Racial Equity Community Fund


Applications will be accepted between February 10 - March 10, 2023

Request For Proposals document and more details will be posted here on Feb. 10th.



The United Way envisions a just, equitable and inclusive community for residents of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Today, however, we are falling devastatingly short in providing equitable opportunities for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in our county. BIPOC Douglas County residents face racist disparities in health, education, income, housing, and safety. 

These disparities are a result of systemic racism that is perpetuated intentionally and unintentionally through institutions, culture, and individuals. The United Way of Douglas County acknowledges that the fight against poverty must be inclusive and anti-racist. Because racism is ingrained in the fabric of American institutions, it is easily self-perpetuating. All that is required to maintain it is business as usual. In our fight to end poverty, the United Way has taken a stand to not do “business as usual” if it perpetuates racial or other forms of inequities.


Traditional funding models are troubled by an imbalance of power and a lack of support for new applicants. As a result, the funding process favors the privileged and is often inaccessible to new, innovative, BIPOC led efforts. The focus of this fund is to support projects that build community, leadership, and direct supports for all marginalized community groups. Our simple goal is to recognize that Black, Indigenous, People of Color in Douglas County are best suited to lead change, and it is the responsibility of funders to alter processes and create a safe space for BIPOC leaders to participate and prosper.

Additionally, guidance and resources will be available to new applicants through office hours, one-on-one help, and a “safe to fail” mindset. All grant materials have been designed to be accessible and inviting to new applicants.


Funds are invested in grassroots and/or community nonprofit organizations in Douglas County, KS with projects focused on increasing equity and opportunities for local BIPOC communities. These grants provide support for organizations or individuals whose work benefits people with low incomes, communities of color, and historically and/or systematically marginalized people. Collaborative efforts and coalitions are eligible to apply. You do NOT have to be a 501c3, non-profit organization. This funding is for anyone wanting to lead and create change.

Priority will be given to organizations:

  • led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color with organizational mission and goals focused on elevating and increasing equity for Black, Indigenous, People of Color
  • leading efforts that include power-building with and for BIPOC communities
  • taking a multi-generational approach that priorities youth and families
  • aligning with United Way’s mission of ending poverty, facilitated by equitable access to quality education, healthcare, jobs, housing, food, and community engagement
  • that embed trauma-informed practices into their work by acknowledging the widespread impact of trauma

Not eligible for funding:

  • Organizations with budgets over $500,000
  • Organizations with less than 25% BIPOC executive leaders and board members
  • Government programs
  • Other foundations or granting programs
  • Public, private, or charter schools
  • College or university programs
  • Businesses or business associations
  • Organizations outside of the Douglas County, KS service area
  • 501c3 nonprofits designated as a church or religious organization


Applicants were selected to receive between $500 and $5,000 in funding. Funding began February 2, 2022, with an August 31 completion date. 


The priority population for these funds are Black, Indigenous, People of Color living in Douglas County, KS.

At least 75% of people served through the Racial Equity Community Fund should identify as Black/African American, Indigenous/Native, Asian Pacific Islander, Chican@/Latinx, Middle Eastern, and/or People of Color.

Priority will be given to projects that focus on the intersections of BIPOC identities, bringing those systemically pushed to the margins to the center of the project. These intersections may include:re

  • Socioeconomic status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Age
  • Ability
  • Immigration status

The highest priority will be given to projects focused on the intersections of racism and poverty.

While important, the following activities are not eligible for funding:

  • Direct service/safety net supports that are contingent on agreement to case management, education, continued program participation, or citizenship status
  • Individual grants or scholarships
  • Research expenses
  • Capital or endowment campaigns



The eligible activity categories for funding are Direct Supports, Advocacy, and Community Building. Please reference the table below for specifics on each.


Direct Supports


Community Building

What it is

Activities that support and/or serve an individual, family, or group with a direct service need

Activities that aim to influence decisions within political, economic and social institutions 

Activities directed toward the creation or enhancement of community, both place-based and identity-based, serving to develop community assets, social capital, and decrease isolation through stigmatization

Examples of funded activities

(not an exclusive list)

Meal preparation and/or delivery


Early liberation literacy programs (book drives & tutoring that highlight BIPOC strengths and culture)


Jail bail-out Black and Indigenous parents to reunite with families


Basic needs supplies to individuals and families


Attorney and expungement fees

Education that will inform and activate residents on policy advocacy and community organizing


Racial equity and justice education to counteract the impact of white supremacy


Activities to “till the soil” for advocacy, including root cause and power analysis, and campaign development.


Advocacy coalition building


Direct action

Mobilizing residents to take action on community-level change


Leadership programs that identify, develop, and mobilize new community leaders for racial justice


Activities that foster inclusive communities of belonging (e.g. public art, block parties and BBQs, neighborhood “walk-up” movie nights, community concerts featuring BIPOC artists)




Ascending Stars Consulting (Ascending The Voices Of Douglas County’s Original Stewards) -

Inspired by the need to uplift and center the voices of the Native American community throughout Douglas County, this project will help build an archive of digital stories to help educate the community on the history and contemporary experiences of its Native Americans citizens and keep the legacy of our interviewees and their experiences alive.

BIPOC – Yoga for Healing Retreat –

The BIPOC Yoga For Healing Retreat provides a safe space for healing, community, and inquiry, with a short weekend retreat. The project includes practices in healing modalities, food, discussion and community, yoga that aims to honor the indigenous roots, sound healing, Trauma/Tension Release Exercises (TRE), poetry, music, art and an opportunity to explore our liberation now.

Clare’s Community Closet –

Clare’s Community Closet addresses the unique needs of each individual through free clothing and supplies. Each person’s needs differ based on their experience; Clare’s Community Closet provides everything from school shoes to cell phones.

CommUNITY Steppers –

CommUNITY Steppers bring local youth together, ages 14-18, to build community, while embracing being “unique, unsilenced and unified”, through step dance. The cultural significance encourages storytelling from the perspective of those often unheard, while also instilling pride, positively impacting social and emotional well-being as well as building intra-cultural relationships and promoting intercultural competence and awareness.


To eliminate some of the stress and the anxiety of court fees and court ordered classes and in some cases attorney fees, ECKAN offers a voucher to cover the costs and works directly with community partners to ensure a smooth process.

Haus of McCoy –

The Haus of McCoy Community Night aims to reduce economic and food insecurity for queer and trans youth who are also BIPOC while promoting a sense of community and access to affirming and lifesaving spaces. This is accomplished through weekly community meals and a clothing closet.

Herman’s Place –

Herman’s Place will continue feeding hungry, homeless, elderly, and single parent households. The project’s future goals include creating a center for supplies and teaching youth cooking skills.

Lawrence, KS Juneteenth Organization

A Juneteenth event will be held on June 18, 2022. The event will be a multi-cultural celebration with an emphasis on education, community, and family. It will include poetry readings, music by local artists, Underground Railroad tours, oral history recording, kids activities, and a concert by a nationally known performer.

Kindness Is The Key –

The Kindness Is The Key project will Increase their capacity to serve the community with the changing seasons and individualized needs through numerous signature projects (Dress For Success, READ Lawrence, BIPOC Book Drive, 5K Fundraiser Run, San-Dee Claus services and more).

Sisters With A Purpose –

The Sisters With A Purpose advocate for those who have been affected by institutional racism and systemic inequalities. They will provide scholarship funds or other support to facilitate the happiness and opportunity that is lost due to the injustice experienced at the hands of our local justice system during the re-entry process.