Community Partner Renewal Application Process

Berkshire United Way announces a funding renewal application process for currently funded community partners for a one-year period, from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

 

This will be by invitation only. This process will extend our funded programs for a second year of funding. Our current funding priorities remain: Early Childhood Development, Youth Development, and Economic Prosperity. The amount of funding available will be determined by the current community campaign totals, which will be finalized by May 2022. Our goal will be to maintain current program funding levels i.e., flat funding.

Each current funded program must submit the following by April 15:

  • FY23 Renewal Application (pre-populated application to be sent to primary contact via email to invited applicants only)
  • FY23 Organization Budget (download below)
  • FY23 Program Budget (download below)

NOTE: BUW grant funds are meant to be flexible and support the needs of the program as they are determined. Funds cannot be used for: political or partisan purposes, religious programs, capital improvements, annual fund or campaign appeals, endowments, or for-profit organizations.

Renewal Process Timeline

  • April 15: Renewal application due
  • May 11: Volunteer decisions (Community Impact Committee meeting)
  • June 15: Award notifications and contracts
  • July 15: Funding begins

If you have questions, contact Katherine von Haefen, Director of Community Impact, at kvonhaefen@berkshireunitedway.org.

Priority Focus Areas

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been extremely challenging for our families with young children. Families are balancing economic and food insecurity, childcare, and remote learning with schools. BUW seeks to fund programs within agencies that are committed to ensuring that all children and families have the opportunity to build protective factors.  

The Center for the Study of Social Policy states “Protective factors are characteristics that have been shown to make positive outcomes more likely for young children and their families, and to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.”  Programs must be able to demonstrate the ability to address one or more of the following protective factors: 1) Nurturing and attachment; 2) Knowledge of parenting and child development; 3) Parental resilience; 4) Social connections; 5) Concrete supports for parents; 6) Social and emotional competence of children.

Greatest emphasis will be put on quality early learning environments that are rooted in early childhood development, providing intensive parenting support, building social/emotional and literacy skills, and assisting with early grade reading. 

Programs must be able to demonstrate the following program outcomes:

  • Numbers Served – children and adults
  • Demographics of people served
  • Children progressing or maintaining in their social/emotional development
  • Children progressing or maintaining in their language development

Our Berkshire County youth are experiencing higher levels of anxiety and depression due to the isolating effects of COVID-19. BUW seeks to support programs within agencies that foster healthy youth development for middle school and high school youth. A greater emphasis will be placed on mental health supports, work-based learning experiences, mentoring, and activities that build career readiness skills.

Internships provide youth with experiential learning/internship opportunities they need to succeed in the world of work. Work based learning with high schools and career and technical education provide students the ability to learn employability skills such as problem solving, communication, and teamwork.

Mentoring can significantly shape the path to a successful adulthood. Research shows that mentoring programs are most effective when youth and adults develop a supportive and trusting relationship.

The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) frames career readiness activities in three parts: “Career Awareness” or becoming ‘aware’ of potential careers; “Career Exploration” or ‘exploring’ career interest areas & career readiness; and “Career Immersion” or learning the specifics skills & knowledge within a career pathway area.

Programs must be able to demonstrate the following program outcomes:

  • Numbers served – youth and adults
  • Demographics of people served
  • Youth demonstrating improved soft skill/professional skills development (i.e. critical thinking/problem solving, communication, teamwork, leadership)

Many Berkshire County households experienced great financial stress in 2020. One of the biggest challenges remains not having enough adequate income to meet their basic needs. BUW seeks to support programs that will help families build their path to obtaining sustainable incomes. This effort also supports local businesses’ workforce development needs, helping to build mobility for all. 

One effective framework is Courses 2 Employment, which integrates industry partners, educational institutions, and social/community support strategies. In this model, education and support organizations are responsive to business needs and are flexible in offering training programs that provide appropriate technical skills training and basic skill development. Support organizations provide intensive case management for young adult learners including motivational support and coordinating referrals/follow through with social services, as needed.

Programs must be able to demonstrate the following program outcomes:

  • Individuals served
  • Demographics of people served
  • Individuals receiving job-relevant licenses, certificates, and/or credentials
  • Individuals who gain employment or increase wages