Request for Proposals: 2018 Basic Needs Grants

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Basic Needs Request for Proposal
October 30, 2017


United Way of Greater Topeka
Grant Availability
RFP Process Timeline
Organizational Eligibility Requirements
Guidelines for Proposal Submission
Organization and Program Overview
Background and Experience of the Organization
Program Description
Measurement and Reporting
Partnerships and Collaborations
Financials: Budgets, Cost per Unit of Service, and Demographics
Required Documents
Frequently Asked Questions
Glossary of United Way Grant Terms

United Way of Greater Topeka

Connecting individuals and families maximizing their full potential

To achieve positive sustainable change through education, financial stability and health for everyone in our community

United Way has refined its focus with measurable goals that start with root causes and outcomes to ultimately create a more vital, more stable and more livable community.  We are changing the picture of how Topeka, Shawnee County, Jackson County and Jefferson County will look in five years, in ten years and beyond.

United Way remains committed to supporting basic needs:  Rent/Utilities, Food, Healthcare Access/Prescriptions, and Safety from Domestic Violence.  Without the availability of basic needs in our community, we cannot to hope achieve our community goals in education, financial stability and health.  Basic needs services are critical to help get families back on their feet and on the road to self-sufficiency.


Since the beginning of 2016 in Shawnee, Jackson and Jefferson Counties, data from 2-1-1 Kansas indicates that there were 314 requests for food assistance, 266 requests for access to healthcare and prescription assistance, 32 requests for assistance with safety from domestic violence and 2,060 requests for assistance with rent/utilities.

With access to basic needs not in place, the consequences may be severe. This is why part of United Way of Greater Topeka’s work is to ensure that the basic necessities of life are available for those in need.  Whether someone is facing hunger, financial difficulties, or other situations that put them at risk, supportive services provide access to temporary relief from immediate or impending crisis. While United Way is committed to focusing on our 10-year goals in education, financial stability, and health, in addition, we recognize the need to help people of all ages with the critical issues they face on a daily basis.

Grant Availability

United Way grants are possible due to the generosity of donors who are expecting clear focus and results. The United Way Board of Directors and volunteers work to maximize resources available for investment in community programs.  It is likely that in the 2018 investment process multiple proposals will be selected for grants within the four Basic Needs focus areas:

  • Food
  • Rent & Utilities Assistance
  • Access to Healthcare and Prescription Assistance
  • Safety from Domestic Violence

United Way expects applying agencies to access revenue from multiple sources to cover their programs and operating costs.

Target Population:

Residents in Shawnee and Jefferson Counties.

See Administrative Criteria for more information.

Activities Eligible for Grants


  • Food distribution to people experiencing food insecurity
  • Prepared meal distribution (either home delivery or congregate settings) to people experiencing food insecurity

Rent and Utility Assistance:

  • Financial assistance to help low-income individuals or families in crisis situations. Programs that provide individuals or families with emergency financial assistance for a variety of crisis situations including:
  • eviction
  • foreclosure
  • utility shut-off notices

Access to Healthcare and Prescription Assistance:

  • Access to mental and physical health care for low-income, uninsured or underinsured residents
  • Prescription assistance for low-income, uninsured or underinsured residents

Safety from Domestic Violence:

  • Interventions directed at stabilizing individuals and families who have been traumatized or abused
  • Support to victims of domestic and sexual abuse

Refer to the glossary for definitions of proposal terms.

Organizational Eligibility Requirements

Basic Needs grants are intended for organizations that have a proven track record and who have outputs that align with the UWGT strategies. Grants awarded for basic needs are commitments for a one (1) year period. The grant period will begin January 1, 2018 and end December 31, 2018.

To be eligible, an organization must meet the following criteria:

Administrative Criteria

  • The organization must actively conduct programs and provide services to individuals residing in Shawnee and/or Jefferson Counties in Kansas and be an organization for charitable health, welfare, character-building and allied purposes.
  • Organizations that provide services for Jackson County in the area of safety from domestic violence may include Jackson County in their proposal.  Applicants cannot serve Jackson County only.
  • The organization must be an eligible charitable organization as designated by the IRS code 170 or amendments thereto and able to receive deductible contributions.
  • The organization must operate on a nondiscriminatory basis in all respects including but not limited to age, sex, race, religion, national origin and disability.

