The United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area was founded as a collaboration of neighbors, to develop ways to improve their community. This remains the core value of United Way today. United Way is a community of Neighbors Helping Neighbors dedicated to providing opportunities for our neighbors to thrive through three key areas; Live, Work & Learn. Since 1957, we have been investing in local programs whose mission aligns with these focus areas. Together, our goal has been to improve lives, jobs, and futures within the Greater Grand Forks community.

In 2019, we saw the need to modernize our approach to address current community issues. United Way hosted a series of community meetings with key stakeholders such as government officials, area nonprofits, school officials, and community members to identify gaps in services throughout the region. The community issues that were identified included services for families experiencing homelessness, access to basic necessities for youth, and a lack of childcare.

After receiving input from the community, the United Way Board of Directors and staff met to re-evaluate our strategic plans and goals. It was determined at this time, United Way would transition to provide direct services to low-income families in addition to providing financial support to area nonprofits through granting opportunities. In 2020, United Way launched a series of programs including Families First, The Backpack Program, and Kidz Closet. Each of these programs helps sustain the quality of life for families with children living in the Greater Grand Forks Area.


United Way has seen great success with the launch of the new programs.
We are helping ensure families have a safe place to sleep, children receive hot meals and so much more.


Dollars distributed in Housing and Utility Assistance


Nights of Shelter provided to Homeless Families


Meals provided through the Backpack Program


Children served through the Kidz Closet


It is at this time that United Way, our staff and board of directors, have decided to step away from our annual granting cycle to focus our efforts on key community issues and improving opportunities for families to achieve self-sufficiency through our Live, Work & Learn programs.

We have launched the Bright Futures Capital campaign. We are working to acquire property. Additional space on the Bright Futures campus will allow for United Way to expand current programs and offer additional services to our neighbors in need. Bright Futures will be a family-focused hub of resources including the addition of a licensed preschool and childcare center, serving approximately 135 children between the ages of 0 and 12.We look forward to what the future holds for United Way.

Our board and staff have worked hard to envision a future where families can thrive. We are working diligently to close gaps in services throughout the community. We will continue to partner with you, the Greater Grand Forks community, to guide our efforts. We are dedicated to continuing to help our community grow stronger.

On behalf of the board of directors and staff, we want to say thank you.

Thank you for being a part of a network of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Thank You for Being a part of United Way.

Overview and Guidelines

Funding Requests & Applications

  • We have developed an abbreviated application form
  • One submission allowed per agency unless participating in a Collaboration Request
  • Agency may request up to $10,000 in funding
  • Funding decisions will be made on as rolling basis by a committee
  • Funding must be spent by December 31, 2020

Community Collaboration

The One Fund Community Relief Effort encourages collaboration amongst agencies working towards common goals. Joint proposals will be welcomed. Specific guidelines for joint requests are listed below: 
  • Each agency may only apply for one collaboration request
  • If you are part of a collaboration, you may also apply for funding for your agency individually
  • If applying for a collaboration request, all agencies must be listed on the grant application and appoint a fiscal agent who will be held responsible for the grant application requirements
  • Collaboration grants will adhere to the guidelines and terms of use


  • Maintain eligibility as a public agency, including Indian tribes and nonprofit private organizations, both secular and faith-based, which serve individuals in Greater Grand Forks Area. This requires that private nonprofit organizations obtain and maintain a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service
  • Abide by Federal and State laws regarding anti-discrimination, Equal Opportunity, affirmative action, and anti-terrorism
  • Programs/projects must serve participants in United Way's service area: Grand Forks County, Northwestern Polk County and surrounding areas
  • Applicants must have submitted an application for a 2020 Community Investment Grant to be eligible for this funding
  • To receive funding, proposed programs must align closely with one or more of the focus areas: Live, Work, Learn
  • We will be prioritizing requests for funding that fall into the Live category
  • Request for funding must be for direct client services, no operational or staffing request will be funded
  • Be able to demonstrate effectiveness of programs and projects through measurable outcomes
  • Be willing to fully participate in United Way marketing efforts regarding program/client success
  • Allow United Way the right to use data from funding to "Tell the Story" of community impact
  • Funding will be competitive process based on the potential impact of the program for the community
  • All requests, regardless of the amount, will be held to the same principles and practices of accountability
  • All agencies that receive  funding will sign a Memorandum of Understanding


If you have questions regarding the One Fund Community Relief Effort, please contact Heather Novak at or by calling 701.775.8661