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United Way of Metro Chicago announces United Neighborhoods Equity Fund

United Way of Metro Chicago announces United Neighborhoods Equity Fund

Grant applications for $50k now open for small, Black and brown-led Chicago nonprofits

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Aug. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Way of Metro Chicago today opened applications for their new United Neighborhoods Equity Fund (UNEF). UNEF aims to support small, Black and brown-led nonprofits predominantly located on the city's south and west sides and south suburban region, and connect them to new investment opportunities. Each of the 10 grantees will be awarded $50,000 of unrestricted funds over a two-year cycle to be used according to the needs of each nonprofit. 

Research by Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group shows that leaders of color face challenges connecting to funders, building rapport, and securing and sustaining support for culturally relevant strategies. This has led to significant disparities in investment. Black-led organizations dedicated to improving outcomes for Black men have revenue that is 45% lower than organizations with white leaders. 

With UNEF, United Way will assist Black and brown-led organizations in building capacity at the grassroots level to accelerate neighborhood-driven outcomes and mentor them to plan for long-term success. 

UNEF is made possible with the generous support of founding sponsor Peoples Gas, which committed $1 million to the initiative, and corporate sponsors Nicor Gas and Target. DePaul University is providing professional leadership development and training to the grantees.

"Investing in community-based organizations and the leaders who have the knowledge and expertise to maximize the potential that exists in those communities is essential to the prosperity not just of each neighborhood, but of the entire region," said Charles Matthews, president and CEO of Peoples Gas. "When we learned about the opportunity to support the Equity Fund, we immediately came on board because like United Way, we're committed to strengthening the neighborhoods where we work and live on Chicago's south and west sides.'"

Over the course of the two year grant cycle, grantees will be connected to corporate partners in the communities they serve, receive a year of capacity building support from DePaul's nonprofit management program and have opportunities to network with their cohort of other selected grantees.

"We're fortunate to have exceptional corporate partners who believe in our efforts to support and fund neighborhood-led coalitions that galvanize resources, ideas and energy so every one of our neighborhoods and our region becomes stronger," said president and CEO of United Way Sean Garrett. 

Applications for UNEF close on August 15th. Visit United Way of Metro Chicago's website to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

United Way of Metro Chicago brings together businesses, government, nonprofits, and community leaders to deliver funding, resources, and expertise to nonprofit organizations across greater Chicago. We are working alongside our partners at the neighborhood level to tackle the systemic issues that have plagued our region, creating communities where children and families can thrive. United, we're building stronger neighborhoods for a stronger Chicago region. To learn more, visit

Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC), is a regulated natural gas delivery company that serves more than 878,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the city of Chicago. You can find more information about natural gas safety, energy efficiency and other energy-related topics at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @peoplegaschi.

Contact: Walker Post

Phone: 773-597-7504

Marilyn Jackson

Phone: 312-906-2387

Peoples Gas: David Schwartz  

312-240-7854 (office)                                                      

312-420-1628 (cell)

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SOURCE United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

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