Community Impact Grants

Applying for Community Impact Grants

To apply for a community impact grant, complete the online application found here. Applications close Nov. 15, 2019, at 5 p.m. 

For questions or concerns, contact Kari Lynn Besing at or 601-545-7141 ext. 2.


What is a Community Impact Grant? 

United Way of Southeast Mississippi Community Impact grants are available to address specific community needs. Funding decisions are made through an annual competitive application process. These funds are invested in high-performing nonprofit organizations that provide programs and services aligned with our four strategic priority areas of education, financial stability, health and support services. Awardees help improve community conditions across our regional footprint in the four (4) counties we serve: Forrest, Lamar, Perry and Marion.  

Who can apply for a Community Impact grant? 

In order to be eligible to receive United Way funding, the applying agency must meet the following eligibility criteria: 

  • Provide services to Forrest, Lamar, Perry and/or Marion counties
  • Be a registered charity and incorporated
  • Have a volunteer board of directors or advisory council
  • Release audited financial statements each year
  • Be non-partisan
  • Have been in operation for at least one (1) year
  • Align with a United Way SEMS impact area and goal
  • Adhere to the guidelines in the Funded Agency Policy and Procedure handbook
  • Funding may only be used to support the goals of a discrete program

What is the process?  

  1. Click here.
  2. Create an account and/or log-in.
  3. Complete the online application, including all additional documentation uploads.
  4. Submit your completed application.

Completed applications will go through an initial phase to ensure all basic requirements are met. Completed applicants are then invited to interview with the community impact committee. Final decisions will be shared with agencies in March and the first grant checks will be received in April.

A completed application includes: 

  1. Completed Application Questions
  2. Populations Served Form
  3. Memorandum of Agreement
  4. Annual Financial Statement (audit, review or compiled financial statements) 
  5. Agency Budget
  6. Program Budget
  7. Most Current IRS Form 990 
  8. 501(c)3 determination letter from IRS stating agency name and EIN 
  9. Spreadsheet of current Board of Director's first name, last name, affiliation, mailing address, board position, and date term expires. 

What are United Way of Southeast Mississippi investment priorities? 


Kindergarten readiness: Encourage early literacy development, build kindergarten readiness skills and work to make sure every child enters school ready to learn
Grade-appropriate reading levels: Increase the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently by the end of third grade
Graduation rate: Help ensure that more students stay on track to graduate high school

Financial Stability:

Financial literacy: Support financial literacy programs that educate individuals of the importance of obtaining and maintaining assets
Workfroce development & skill training: Further develop the local community workforce through job skill preparation, especially for current low-wage under-skilled workers seeking self-sustaining employment
Safe, stable and affordable housing: Provide families and individuals with the resources and knowledge to gain and/or maintain safe, stable and affordable housing


Access to quality healthcare: Provide quality care to those lacking access to sufficient coverage
Healthy beginnings & quality of life: Provide and educate the community of the resources available for prenatal care, parenting skills and early childhood needs
Creating healthy lifestyles: Help aging clients and those with medical needs maintain safe, independent living or improve their quality of life

Support Services:

Nutrition and food services: Make nutritious food available to support the health and well-being of the chronic hungry
Disaster relief and emergancy planning: Coordinate with disaster relief organizations and local emergency planners to develop recovery plans and assist in the provision of resources to meet unmet needs
Protection from domestic violence- Provide safe housing and basic needs for individuals and families experiencing and leaving situations of domestic violence

*Priorities may be adjusted annually

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does United Way of Southeast Mississippi focus more deeply on specific issues? 

Like most organizations, we are challenged to meet the needs of our constituents and effectively drive change with limited resources. By investing strategically in a streamlined set of priorities that align with our organizational goals and through focusing more deeply on fewer issue areas, we aim to make a more meaningful and measurable impact in the communities we serve.

Should I still apply if we have not been previously funded or currently funded by United Way of Southeast Mississippi? 


How does organizational size affect ability to compete? 

It doesn't. Organization size is not a factor in evaluating applicants. Funding decisions are based on alignment with United Way of Southeast Mississippi's priorities and the applicant's ability to demonstrate tangible measurable results.

Who reviews the final grant applications? 

Approximately 40 United Way volunteers will break into focus area teams, review the applications, interview the non-profit agencies as a group and finally, debate the best distribution of United Way funds. These volunteers will then make a recommendation to the United Way Board of Directors on how United Way funds should be distributed in the following year.