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Hoping to make a significant change, United Way of the Coalfield has opened grant applications to all nonprofits and will have an information session for new agencies on Monday.

Allocations Committee Chair Susan Scholze said she thought the virtual session would create a level playing field for new agencies who have not previously applied for grants through United Way.

“The hope was that by offering this session, we could run through all the different requirements and answer all of their questions, then it will make that process easier for them,” she said.

United Way Executive Director Don Howerton said they want to help agencies make a change long-term through the grants.

“Local nonprofit agencies are encouraged to submit a grant application for a specific program that serves a critical need among low-income residents in Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties,” he said.

United Way will now offer four different levels for agencies to apply. Scholze said they are $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 grants available.

The lowest level of $2,500 is for agencies who are applying for a United Way grant for the first time, she said.

“The thought behind that is we will try to bring you in slowly,” said Scholze. “We don’t require as much on the application for that, so it is an opportunity to attain some funding without having to jump through a whole lot of hoops.”

The levels are also a good way to keep track of how much they are giving to one agency, especially since COVID-19 made fundraising difficult, she said.

“It will be an interesting year to see what feedback we get from the agencies that end up getting the grants,” said Scholze. “Hopefully, we will be able to impact more people through more programs.”

Howerton said the agencies will submit a grant application for a specific program, the allocation committee then evaluates all the applications and schedules an in-person visit.

“It is so we can witness firsthand the impact of the program on its clients,” he said.

At the end of the review process, the committee submits their recommendations to the United Way’s Board of Directors for approval, he said.

Scholze said the allocation committee works to ensure the United Way are good stewards of the monies entrusted to them.

“We strive to champion the change we wish to see in our communities by providing grant opportunities to worthy programs that can demonstrate measurable outcomes of success,” she said.

Interested agencies must be 501©(3) certified and service Hopkins or Muhlenberg, said Howerton. Grant applications must address health, education or financial stability.

The virtual session will be at 7 p.m. on Monday. To get a link to the session, call 270-821-3170 or visit https://unitedwayof thecoalfield.org/ and click on the grants icon on the right side of the page.

The deadline to apply for a grant is noon on Tuesday, May 25. Howerton said no applications will be considered if they are submitted after the deadline, and there will be no appeal process for late applications.

Applications can be emailed to executive.director@unitedwayof thecoaldfield.org.

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