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Venture Grants

United Way of Berks County
Venture Grants

Download a printable version of the guidelines and instructions
Submit an application

Venture Grant Purpose: United Way of Berks County utilizes Venture Grants to provide one-time funding opportunities in support of innovative projects or programs that address a specific community issue that is identified each year. For 2017-18, Food Security Programs has been selected as the focus for Venture Grants and all proposed programs for funding should be designed to achieve one or more the following outcomes:

Children and families will have supplemental food for weekends and when school is out of session.

Children, adults and families will have access to adequate daily meals and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Individuals will have access to knowledge and materials for food gardening and nutrition awareness.

Proposed programs that include the following elements are highly desirable:

  • Programs that engage youth and parents in education related to food nutrition.
  • Programs that engage Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families. ALICE is the group of individuals who earn more than the poverty level, but not enough to meet the basic level of living. They make too much to qualify for assistance programs but not enough to be financially stable on their own. The focus on these particular households is important for the United Way of Berks County because, while many families living below the poverty line know and have access to food assistance programs, many ALICE households do not.
  • Programs that seek to serve both city and rural populations.
  • Programs that serve a diverse population, including youth, working-age adults and seniors.
  • Programs that incorporate new and innovative ideas to reach additional populations facing food insecurity with an already effective program.

Grant Conditions:
Venture grants are intended for one of the following purposes:

  • To provide short-term support for the start-up and development of new programs or services
  • To provide financial support that can enhance effectiveness or expand the capacity of an existing program

Receipt of a Venture Grant does not entitle a recipient organization to receive Partner Agency status with United Way of Berks County (if not already) or to receive ongoing funding of any kind. Organizations who apply for this grant must be aware that they will need to find other sources of funding to continue their project efforts after Venture Grant funding expires.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing health and human services to Berks County residents is eligible to apply
  • Grants must support the delivery of new, expanded or enhanced programs and cannot simply fund existing programs
  • Priority will be given to programs that demonstrate meaningful and ongoing engagement with participants over an extended period of time, and that provide an opportunity for participants to apply new knowledge or skills to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Stand alone one-time events or large group presentations will NOT be eligible for consideration.

Award Amount:
A maximum grant of $25,000 may be requested, with United Way reserving the option to award a lesser amount based on demonstrated need and available resources.

Funding Period: November 1, 2017 – October 31, 2018

Application Format: Click here to submit an application through United Way's e-CImpact software system. The following information will be addressed during the application process:

  • Overview of the lead organization, including current organizational programs, numbers of clients served, and how the proposed program is consistent with the organization’s mission and history.
  • Overview of the need for the program, the target population to be served, and estimated client numbers
  • Description of the proposed program, including its activities, staffing, and a specific timeline and benchmarks for implementation of the program
  • Identification of any research or best practice experience that supports the proposed program’s effectiveness.
  • Description of any collaborative partners and their roles in either planning and/or implementation of the program
  • Identification of key staff/volunteers providing direct service, and their qualifications and experience
  • Completion of a basic logic model, including program outcomes to be achieved and indicators to be measured to demonstrate the program’s impact on participants (include the tool to be used to gather data)
  • One-year operating budget for the program
  • Plans for ongoing operation of the program, including potential future funding sources

Application Process: Venture grants will be awarded through a competitive proposal process after review and evaluation by a panel of community volunteers and approved by the United Way Board of Directors. Interested applicants should submit their applications via the web-based e-CImpact software no later than 4:00 PM on September 8, 2017. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Registration: All interested applicants must register to access an application. To register, click here. Follow the directions below for further information on how to complete the application and use the system.

Review Criteria: Fully completed applications will be evaluated based on the following:

  • How well the program matches the purpose of the Venture Grant
  • A clear understanding of the community issue to be addressed and the demonstrated need for the program
  • The strength of the program to effectively address the identified community issue
  • The reasonableness and appropriateness of the budget for the proposed program
  • Demonstrated ability and capacity of the organization (and collaborating partners, if applicable) to ensure timely implementation and successful achievement of desired outcomes


August 9, 2017 Applications open for completion on e-CImpact
September 8, 2017 Applications due in e-CImpact, by 4:00 pm
By October 13, 2017 Applicants receive notice of funding   


Questions or Support:

  • For technical assistance support with eC-Impact, please contact Ethel Kramer at 610 685-4555 or ethelk@uwberks.org
  • For any other grant-related questions or assistance, please contact Kristin Gehris at 610 685-4567 or kristing@uwberks.org



2017 Venture Grant Application Directions
      1. Click here to access e-CImpact
      2. Click on the link that states “If you are an agency, click here to enter.”
      3. You should now see the e-CImpact log-in page. Please read the below information, as it will explain how to enter the system:
          • For United Way Partner Agencies:
            • Use your login and password that you use for all other United Way submissions. When you log in, click on the link on the left that says “Link to Venture Grant and Live United Grant”. Then go to #6 below.