Organizational Criteria

  • The organization must have been incorporated and actively conducting business for at least two years at the time of application.

Board Criteria

The organization must have a satisfactory level of board control as demonstrated by the following:

  • The organization must assure effective control by a volunteer board of directors selected in a satisfactory manner and be representative of the community and the people served. The organization’s board must have rotation procedures for its members.  The organization must assure efficient management, effective service and a reasonable prospect of continuity.
  • The organization must have a governing body whose membership is consistent with the number of board members outlined in the organizational bylaws, who serve without compensation, and who shall be in attendance at its meetings and otherwise take an active part in the organization. A minimum level of board attendance is defined as attending no less than 65% of regularly scheduled meetings.
  • The governing body must have full power to: establish operating policy; to employ, supervise and dismiss its executive director; to control and be responsible for its auxiliaries and other groups operating in or using the name of the organization; to enter into contracts with UWGT and to acquire, manage and dispose of real and capital properties obtained in the name of the organization.
  • The governing body must be organized so as to assure accountability and operating efficiency, and must meet no less than four times a year.
  • The governing body must review and approve the annual operating budget of the organization and approve any significant budget changes.
  • No board member may be an employee of the organization. No paid staff member may be allowed to serve as a voting member of the governing body.

*If the organization is the local arm of a statewide or national organization, directed by a state or national governing board or if it fulfills a specific mission of a local multi-mission organization directed by a governing board, the organization receiving a United Way grant must have its own volunteer governing body in the form of an Advisory Board or Council.

Financial Criteria

  • The organization shall present documentation of its financial condition which shows the total income and expenditures of the organization.  The organization must be able to demonstrate evidence of ongoing financial support from the community and a balanced strategy to develop alternate sources of revenue. This must be shown through an independent organizational financial audit or an independent organizational financial review. Providing financial documents will not suffice.
  • Budgets that indicate specific program income and expenses must be submitted on current United Way budget forms.  They shall have been approved by the applying organization’s board of directors.
  • The organization shall maintain accounting records which are in conformity with the current Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
  • The organization, within nine months after its financial year-end, must have an independent financial audit or review completed as follows:
    • total revenue of $500,000 or greater – annual independent audit
    • total revenue less than $500,000 – independent audit at least every 2 years with an independent review or audit in alternate years

Ineligible services are:

  • programs which are primarily political in nature;
  • programs whose fiscal management capability is severely limited by an organization’s indebtedness;
  • programs which exist solely for the presentation of cultural or artistic achievements;
  • programs which provide services limited to the members of a particular religious group or which exists solely to advocate particular religious beliefs;
  • programs which are extremely costly and/or limited to a small number of consumers and/or addresses a problem so complex and extensive that United Way resources can have little or no impact on the total problem;
  • any other program or service in which the UWGT Board of Directors deems inappropriate for UWGT support.

Guidelines for Proposal Submission

The following instructions serve as a guide for completing your organization’s United Way Proposal. The accuracy and completion of your organization’s proposal are critical to United Way volunteers’ ability to conduct a fair and thorough review.  Proposals with errors in grammar and spelling reflect poorly on the applying organization.

Proposal Requirements

  • Grants are for general program support and can include indirect administrative costs applicable to the proposed program.
  • Proposals are submitted online via e-CImpact only.
  • A separate application must be completed for each Basic Needs focus area.
  • Applicants may request no less than $5,000 and no more than $50,000 per focus area per year.
  • Go to the United Way of Greater Topeka’s web site at:

    Image of United Way of Greater Topeka home page. Click to go to the grant application page.

    Click the image to go directly to the grant applications page.

  • Go to “Apply for Grants
  • Click on the “e-C Impact” link
  • Click on the Agencies Log in Here link
  • Applications are due Monday, November 20 by 12:00 noon. Access to our online application process in e-C Impact system will not be available until after 5:00 pm, October 30, 2017.
  • If you have any questions please contact Juliet McDiffett at or 785-228-5122.

