Breaking the Cycle

United Way’s investments to Break the Cycle of Childhood Poverty fund long-term preventative projects implemented by a formal collaboration of service providers. Funding for these projects may be multi-year, as opposed to annual investments to Meet Basic Needs. This is a new funding model for United Way, and one we are excited to embrace. “Breaking the Cycle” awards support projects that achieve community objectives in the areas of Income Stability, Education, Health, and are specifically related to creating cycles of family financial stability. United Way is committed to working closely with a broad range of partners to achieve lasting change, and to find and implement solutions that will positively impact lives today, and for future generations.

United Way is committed to:

  • Actively engaging and mobilizing individuals, corporations, and communities to give, advocate, and volunteer

  • Promoting and advancing collaborations, partnerships, and advocacy for long-term change in United Way focus areas

  • Investing money, expertise, and other resources in these innovative programs and strategies

  • Measuring, achieving, and communicating results, and then adapting to further strengthen and expand strategies

United Way’s Breaking the Cycle investments provide funding for projects that address the specific objectives related to income stability, education, and health outlined in United Way’s case statement for Breaking the Cycle of Childhood Poverty. Funded projects work closely with United Way and each other to deliver services in a highly collaborative way, engage volunteers and work towards using shared data collection and reporting methods to achieve community level outcomes.


Funding Framework & Components

Grants made in the 2016 Breaking the Cycle round will be for up to a two-year period.

Proposal selection is a two-step process:

  • Step One—Letter of Intent:  Proposals that pass an initial screen (completeness, eligibility and verification that proposals meet basic requirements) will be reviewed and evaluated by United Way’s Community Impact Committee, a standing sub-committee of United Way’s Board of Directors. The Community Impact Committee will select proposals to move on to Step 2. 
  • Step Two—Full Request for Proposal (RFP):  In this stage, applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal. The Community Impact Committee will form small Investments Teams to meet in-person with each Collaborative to answer questions about the process, discuss the proposal, and talk through any identified topics prior to the due date. Additional documentation related to eligibility criteria, limited supplemental information and site visits may be requested as part of this process as the Investments Team deems necessary. 

Funding recommendations will be presented to United Way’s Community Impact Committee and Board of Directors for review and final approval.  All funding decisions are final.


Goals & Strategies

Applications must address at least one (1) of the following goals:

Goal 1: increase access to quality childcare and out-of-school care for children and youth

Goal 2: Support academic success for youth, especially during periods of change and instability

Goal 3: Prepare young people for self-sufficiency after completion of high school or postsecondary education

Goal 4: Increase knowledge about financial management, connecting families to available long-tern financial resources, and creating systems to help families achieve financial stability

View the full Request for Proposal framework for Benton County

View the full Request for Prosal framework for LIncoln County



10-15-15: Benton Letter of Intent available

10-20-15: Benton Orientation, 4:00 - 5:30 pm

11-06-15: Lincoln Letter of Intent available

11-19-15: Lincoln Orientation, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm <REGISTER HERE>

12-15-15: Benton Letter of Intent due

01-14-16: Lincoln Letter of Intent due

02-01-16: Request for Proposal sent to qualifying projects (both counties)

TBA: Orientation for invited projects

Evaluation Team Meetings: as needed

05-03-16: RFP due (both counties)

07-14-16: Notification of intent to fund (both counties)

Reporting: TBA


Application information

The full Request for Proposal (Benton) and Request for Proposal (Lincoln) includes additional detail in the following areas:

  • Evaluation Criteria
  • General Instructions
  • Eligibility Criteria