Racial Equity Community Fund


The United Way envisions a just, equitable and inclusive community for residents of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Today, however, we are falling devastatingly short in providing equitable opportunities for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in our county. BIPOC Douglas County residents face racist disparities in health, education, income, housing, and safety. 

These disparities are a result of systemic racism that is perpetuated intentionally and unintentionally through institutions, culture, and individuals. The United Way of Douglas County acknowledges that the fight against poverty must be inclusive and anti-racist. Because racism is ingrained in the fabric of American institutions, it is easily self-perpetuating. All that is required to maintain it is business as usual. In our fight to end poverty, the United Way has taken a stand to not do “business as usual” if it perpetuates racial or other forms of inequities.


Traditional funding models are troubled by an imbalance of power and a lack of support for new applicants. As a result, the funding process favors the privileged and is often inaccessible to new, innovative, BIPOC led efforts. The focus of this fund is to support projects that build community, leadership, and direct supports for all marginalized community groups. Our simple goal is to recognize that Black, Indigenous, People of Color in Douglas County are best suited to lead change, and it is the responsibility of funders to alter processes and create a safe space for BIPOC leaders to participate and prosper.


Racial Equity efforts must be BIPOC led. As such, the 2022 grant process will be facilitated by Janine Colter, owner of Hidden Jewell Salon and previous grant recipient. Janine is a community leader and skilled connector. Additionally, guidance and resources will be available to new applicants through office hours, one-on-one help, and a “safe to fail” mindset. All grant materials have been designed to be accessible and inviting to new applicants.


Funds will be invested in grassroots and/or community nonprofit organizations in Douglas County, KS with projects focused on increasing equity and opportunities for local BIPOC communities. These grants provide support for organizations or individuals whose work benefits people with low incomes, communities of color, and historically and/or systematically marginalized people. Collaborative efforts and coalitions are eligible to apply. You do NOT have to be a 501c3, non-profit organization. This funding is for anyone wanting to lead and create change.

Priority will be given to organizations:

  • led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color with organizational mission and goals focused on elevating and increasing equity for Black, Indigenous, People of Color
  • leading efforts that include power-building with and for BIPOC communities
  • taking a multi-generational approach that priorities youth and families
  • aligning with United Way’s mission of ending poverty, facilitated by equitable access to quality education, healthcare, jobs, housing, food, and community engagement
  • that embed trauma-informed practices into their work by acknowledging the widespread impact of trauma

Not eligible for funding:

  • Organizations with budgets over $500,000
  • Organizations with less than 25% BIPOC executive leaders and board members
  • Government programs
  • Other foundations or granting programs
  • Public, private, or charter schools
  • College or university programs
  • Businesses or business associations
  • Organizations outside of the Douglas County, KS service area
  • 501c3 nonprofits designated as a church or religious organization


Applicants may be selected to receive between $500 and $5,000 in funding. Funding begins February 2, 2022, with an August 31 completion date. Applications Due Wednesday, January 19, 2022.


The priority population for these funds are Black, Indigenous, People of Color living in Douglas County, KS.

At least 75% of people served through the Racial Equity Community Fund should identify as Black/African American, Indigenous/Native, Asian Pacific Islander, Chican@/Latinx, Middle Eastern, and/or People of Color.

Priority will be given to projects that focus on the intersections of BIPOC identities, bringing those systemically pushed to the margins to the center of the project. These intersections may include:re

  • Socioeconomic status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Age
  • Ability
  • Immigration status

The highest priority will be given to projects focused on the intersections of racism and poverty.

While important, the following activities are not eligible for funding:

  • Direct service/safety net supports that are contingent on agreement to case management, education, continued program participation, or citizenship status
  • Individual grants or scholarships
  • Research expenses
  • Capital or endowment campaigns



The eligible activity categories for funding are Direct Supports, Advocacy, and Community Building. Please reference the table below for specifics on each.


