Venture Grants

Venture Grant Funding

Applications for 2018-2019 Venture Grant funding will be accepted according to the following schedule:

Application Released

September 1, 2018 

Application Due

October 10th, 2018


Funding applications will be reviewed by Venture Grant Committee to determine funding. The Venture Grant comprised of volunteer community members who possess knowledge about community need. Following the review process, the Venture Grant Committee will recommend funding decisions to the United Way of North Central Iowa Board of Directors.

Award Notification

Awardees will be notified by the end of November.


Carefully read the Mission Statement and Grant Eligibility Requirements to determine eligibility and application requirements. Download application and open in Word. Fill out application and attach required documentation (note: text boxes will expand to fit type). Submit four (4) copies and one e-copy to Jen Butler, Community Impact Director, United Way of North Central Iowa, 2911 4th St., P.O Box 1645, Mason City, IA 50401



The Venture Grant Program of United Way of North Central Iowa provides short-term financial support to emerging human service programs that foster an innovative approach to an existing or emerging need in the north central Iowa region. Venture Grants are one-time grants for local nonprofit start-up programs that align with United Way of North Central Iowa’s funding priorities in the Impact Areas of Education, Income and Health.

Grant Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

Be incorporated and actively conducting business at the time of application and serving at least one of the eight counties in the United Way of North Central Iowa service area (Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Kossuth, Mitchell, Winnebago, or Worth Counties)or associated United Way of North Central Iowa Zip Codes

Qualify under the IRS Code as a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization or be a legally established publice entity with the Iowa Secretary of State. Current United Way Partner Agencies and non-United Way Partner Agencies may apply

Be governed by an active voluntary board of directors or its equivalent, consisting of members in the general community

Grants must support the delivery of new, expanded or enhanced programs and cannot simply provide funding for existing programs


Requests for support of the following items will not be considered for funding:

  1. Direct financial assistance to individuals or families

  2. Grants/stipends to conduct or attend conferences, seminars and workshops

  3. Audits

  4. Funding for athletic teams or events, school activities for which school credit is earned, political activities, proposals to fund prior year’s deficits, general operating expenses, one-time presenters or presentations, marketing expenses, previously purchased equipment or programs in progress and/or for-profit organizations.

  5. Other items deemed inappropriate by the United Way of North Central Iowa Board of Directors

Application Requirements

Initial Venture Grant Funding will cover a period not to exceed twelve (12) months; therefore proposals should reflect achievable objectives to be performed within the twelve-month funding period.

Alignment with at least one of United Way of North Central Iowa Impact Areas:

Education: Helping community members connect with the tools they need to reach their potential

Financial Stability:

Providing connections to aid in financial stability & independence.

Health: Increasing access to ensure health & well-being

Meet a clearly demonstrated need not presently met in the community or represent a major expansion or development within the framework of existing services.

The program must not be currently funded, directly or indirectly, by the United Way of North Central Iowa’s regular allocations process.

An agency is eligible to receive funding a second year for the same program. A new application must be submitted for a second-year funding consideration. To be eligible for continued funding beyond one year, the program must show:

  1. Demonstrated effectiveness of the agency’s program in meeting the proposed need;

  2. Consistency of second year proposal with initial goals and objectives of the first year;

  3. A clear and operable plan for generating other resources;

  4. A financial and program report at mid-year and end of each grant year.

Venture Grant funding will not be awarded past two years.

Award Amount: A maximum grant of $10,000 may be requested, with United Way of North Central Iowa reserving the right to award a lesser amount, based on demonstrated need and available resources.

As a condition of awarding funds, the United Way of North Central Iowa may request news releases, success stories and statements describing the agency’s current achievements and goals including but not limited to, photos, quotations, or letters of testimony

Evaluation of Proposals: United Way of North Central Iowa will award grants through a competitive process. The United Way Venture Grant Committee will evaluate all proposals based on the following criteria:

  1. Organizational Capacity to complete program goals and objectives;

  2. Program impact;

  3. Program innovation and/or meeting a unique or unmet community need;

  4. Program sustainability

  5. Budget

Grant Summary: Organizations, as a provision of accepting grant monies, must provide a grant summary report at the end year point of the funding cycle to the Venture Grant Committee. The grant summary reports should include:

  1. Number of people receiving services as a result of the grant award and a summary of the project outcomes

  2. Itemized list of expenditures funded by grant award including copies of receipts, if applicable;

  3. A description of how grant funding was used in achieving intent of the program;

  4. A summary of the financial and operational future of the program.

Funding Cycle: The funding year will commence upon award date and conclude one year from award date.

Application Submission

Applications and attachments must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. No late submissions will be accepted.

Submission Instructions:

Submit four (4) copies and one e-copy, to United Way of North Central Iowa by October 10, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Applications should be sent to 2911 4th Street SE, P.O. Box 1465, Mason City, IA 50402.

Applications should be three-hole punched, unstapled and paper-clipped.

Applications should include the following attachments:

  1. Completed, signed application-(4) copies, paper-clipped and three-holed punched

  2. IRS Tax Exemption Letter-(1) copy

  3. Most recent IRS Form 990-(1) copy

  4. Organizational Attachments (This includes any relevant, supplemental information that supports your application for funding)-(1) copy