How to apply for funding

We're uniting our community to empower people in need. 

At United Way, we do this through strategic partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring individuals to join us in our effort to LIVE UNITED.  Here you'll find information about how you can be a part of making this positive change a reality in our community. 

Community Impact Investment Strategies

ALICE® is a project that focuses on community members who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed. The United Way ALICE Project is the umbrella of work to both reveal and address the needs of this population. The project includes research, United Way ALICE Reports, the National ALICE Advisory Council, state-based Research Advisory Committees, the ALICE Learning Community, and local community impact work to address the needs of this population. United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County along with local United Ways throughout Virginia have come together for the first time to produce the Virginia ALICE Report.  

In our community, a significant percentage of the population in Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County are living below the ALICE threshold. Through strategic partnerships, intentional dialogue and targeted grant funding, United Way seeks to positively impact those living below the ALICE threshold, empowering them to move from crisis to survival to sustainability.

In order to do this, United Way aims to provide direct, strategic support to organizations that serve clients living below the ALICE threshold. Tier 1 investments will focus on ALICE while Tier 2 investments will address other pressing needs in our community. The Tier 1 categories below are taken directly from the ALICE Report and have been identified as key areas of need to reach financial stability. Tiers are determined by the relative importance of the area versus the needed resources available.

Tier 1:  ALICE

  1.  Housing* - Adequate for the clients' needs, affordable and safe
  2.  Childcare* - Quality (as defined by Virginia Quality standards), accessible and affordable
  3.  Transportation* - Reliable and affordable
  4.  Education- Supplemental, quality learning opportunities for college and/or career readiness
  5.  Food- Healthy (meets daily nutritional requirements and standards), appealing (is culturally appropriate) and affordable
  6.  Healthcare - Accessible, affordable, preventative
  7.  Life Skills Development - Financial literacy and workforce development

*These areas will be given higher priority.

Tier 2:  Other Community Needs

 Applications for services that meet community needs but that are outside of the priority areas listed above will be considered for Tier 2 level funding. Tier 2 funding applications are shorter and will require fewer commitments from the funded partner.  See 2019 Investment Priorities under the Important Links section below for further details.

Collective Impact

Collective Impact is defined as the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda to solve a specific social problem. Collective impact initiatives involve a centralized infrastructure, dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants (Collective Impact, Kania & Kramer 2011).

In the Spring semester of 2019, United Way will partner with a collaborative course at James Madison University through JMU X-Labs to seek creative, collaborative solutions to local human service issues. The United Way board of directors will set aside a percentage of the available funding for a project with a collect impact approach. This project focus will be informed by ALICE data, community conversations and focus groups as well as research compiled by the X-Labs students. Project participants will be invited by the United Way board based on relevance and ability to meet defined needs.


Process for Applying

United Way no longer requires a separate Certification process for funding eligibility. Components of the prior Certification process have been integrated into the grant application process in the section on Organizational Health. All grant applications for Tier 1 or Tier 2 funding will be available on Smarter Select (links can be found in the "Important Links" section below). More information on the steps to submit the grant application and application evaluation can be found below.

  • We will host two optional information sessions for interested applicants on Friday December 14th, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. and Thursday January 17th, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. at the United Way office (100 S. Mason Street, Harrisonburg in the basement/seminar room).  
  • All grant applications are due on Thursday, January 31st by 5:00 p.m.
  • Community Impact Team (CIT) volunteers will receive grant applications and any supplemental documents submitted to review.
  • CIT volunteers will complete a site visit with the agency whose application(s) they are evaluating in March. The Executive Director and at least two key members of the Board of Directors (i.e. President and Treasurer) must be present for the site visit.
  • Grant awards will be announced on May 1st, 2019 and funding will be distributed in a 2-year cycle for Tier 1 recipients or in a 1-year cycle for Tier 2 recipients beginning May 2019.

Volunteer to Review Grants

United Way invites members of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County community to volunteer to serve on a Community Impact Team (CIT). CIT volunteers play a significant role in the United Way grant evaluation process. For more information, please review the CIT Job Description and the information below.

What is the role of the Community Impact Team (CIT) volunteer?

  • Serve on a team of community members from varying professional backgrounds to evaluate United Way community impact grant applications for a total commitment of approximately 15 hours from February to mid-April.
  • Represent United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County as an objective, informed decision-maker to determine which applications best align with United Way’s priority areas as outlined above in the “Community Impact Investment Strategies” section. Note: Unfortunately, staff at agencies that have applied may not volunteer. However, those otherwise affiliated with a prospective community partner such as board members and volunteers will not be assigned to review that organization’s application, but are still encouraged to volunteer to review other applications.
  • Utilize our scoring criteria to evaluate how well each application aligns with United Way’s priority areas.

What is expected of CIT volunteers?

  • Attend the training and orientation session on February 13th from 8:30-10:30 AM. UWHR will provide training materials to equip volunteers with the skills they will need to effectively evaluate grant applications. No prior experience is required.
  • Collectively, with the rest of the Community Impact Team, make a funding recommendation to the UWHR Vision Council based on how the application scores.

How do you become a CIT volunteer?

If you are interested in serving as a CIT volunteer, please respond via Get Connected. We will contact you with further instructions if you meet the eligibility requirements. If you have questions regarding this volunteer opportunity, please contact Tashfia Hasan, Coordinator of Community Impact.


  • December 14th and January 17th (1-2:30 pm)- Grant Information Sessions
  • January 31st- Grant applications due
  • February 13th (8-10 am)- Community Impact Team (CIT) Training
  • Weeks of March 11th and 18th- CIT volunteer site visits at applying agencies
  • Weeks of April 1st and 8th- Grant determination meetings
  • May 1st- Grant award notifications

Important Links

ALICE Report and Supplemental resources

  • 2017 Virginia ALICE Report
    • Page 3: Consequences of Households Living Below the ALICE Threshold in Virginia
    • Pages 73-103: VI. The Consequences of Insufficient Household Income
    • Page 140: Appendix G- Housing Data by County and Independent City
    • Page 144: Appendix H- Key Facts and ALICE Statistics for Virginia Municipalities
    • Page 156: Appendix I- Households by Income
    • Page 218: ALICE Data in Harrisonburg City
    • Page 270: ALICE Data in Rockingham County