Direct Supports


Community Building

What it is

Activities that support and/or serve an individual, family, or group with a direct service need

Activities that aim to influence decisions within political, economic and social institutions 

Activities directed toward the creation or enhancement of community, both place-based and identity-based, serving to develop community assets, social capital, and decrease isolation through stigmatization

Examples of funded activities

(not an exclusive list)

Meal preparation and/or delivery


Early liberation literacy programs (book drives & tutoring that highlight BIPOC strengths and culture)


Jail bail-out Black and Indigenous parents to reunite with families


Basic needs supplies to individuals and families


Attorney and expungement fees

Education that will inform and activate residents on policy advocacy and community organizing


Racial equity and justice education to counteract the impact of white supremacy


Activities to “till the soil” for advocacy, including root cause and power analysis, and campaign development.


Advocacy coalition building


Direct action

Mobilizing residents to take action on community-level change


Leadership programs that identify, develop, and mobilize new community leaders for racial justice


Activities that foster inclusive communities of belonging (e.g. public art, block parties and BBQs, neighborhood “walk-up” movie nights, community concerts featuring BIPOC artists)




Applications are due no later than Wednesday, January 19th at 5:00pm. Application assistance is available. If you are unfamiliar with grant writing or just need some support. Please reach out.







All completed applications will be assessed through an ethical and compassionate review process by the Community Impact Committee, United Way Operations Director, and grant facilitator. You may be contacted if additional information or clarification is needed at any time throughout the review process.  Funding decisions will be communicated before February 1, 2022.



The accuracy and completeness of your application will help the grant reviewers to conduct a fair and thorough review. Our goal is to fund the programs that will best serve those most impacted by poverty and discrimination, as identified through a thorough review process whereby applications are scored using a standardized rubric so that all applicants are evaluated on the same criteria.


The following criteria are used when reviewing proposals:

  1. Is the application thorough and complete?
  2. Does the applicant have the capacity to carry out proposed activities?
  3. Is the project activity aligned with the fund goal?
  4. Do the proposed activities align to achieve the goal?
  5. Is the project well thought-out with adequate planning?
  6. Does the project have a plan to meaningfully measure and report success?
  7. Is the budget complete, accurate & clear?
  8. Does the organization have majority BIPOC leadership?

For more information:

CONTACT: Mandy Enfield

EMAIL: menfield@unitedwaydgco.org

PHONE: (785) 843-6626 x1001or text (913) 406-4866

CONTACT: Janine Colter

EMAIL: janinecolter@sunflower.com

PHONE: (785) 312-0213




Hidden Jewel


Janine seeks to continue creating a space in her shop for Black people to come get their hair done, and to talk about health and their families. Janine, at no cost, counsels her clients on what health issues their hair health may reveal, and has helped Black clients discover root causes to their hair concerns through encouraging them to initiate discussions with their doctors. Janine wants her clients to continue coming in and investing in knowing and advocating for their bodies.


Clare's Community Closet


Community Closet to provide clothing and supplies to those in need.


Sunrise Project


Sunrise Project proposes to host a spring session of Activate Your Voice, a leadership and civic engagement training that prioritizes Black, Indigenous and People of Color.


We All We Got


Black Summer will build on previous work and center Black Mama’s while building community. There will be two components.
1. A Black Mama's Mother's Day action to support Black Mamas
2. An educational series on historical Black moments and Resistance incorporating oral tradition, communal meals, art and ending with a block party


Sanctuary Alliance Lawrence, KS


Sanctuary Alliance and the City of Lawrence have worked on and completed an ordinance to support immigrants in the community and prevent city staff from unnecessary contact with federal enforcement regarding immigration matters. Sanctuary Alliance has also created an emergency fund in which those affected by detention/deportation or have the status of undocumented can request funds to support daily life. This includes, rent assistance, legal fees, bill assistance etc.


Sisters With A Purpose (SWAP)


SWAP is a growing community-based organization out of Lawrence, Kansas dedicated to fighting for justice. Our mission is to advocate for those who have been affected by institutional racism and systemic inequality by campaigning for laws and procedures that ensure quality healthcare, housing and employment opportunities for marginalized individuals. We will do this by being a positive force for change in our community; by bringing people of all backgrounds together, supporting the education of our youth, and fostering positive relationships between the community and local law enforcement.


Indigenous Community Center Ad-Hoc Group


"Telling our Stories through an Indigenous Perspective and Lens" will focus on creating videos to share on our social media platforms to describe the Indigenous community center's services and programs. 



Maseualkaulli Farms


The BIPOC Communal Cook Program (CCP) seeks to mentor beginner cooks.