hispanics say credit was denied or approved for less than requested, compared with 31% overall (Federal Reserve, Report of the Economic Well-Being on U.S. Households)
Challenges Faced by BIPOC-Led nonprofit organizations in the U.S.
- 63% lack access to individual donors (vs. 49% white)
- 51% lack access to foundations (vs. 41% white)
- 24% lower organizational revenues when compared to white counterparts
- 76% smaller unrestricted net assets compared to white counterparts
Eligibility Criteria for DEI Fund Applications
- At least 50% of the organization’s senior leadership must be BIPOC (or at least 25% if ED/CEO is BIPOC)
- At least 65% of the program’s client population identifies as BIPOC
- Is focused on increasing racial equity for adults/HS-age youth through DEI Fund Categories
- Active 501c3 or fiscally sponsored by one
- Program residents reside in Pottawattamie, Sarpy, and/or Douglas County
- Community driven
- One-year cycle (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023)
- Fund is $400,000 for this initial investment cycle
- Only 1 program application can be submitted per agency
- Recommended funding request range is $20,000 -$60,000 (cannot exceed $80,000)
Since 2015, UWM has invested over $12 million in organizations with leaders who identify as BIPOC. And, BIPOC populations make up nearly 50% of the client population served through UWM funded programs. However, significant racial economic disparities remain due to historical and systemic marginalization.
Advancing racial equity will strengthen outcomes, while also moving us toward more inclusive strategies and interventions. By narrowing our lens, we hope to accomplish measurable change and strengthen the systems that support underserved communities. This work improves access and removes barriers, and in doing so, increases our collective success. Participating in UWM’s DEI fund is an opportunity to be more intentional and strategic with our investments as we strive to reduce disparities while strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our community.
How to Apply for Funding
This is the first DEI application process, and it is anticipated that requests for funding will be highly competitive. Historically, UWM receives requests that exceed available funding, therefore UWM will not be able to fund all applications. Qualification under the goals, eligibility requirements and priority populations for this fund does not guarantee an applicant will receive funding.
In addition, UWM DEI Advisory Committee members will play a key role as application reviewers in helping shape the fund and providing funding recommendations.
The DEI Fund 2022-23 application will open March 29, at 9 AM CT and will close April 29, 2022, at 5 PM CT.
Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted.
If you are interested in applying for DEI funding, please submit an email to: DEIcommunityinvestment@uwmidlands.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we use the term BIPOC?
BIPOC is used as an inclusive term to acknowledge that all communities of color do not experience the same level of injustice (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/BIPOC). The term encompasses communities such as African Americans/Blacks, Native Americans/Alaska-Native, Asian Americans/Asians, and Latinos/a/x/ and Hispanics [non-exhaustive list]. We realize and respect that some members from these communities may prefer to view themselves through their cultural identifies instead of color-related terminology.
What is the DEI Fund timeline for decision-making?
After all applications are received by April 29, 2022, volunteers will review and discuss applications. The Board will review funding recommendations by Friday, June 10, and funding notifications will be made the following week.
Can 2022-24 UWM Community Care Fund agency applicants apply?
Yes. However, in considering the size ($400,000) and scope of the DEI Fund, if an agency program is selected to receive funding through the 2022-24 CCF, that program will not be eligible to receive a 2022-23 DEI Fund investment.
Is an audit required?
An audit completed by an independent third party using generally accepted accounting principles is an important indicator of internal financial controls and fiscal management. However, we realize that this is often a significant expense that can burden small nonprofits. Nonprofits with a total revenue of more than $500,000 should have an independent audit report. It is our preference that all applicants have an updated audit. However, organizations with revenues less than $500,000 may submit financial statements reviewed by their board, finance committee or another body.
How much should I ask for?
The recommended funding request range is $20,000 – $60,000. The request cannot exceed $80,000.
Although this is our first DEI application process, we anticipate funding will be highly competitive.
Historically, UWM receives requests that exceed available funding, therefore UWM will not be able to fund all applications. Qualification under the goals, eligibility requirements and priority populations for this fund does not guarantee an applicant will receive funding.
How do we define Diversity, Equity, and inclusion?
Diversity – The word “diversity” can mean different things to different people. We see it as the variety of identifiers that make an individual unique, such as race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, nationality, and life experiences. We acknowledge and respect this is one of many ways to define diversity.
Equity – Improving equity is to promote justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the underlying or root causes of outcome disparities within our society.
Inclusion – Refers to the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization or group. While a truly “inclusive” group is necessarily diverse, a “diverse” group may or may not be “inclusive” (adapted from the D5 Coalition.)
What is Racial Equity?
UWM defines racial equity as the process of eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. It is the intentional and continual practice of changing policies, practices, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change in the lives of BIPOC populations.
Can I apply for the DEI Fund if I applied for ARPA?
Yes. However, in considering the size and scope of the DEI Fund, 2022-24 ARPA funding requests will be a factor reviewers consider when making 2022-23 DEI investment determinations and recommendations.
What if I need additional help?
For additional guidance, the UWM DEI Fund Application training can be accessed here.
UWM Staff will also host office hours between 1:00pm – 2:00pm on Thursday April 7th and Wednesday, April 20th. If you would like to attend one of these sessions, please RSVP by submitting an email to: DEIcommunityinvestment@uwmidlands.org.
What is the size of UWM’s DEI Fund?
The size of the DEI Fund for the 2022-23 investment cycle is $400,000.
For questions regarding the DEI Fund application process, please reach out to the UWM Community Impact and Analytics team at 402-522-7958 or via email at DEIcommunityinvestment@uwmidlands.org.