United Way announces three-year grant opportunity

United Way plans to invest in programs that support the optimal development of children and youth, improve access to basic needs, and ensure that residents in Snohomish County are connected and engaged with their community.

Snohomish County nonprofits must meet certain minimum eligibility requirements, and have or plan to establish programs that address the priorities identified by United Way's volunteer-led Vision Councils. Applicants must submit letters of intent online by Thursday, Dec. 20. Potential applicants are invited, but not required, to attend one of two Bidders' Conferences, from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Nov. 27, or Tuesday, Dec. 4. More information is on United way's website at

"This is a volunteer-driven process," said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. "Every three years, our volunteer committee members meet with experts to understand the needs of our community. Based on that work, they identify priority investment areas. Once proposals are submitted, our volunteers will review and make decisions on where our donors' contributions will best be invested."

Award decisions will be made in May of 2013.

The priority investment areas for the 2013-16 funding cycle fall into three categories:

1. To ensure the optimal development of children and youth in Snohomish County, United Way will support programs across the youth spectrum, from birth to age 18. They will do this by investing in programs that focus on early learning, after-school programs, foster care, and family engagement and support.

2. To increase the ability of all individuals and families to live self-sufficient lives, United Way will invest in programs that increase the ability of families to find secure, safe, suitable and affordable housing. They will also offer emergency services — including rent and mortgage assistance, emergency shelter, food and utility assistance — as well as support access to health care for the uninsured and underinsured. Career education and job skills training will be provided, along with life skills programs that will help at-risk youth, people with disabilities and others to help them live independently.

3. To ensure that Snohomish County residents are connected and engaged with their community, United Way will invest in programs that that create an aging-friendly community for seniors. These programs will also seek to overcome barriers caused by lack of transportation, disability or language, as well as increase access to services through community-based centers, and support programs for crime victims.

Eligible applicants must be 501(c)(3) health and human service agencies that can provide audits or reviewed financial statements for the prior two years and meet other eligibility standards.

The Bidders' Conferences will be held at the United Way of Snohomish County Board Room, located in Suite 200 at 3120 McDougall Ave. in Everett. Please RSVP to Toni Wishon at 425-374-5523 or via email at as space is limited. Additional details regarding eligibility, the application process and timeline are available at


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