Five big winners at United Way

Five Black-led organizations have emerged as the big winners across United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s now three-year-old equity-focused giving program.

United Way announced earlier this month the names of 60 recipients of $1.31 million as part of its Black Empowerment Works program, which hopes to lift up Black-led nonprofit or for-profit entities in the region.

Terri Hurdle, Edita Dolan-Mayo and Steve Mayo at the United Way’s announcement of its third year of its Black Empowerment Works program.

Five organizations received funding this year who also won grants in the first two years of the program, totaling $335,000 or nearly 12% of the $2.87 million handed out over the three years.

The five are Agricademy Inc. ($80,275), Ladies of Leadership-Ohio Inc. ($75,275), DevonshireSmith Diversity and Education Solutions ($70,000), Sweet Sistah Splash ($60,000) and iCan Health LLC. ($49,889). 

Another nine organizations have received $50,000 or more in funding through the program by qualifying for funding in at least two of the three years. Twelve organizations have received between $30,000 and $50,000 by qualifying for funding for two of the three years. 

The balance of the 103 organizations who have received funds have secured funding ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 in a single year. The first year of the program saw almost $600,000 handed out, while the second year grew to nearly $1 million.

Jena Bradley, director of Black-led social change at United Way, said one key to the process is community involvement. A panel of 45 community reviewers spent a combined 1,300 hours selecting organizations they believe exemplify the mission of the program.

“We can’t thank our amazing community reviewers enough for the work they put into making these selections,” said Bradley.

United Way has received 215 applications for the program.

Bi3, the grantmaking arm of Bethesda Inc. and strategic partner of the Trihealth health system, has committed $1 million to the program. A longtime United Way supporter, Procter & Gamble Co. is also participating as a major funder in it.

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