550 Forest Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, ME 04101 info@uwsme.org 207-874-1000

Racial Equity Fund Applicant Information

United Way of Southern Maine’s (UWSM) Racial Equity Fund supports the work of local nonprofits led by and serving people of color in our community while advancing the work at the heart of the community-developed Thrive2027 initiative. Since 2016, UWSM has convened individuals and organizations around Thrive2027, three 10-year goals to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Southern Maine.

Use this link only the first time you open and begin your application. When you return to edit, use the link that brings you directly to your draft applications. This will also be emailed to you when you click Save and Finish Later.

Application deadline is November 1 at 5:00 p.m.

Essential Applicant Resources:

2021 Racial Equity Fund Workbook – This is a primary tool for understanding and completing the application. We strongly suggest that applicants complete the downloadable workbook before entering information into the Blackbaud application software. All of the links to materials provided on this page are also provided in the Workbook.

UWSM Staff Contact Information – Staff is ready to help with any questions you have about the Fund, the application, or Thrive2027. Applicants may contact staff directly through the contact information provided, or by using this link (coming soon) to go to a page where you can sign up online for a phone call with a staff member during the available time.

Grant Writing Consultants – UWSM has retained grant writing consultants to provide support to applicants to this fund to complete their applications. UWSM will pay for 10 hours of consultation for each organization by this group of consultants. If you would like to engage a consultant, you may contact them directly using the contact information provided.

Thrive2027  – Thrive2027 is a community effort to achieve three 10-year goals. Information on the goals and connected data can be found on this webpage.


The Racial Equity Fund will:

  • support and strengthen organizations led by and serving people of color, all while advancing the work at the heart of the community-led, ten-year initiative called Thrive2027.
  • Prioritize organizations led by and serving people who are Black/African American
  • Define “led” as the CEO/ED being a person of color (or the board is comprised of a majority of people of color if there is no paid staff).
  • Require that of the population served, 50% or more of people served by both organization and the specific program would need to be Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
  • Allow applicants to select any of the Thrive2027 strategies, not just those deemed “lead strategies” by the Thrive2027 Goal Cabinets.
  • Provide capacity building in the form of resources and technical assistance to help strengthen organizations, including supporting them to be more competitive for funding from other sources (details below).

Otherwise, UWSM’s regular investment criteria apply:

  • The program must serve people in UWSM’s service area (York and Cumberland County, minus Brunswick, Harpswell, Kittery, and Eliot).
  • The lead organization must be a non-profit 501(c)(3), an Indian Tribal government, or can demonstrate a legal relationship with an established 501(c)(3) acting as your fiscal agent.
  • The program must be doing work that demonstrates progress toward the Thrive2027 Goals.
  • All partners named in the application must operate consistent with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances, and comply with UWSM’s counter-terrorism compliance agreement as outlined in the application.

Applicants will need to identify the specific action or effort they will undertake to advance Thrive2027. Specifically, applicants will need to be willing to work with UWSM on:

  • Developing data-driven program activities and evidence-based best practices or promising practices, that are based in research;
  • Articulating the way(s) in which collaboration with other organizations is included in program creation, implementation and/or evaluation; and
  • Developing how to demonstrate measurable impact on Thrive2027 Goals Framework Strategies as shown through Shared Performance Measures.

Racial Equity Fund Informational Meeting

Recorded September 21, 2021

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions on the Racial Equity Fund.