United Way pledges second round of funding to Black ideas

United Way of Greater Cincinnati is growing its partnership with Black leaders to fund ideas and projects that help Greater Cincinnati communities address poverty and systemic inequities. 

The organization recently launched a second round of Black Empowerment Works grants to promote self-determination, social mobility and economic prosperity by resourcing and funding community-based, Black-led ideas, programs and projects. Last year, United Way teamed with Black community leaders to select 28 Black entrepreneurs and social change-makers with promising ideas, providing $600,000 in philanthropic funding to their projects. 

“If we are going to change the national trend of philanthropic under-investment in Black-led organizations, we need to start in our own backyard,” said Moira Weir, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “We are excited to expand the project.” 

Moira Weir

Weir said United Way will wait to see how many applications it receives and the extent of need those ideas address before determining how much will be invested this year. While it is not likely every applicant will receive funding, she expects the total investment to exceed last year’s amount. 

“Community need will drive our work,” she said.

United Way believes investing in more Black-led ideas, programs and projects brings… 

  • greater diversity of solutions and thought leadership 
  • a better understanding of the unique strengths, opportunities and challenges within communities 
  • collaboration on strategies that work to reduce racial disparities in outcomes 

Last year’s grants supported a diverse set of programming, including: 

  • youth exploring career pathways in entrepreneurship, farming and multimedia 
  • a quality child care center in Avondale 
  • financial education for Black families throughout Cincinnati 
  • a place for young children to learn remotely while their parents worked 

Focus areas included education, employment, financial stability and empowerment, health, and community connectedness. 

Grants range from $2,500 to $25,000. Applications are due July 8. 

United Way needs reviewers to assess and award the grants. Reviewers must apply by June 18. 


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