Grant Review

It is the goal of the Grant Review Panel to invest in the strongest and best program(s) as identified through an intensive and competitive review process whereby applications are scored and ranked.  The Grant Review Panel will take the following into consideration in making its final recommendations:

  • Grant proposals address populations in greatest need and contribute toward the stated output.
  • Grant proposals integrate promising and best practices and consider leveraging resources and collaborative opportunities.
  • Grant requests cannot supplant existing revenue from other organizations but rather increase the capacity of the organization to offer this service.

Award Requirements

Semi-Annual Reporting

  • Numbers served
  • Demographic information for clients served
  • Significant changes in program delivery
  • Significant changes in key organizational and/or program staff
  • Expenditure report with budget comparison
  • Success story of how the program made an impact on a client

If awarded a grant, reporting requirements will be fully outlined in the award contract, including dates and report format.

General Tips on Submitting Proposals

  • Have someone not affiliated with your program or service read the proposal for clarity, spelling, grammar and explanation of acronyms.
  • Write for a reader unfamiliar with your organization, program or service.
  • Coordinate all staff writing the proposal for consistency (budget, narrative etc.).
  • If submitting more than one proposal, treat each proposal as unique. Be careful with cutting and pasting information from one proposal to another.
  • Brevity and clarity are strongly encouraged.
  • Research articles and other sources of evidence can be cited either as footnotes or endnotes submitted as a supported document.

Basic Needs Organization and Program Overview

Background and Experience of the Organization

Provide a historical background of the organization and how the organization has developed overtime. Please include the organization’s mission and vision.

Program Description

The program description incorporates the historical activities or services within your organization that will support your proposed program or service. Please describe how the proposed program or service was created and how it fits into your agency.

A separate proposal must be submitted for each program focus area:

  • Food
  • Rent/Utility Assistance
  • Access to Healthcare and Prescriptions Assistance
  • Safety from Domestic Violence

Community Need

Describe the community need for the population you will serve relevant to this proposal. The data you provide, including the statistics and trends for the population you serve, should provide a basis or rationale for the program or service described in the proposal. This data should also describe the estimated need in the organization’s service area.  Be sure to include complete references for all statistics cited (source, title and date) and provide labels in the narrative to distinguish national, state and local data. National data should be provided only if they are inter-related to a state and/or local trend and provide evidence that the trend affects the UWGT service area.

Target Population

Describe the target population to be served with this grant. What is the size of the population?  What are the primary needs and risk factors? What are the barriers to success?  Identify the target population for this proposal including age, gender, ethnic background, zip code, income level and special needs as appropriate.

Organization Expertise/Experience

Describe the organization’s history, expertise and experience working with the target population as well as experience implementing the proposed activities and services. Please include all licensing and/or accreditations that your organization holds related to the target population.

Key Leadership & Program Staff

Describe the organization’s leadership staff and key program staff.  Include all employees who serve in senior leadership roles within the organization and any key staff who contribute time toward the proposed program and proposal; include name, title and experience.  If the proposal includes staff adjustments, please describe the situation, such as the need and qualifications for a new staff position, or the causes of other staff changes.

Volunteer Contributions

If you are planning to involve volunteers in your program, describe how they will be utilized.

Implementation Plan

Give an outline of the proposed program or service along with the outputs to be achieved. Be specific in the unit of measurement used, such as number of individuals, households or families to be served.

Measurement and Reporting 


Describe the outputs to be measured.  Describe what changes take place for clients and how these changes remove barriers and improve their lives. Identify the indicator(s) you will use to track each output. Specify the total number of individuals that will be served or the number of individuals to be served or the number of individuals projected to achieve the goal.

Evidence of Program Effectiveness, Data Collection and Reporting Plan


Describe the method for substantiating effectiveness of this program.  If the program has been previously tracked, include results with a comparison of the outputs for the proposed continuation of the program.