          • For NON-United Way Partner Agencies:
            • If you are an agency that has previously used e-CImpact to apply for United Way funding of any kind, use the login and password you created in the past to get into the system. Enter this information in the top portion of this page and then press “Sign In To Our Secure Server”. If you have forgotten this information, contact Ethel Kramer at 610-685-4555 or ethelk@uwberks.org to get this information. Once you log in, click on the link on the left that says “Link to Venture Grant and Live United Grant” Then go to #6 below.
            • If you have NOT applied before to United Way for funding, click on the green link on the bottom that says “Agency Registration” under the title “Agencies Who Have Not Previously Applied for United Way Funding”. Continue with the instructions below at #4.
      4. Complete all the fields on the Agency Registration page. Fields marked with * are required. 
      5. For the Preferred login, this will be the login/password you will use going forward for e- CImpact. Write down this information for future use. Click “Next” when done.
      6. On the next page, you need to choose the Venture Grant link that applies to you. If you are applying for a program that your agency is already running, click “2017 Venture Grant-NonPartner Agency-Existing Prog”. If this is a new program for your agency, click on “2017 Venture Grant-NonPartner Agency-New Program”. If you are a partner agency, click on “2017 Venture Grant-Partner Agency-New Program”.
      7. The next page includes 2 questions to ensure you are eligible to apply for the Venture Grant. All questions must be answered yes in order to be eligible to apply for the grant. Click “Next”.
      8. You will see a registration summary.Click on the “Complete Registration” link at the bottom of the page to complete your registration.
      9. You should then see a Registration Confirmation Summary page if you have successfully registered. Click on “Continue” at the bottom of the page to access the application.
      10. You are at the Home Page of the application. First, click on “Create a Program and Assign It To This Application.”
      11. Fill in your Program Name and Primary Contact Person (a drop down is available) – Press “ Save/Complete Registration”.
      12. On the Review/Submit Page, click on “Complete Registration”.
      13. On the Confirmation Page, Press “Continue”.
      14. You should now see the various areas of the application. ALL of these items need to be completed before you will be able to submit the application. Simply click on each link to complete that section of the application.
      15. Be sure to continually save your work at the bottom of the page where it says “Save My Work.” ONLY CLICK ON “SAVE MY WORK AND MARK AS COMPLETED” WHEN YOU ARE FULLY DONE WITH ALL THE QUESTIONS and do not need to make any changes. See below for submission information.
      16. Under the Logic Model section, make sure you “build out” or develop all sections of the logic model. Under each area, click on the “+ Create a new…..” to fill out that section. If you need help with this area, click on the “Agency Resource Documents” on the left and then click on the link under “Logic Model Template with Examples” for more details.


      1. You can do part of the application and then come back to it later. Simply save your work at the bottom of the page, and then sign out using the “Signout” link at the top of the page. Remember to have your login and password for the next time you sign in.
      2. Next time you log in, use the same way to enter the system (UW website, click on e-CImpact login) and then simply log in to the system on the top section using your user name and password.
      3. When you get back into the system, click on the link on the left for the 2017 Venture Grant. This will take you back to where you left off.

REQUIRED ATTACHMENTS (For NON-Partner Agencies Only)

      1. There are 4 attachments that are required to submit the application if you are NOT already a United Way partner agency. These are a most recent list of your Board of Directors members, your most recent agency audit, your most recent agency IRS Form 900, and a copy of the Patriot Act certification. For the Patriot Act certification, a representative from the organization must complete and submit the certification. If using a fiscal agent, the fiscal agent will be responsible for signing the certification.
      2. To upload these documents, click in the “Agency Packet Attachments” area.
      3. To access the Patriot Act Certification form, click on the “Agency Resource Document” Link on the left side of the screen on e-CImpact. There are two choices for which certification you should choose depending on whether or not you are using a fiscal agent. Choose the one that applies. Complete the document electronically and you will need to save it as a Word Document on your network/computer.
      4. To upload all the documents, click on the “Browse” button to access your documents from where they are on your computer/network. Once all are completed, then press “Save/Upload Attachment(s)” To get back to the application, click on “Return to Overview Page”.


    1. Make sure all areas of the application are marked as Ready to Submit.
    2. Once the application and other attachments are ready, you should then be on the submit page. Fill in your Executive Director/President’s name and click on the red box that says “Submit this Application Now”
    3. You should see a box that says “You have successfully submitted this application” and receive a confirmation email noting that the application was successfully submitted.
    4. You have the option to print your application on the submission page if you would like to keep a hard copy. Click the “Printer Friendly” box to print a hard copy.

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Current membership requirements completedUnited Way of Berks County

P.O. Box 702

Reading, PA 19603



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