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Racial Equity Fund Applicant Information

United Way of Greater Portland (UWGP) has established a Racial Equity Fund with funding from lead founding partner, IDEXX, and other partners BerryDunn, Gorham Savings Bank, Hannaford, KeyBank, and WEX. This initiative will support 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, UWGP has convened individuals and organizations around Thrive2027, three 10-year goals to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Greater Portland.

Addressing racial inequities in our communities remains a top priority for UWGP. Although effective November 20, 2020, we are no longer accepting contributions to the Racial Equity Fund, all contributions to the Racial Equity Fund will be directed toward other United Way supported work that serves People of Color. This flexible funding helps United Way mobilize individuals in the recovery and rebuilding of a more equitable, resilient community.


Essential Applicant Resources:

Application 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.

UWGP 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 to go to a page where you can sign up online for a phone call with a staff member during available time.

Grant Writing Consultants – United Way of Greater Portland has retained grant writing consultants to provide support to applicants to this fund to complete their applications. UWGP will pay for 4 hours total 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, UWGP’s regular investment criteria apply:

  • The program must serve people in UWGP’s service area (Cumberland County, minus Brunswick and Harpswell).
  • 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 UWGP’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 UWGP 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.


Applicant Information Session
Recording of the 9/21 information session for applicants.

Overview of Thrive2027, Goal 1
Early Learning – Give our kids a strong start.

Overview of the Thrive2027, Goal 2
Financial Stability – Empower our neighbors to thrive—not just survive

Overview of Thrive2027, Goal 3
Healthy Lives – Help us all live longer, better

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