Partnerships and Collaborations

History of Collaboration

Describe your history of collaboration in the community with organizations/programs that offer the same or similar service or have a stake in the results for clients. Describe how the collaboration reduces duplication, fosters data collections and improves community systems.

If applicable, provide one letter of support from each formal partner or collaborator. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is preferable to a general letter of support. Letters of support should clearly demonstrate how the partnership contributes to achieving the desired outputs. (limit 3)


Identify the formal partnerships and collaborations that are directly relevant to achieving the proposed outputs.  Be sure to clearly describe the role of each partner.

Financials: Budgets, Cost per Unit of Service and Demographics

Program Budget

Budget figures should coincide with the grant cycle (January 1-December 31 calendar year).  Be sure to describe any budget items that may need clarification.

Budget Narrative

Provide a description of how the grant will be used to achieve the proposed outputs.  Provide narrative explanation that gives additional information about the program budget line items that you feel are needed including:

  • Percent of organizational budget represented by this program budget;
  • Description of items typically included in miscellaneous expenses;
  • Budget deficits of any size require both an explanation and an anticipated resolution.

Cost Per Unit of Service and Scalability of Request

Define what “unit of service” means for this program.  Include a description of the method used to calculate your cost per unit of service. Indicate the cost per unit of service for each of the services or activities described in this proposal.

Describe how the request could be scaled if not awarded the full amount requested.  Outline the activities that would occur and the numbers that would be served.

Leveraged or Matching

Describe the source and amount of dollars to be leveraged or matched if you are awarded a UWGT grant.


Describe your organization’s plan to sustain this program for the term of the contract in the event of significant revenue shifts.

Required Documents

  • List of Board of Directors (for lead organization if applying as a group of organizations)
  • 501(c)3 documentation (for lead organization if applying as a group of organizations)
  • Most recent audit or review based on UWGT requirements listed on pg. 7 (for lead organization if applying as a group of organizations)
  • Current non-discrimination policies (Programs receiving grants from UWGT cannot discriminate against clients based on protected statuses defined by law. For example, programs can offer services that are religious in nature but cannot turn away clients due to their religious affiliations or lack thereof.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Which organizations are eligible to apply for grants?

Eligible organizations must actively conduct programs and services to individuals residing in Shawnee, Jackson and/or Jefferson Counties in Kansas and be an organization for charitable, health, welfare, character-building and allied purposes. The organization must be an eligible charitable organization as designated by the IRS code 170 or amendments thereto and be able to receive deductible contributions.

Who do they contact with questions?

Juliet McDiffett – – (785) 228-5122

When is the proposal due?

All applicants must first complete the Qualification Process. Those who are determined to be eligible must submit their full application via e-C Impact by 12:00 noon sharp on November 20, 2017. e-CImpact will not allow users to submit proposals after 12:00 noon.

Who will review the proposal and make investment decisions? 

Volunteers will review the proposals and make investment decisions.

What is the grant period?

The grant is expected to be for the period January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018

Are there minimum/maximum grant amounts?

Yes – $5,000 to $50,000

Is there an opportunity to appeal a grant decision?

All investment decisions are final.  There is no process for appeal.

Will there be a site visit?

The occurrence of site visits will be determined each cycle. If a site visit is needed, the grantee will be notified.

Glossary of United Way Grant Terms

Activities: The type of service provided or what the program does with the inputs (e.g., provide health screening, education, referrals and follow-up)

Collaboration: The work and activity of a number of persons or organizations who individually contribute toward the efficiency of the whole (Merriam-Webster online)

Crisis: An unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially: one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome  (Merriam-Webster online)

Evaluation Methods: The way information is collected including: case studies, record review, focus groups, interviews, observations, questionnaires, tests and mechanical measurement

Grant Review Panel: A group of volunteers from the community who review applications and make investment decisions

Inputs: Materials and resources that the program uses in its activities to serve clients (e.g., money, staff, staff time, volunteers, facilities, equipment)

Low-income: UWGT considers persons or households with annual incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to be low-income. Poverty guidelines are updated annually and can be found at:

Output: The quantity of goods or services produced in a given time period