Community Investment Strategy

Learn how we lead with impact.

Our Commitment to Community


United Way of Greater St. Louis is leading with impact. By evolving its 100-year funding model, United Way is aiming to have even greater impact in our region. The community investment model assesses the prevalent needs of the community and aligns funding decisions to help meet those needs. Through community input, nonprofit partnerships, and strategic funding, United Way is continuing to foster a stronger and healthier St. Louis region for us all.


This strategic approach will help your dollars go even further, so you can do what you love doing: help people live their best possible lives.


Funding Categories

Safety Net

Nonprofit organizations providing direct services in our 16-county service area to address needs identified in the Community Needs Assessment


Organizations providing backbone, collective impact, and/or services to address community needs identified in the Community Needs Assessment


As emergency or crisis support is needed in our community, United Way will support programs and organizations meeting those needs through targeted fundraising and grantmaking efforts

How We Got Here


See the Community Investment timeline and keep up with the progress being made.


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1. Understanding our community's needs

1. Understanding our community's needs

The first step was to gain a deeper understanding of the prevalent, critical and emerging issues local people face and the services and resources they need to succeed.

  • United Way conducted a comprehensive Community Needs Assessment to identify and prioritize needs across our 16-county region and within our five key impact areas.

  • Leveraging existing data, community engagement, and qualitative and quantitative data, the Community Needs Assessment included a public survey to learn about the residents of our region and their vision for the future.

  • We commissioned four institutions to collaborate on the Community Needs Assessment to ensure quality, credibility and accountability. These institutions are: Brown School Evaluation Center at Washington University in St. Louis; University of Missouri–St. Louis’ Community Innovation and Action Center; USI with InvestSTL, an initiative of the St. Louis Community Foundation, Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, and WePower; and Allie Chang Ray, Mutare Network. Each partner had a specific role in conducting and completing the Assessment.

2. Selecting local nonprofits to support

2. Selecting local nonprofits to support

With a greater understanding of the needs across our region, United Way can direct funding and support where it will help local people most.

  • Aligned with the Community Needs Assessment results and funding priorities, United Way has opened an online application process for local organizations.

  • Utilizing trained staff and community volunteers, all applications will be reviewed and scored through a weighted formula that includes depth and breadth of services, outcomes and impact, alignment with community needs, and a diversity, equity and inclusion lens.

  • Selected nonprofits will begin receiving funding in 2021 through a three-year grant cycle, and annual funding will be dependent upon availability of unrestricted funds, nonprofit performance and community need.

3. Monitoring partner outcomes and impact

3. Monitoring partner outcomes and impact

We are a steward of the community’s dollars, and we don’t take that lightly. United Way will continue to require monitoring and reporting of impact for non-profit partners to ensure quality and accountability.

Leading With Impact

Learn about our community investment strategy that helps us lead with impact.

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