United Way of Central Indiana Announces Impact Funds as Part of New Strategic Focus to Fight Generational Poverty

United Way creates Basic Needs Fund, Family Opportunity Fund, and Social Innovation Fund for donors to make specific impact


United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) today unveiled three new impact funds that strategically focus on fighting poverty in United Way’s six-county region. The Basic Needs Fund, Family Opportunity Fund, and Social Innovation Fund are the next phase in United Way’s new Strategic Framework – announced last fall – that focuses on integrating the principles of education, financial stability, health and basic needs to achieve comprehensive solutions to move families onto a path of self-sufficiency and social mobility.


Today’s announcement of three new Impact Funds comes after months of research, analysis, and conversations with community-based organizations other community partners, donors and volunteers. For donors, the Impact Funds will be new ways for them to make a direct impact with causes they care most about. For United Way’s network of accredited community-based organizations, the Impact Funds will serve as new funding opportunities for the programs and services that align with United Way’s focus on tackling the growing problem of poverty in Central Indiana.


According to United Way’s 2018 ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report, 38 percent of households in UWCI’s service area of Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion and Morgan counties were financially unstable. In Marion County alone, 47 percent of households are struggling. Although these are working families, their household incomes are insufficient to afford the basics of housing, food, health care, child care, and transportation, and the figure continues to grow in all six counties.


“United Way Impact Funds are designed to improve outcomes for tens of thousands of families in our communities who are struggling to make ends meet and have little hope for a brighter future without changes to how supports are delivered,” said Ann D. Murtlow, president and CEO of United Way. “These funds are also opportunities for our donors, volunteers and advocates to engage directly with the people and causes about which they most care.”


United Way Impact Funds


Beginning April 15, Impact Funds will be new options for United Way donors to make an impact in the community.


  • The Basic Needs Fund will support individuals who need access to safe and affordable housing, healthy food and nutrition programs, healthcare services, and transportation. It also provides life-saving assistance to those in emergency situations.


  • The Family Opportunity Fund builds on United Way’s work to adopt the Two-Generation Approach (2Gen) that focuses on comprehensive support for the whole family to help break the cycle of generational poverty. This fund supports programs to improve the education, financial stability, and mental, physical and emotional health for families, providing pathways for their long-term success.


  • The Social Innovation Fund presents an exciting opportunity for donors to help invest in new solutions to the daunting challenges that the Central Indiana community faces. Although great progress has been made in addressing poverty as a systemic issue in the region, statistics show that the time is now to fund innovative ideas and projects that could lead to community-wide solutions to the root causes of poverty.


Donors wishing to give through UWCI to a specific community-based organization and in the “Area of Greatest Impact” will still have those opportunities available to them.


Impact Fund Grants to Community-Based Organizations


Over the next few months, United Way will invite accredited community-based organizations to request funding to support services and projects related to the Basic Needs, Family Opportunity, and Social Innovation impact funds. In this first fiscal year (2019-2020), United Way plans to grant approximately $8.5 million in total from the funds. This is in addition to the $8.2 million that has already been committed to 84 community-based organizations over the next year.


United Way remains dedicated to making significant community impact investments to early childhood education initiatives, the Centers for Working Families, Great Families 2020, utility-assistance programs, and capacity building, capital projects and maintenance support for current accredited agencies.


United Way’s investment in grants, programs and services in the Central Indiana Community will total more than $50 million next year.


Accreditation with United Way of Central Indiana


To build on its established network of community-based organizations, United Way is introducing a new accreditation system for nonprofits interested in working toward common goals and outcomes and applying for Impact Funds and other United Way grants. All current United Way agencies are automatically accredited for a three-year period and can apply for Impact Fund grants as the funding process is rolled out in the coming months. At this time, other community-based organizations will be considered for the accreditation process by invitation only.