AUGUSTA — When the United Way of Kennebec Valley begins awarding grant funds next year, the nonprofit will do it in a new way and to a broader array of organizations.

The change is due to the Impact2032 initiative, a communitywide effort to identify and pursue a series of goals that are expected to improve life for people in Kennebec County over the next decade by focusing the attention of the public and private sectors on three areas: health, education and financial stability, and creating a map to reach these goals.

“What’s really exciting about this year is not only have we revamped the process, but this is also the first year since our expansion to include northern Kennebec County that we are opening up the process to the entire county,” said Courtney Yeager, executive director of United Way of Kennebec Valley. “And we’re really hoping that we’ll have new organizations that have never had a relationship with us in the past reach out and apply for funding.”

As the first organization to endorse Impact2032, the United Way of Kennebec Valley has changed how it makes its resources available, expanding the pool of organizations to be considered for funding beyond nonprofit organizations to include municipalities, tribal governments and local schools. And beginning next year, the funding cycle will be for two years.

“We anticipate we’ll receive more applications than we have ever seen before,” Yeager said.



How the United Way considers this funding process has also changed. Yeager said what were once yearly allocations are now community investment funds, and those funds will be used to make grants between $5,000 and $50,000 for specific programs or projects that advance IMPACT2032 goals. Agencies and organizations receiving the money will be expected to report how their programs meet the goals.

It is not yet clear how much money the United Way will award. Its annual fundraising campaign is now underway, with a couple of more months to run.

Sue Grenier and Nate Curtis, the campaign’s co-chairs, said that to date, the annual fundraiser has raised more than $1 million, or more than halfway to the campaign’s goal.

“It’s a $2 million in 2022 thing,” said Grenier, who is client service coordinator at G&E Roofing Co Inc.

For the campaign to reach its goal, donors from across the county are being asked to round their gift amounts upward.

A little more than a year ago, the United Way of Kennebec Valley extended its coverage to include communities in northern Kennebec County that had been served by the United Way of Mid-Maine. That brought the organization a wider region for fundraising and a wider region to serve with grants and other support.


Curtis of Gagnon Dental of Farmingdale said this season will be the first full campaign that includes organizations in the northern part of Kennebec County and the campaign has reached out to dozens of new businesses to help reach higher target.

“I think it’s a good thing that we have set a lofty goal this year,” Curtis said, noting that while inflation was not a part of early conversations on setting the goal, its impact is clear.

“(Inflation) is a fact and each dollar is worth a little less. So in order to get the same level of impact out to the partner programs that we’re trying to help out, we need to give them more money to do the same thing.”

While the funding decisions are still months off, an important deadline is coming up. Anyone interested in applying for funds must submit a letter of intent no later than 4 p.m. on Nov. 22. Programs that are chosen to continue to the next level will be notified by Nov. 30.

Those chosen will have until the end of January to submit a full application for the volunteer review panel to review. The panel is expected to make funding recommendations to the United Way of Kennebec Valley board of directors in the spring.

Yeager said more than three dozen people attended a training session last week, including representatives of organizations with which the United Way does not now have a relationship. Yeager said the United Way keeps a list of organizations that have expressed interest in funding and all been notified of the changes.

“Right now, we are funding 49 nonprofit programs in Kennebec County,” Yeager said. “We anticipate that we’re going to receive more applications than we have ever received before.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.