Acooa Ellis

Acooa Ellis

Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) announced it is awarding $14 million in grants.

Operating grants, available July 1, will fund 95 local nonprofit organizations with aim to disrupt inequity in the areas of educational success, household stability and economic opportunity for people experiencing poverty in the Twin Cities region.  

“The difference in how people fare in our region depending on one’s income, race or zip code is well documented,” said Acooa Ellis, senior vice president of Community Impact at Greater Twin Cities United Way. “These disparities are not inevitable. United Way’s approach to equity includes a focused, intentional effort to move our region beyond what we’ve always done. We’re looking forward to building on what we’ve learned through our more than 100-year history of service and expertise, working in close partnership with nonprofit leaders who have a deep understanding of community needs and a strong track record of success.”  

The new grants focus on ending homelessness and hunger, ensuring children meet critical developmental milestones which prepare them for kindergarten and to direct their futures and helping adults earn family-sustaining wages and increase their wealth. Grants to the 95 organizations will be renewed annually for two additional years (three years total) based on the availability of unrestricted funds and each organization’s performance against certain goals. 

Community collaboration

United Way invited the community to participate in the grant-making process through its Community Advisors Council. The council, comprised of 23 subject matter experts, donors and nonprofit leaders with relevant knowledge and personal experience, scored proposals and conducted site visits. 

“United Way is intentionally inclusive, partnering with community leaders to help make these funding decisions,” said Pamela Russell, a member of United Way’s Community Advisors Council and independent development consultant in the Twin Cities area. “I was honored to recommend so many fine organizations to be a part of United Way’s portfolio of resources to help stabilize and empower the lives of families here in the Twin Cities.”

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