Heart of Indiana United Way and Local Community Foundations Launch Equity Advancement Fund   

A teacher works with students during a reading lesson. Photo by storyblocksA teacher works with students during a reading lesson. Photo by storyblocks

By Kim Williams— 

DELAWARE COUNTY, INHeart of Indiana United Way (HIUW) in partnership with local Community Foundations serving Delaware, Henry, Madison, South Madison and Randolph counties announces the creation and launch of a new Equity Advancement Fund. The new mini-grants program is designed to help strengthen and advance equity locally.

“In looking at the organizations we have historically funded, we found a lack of grant applications from programs led by or serving the underrepresented and under-resourced in our community. These are programs working on the front lines to serve our minority communities, LGBTQ+ individuals, those with disabilities, non-English speaking, multi-lingual speakers and so many more. Many of these programs are grassroots, volunteer-directed, and very impactful but challenged by our current application process,” said Jenni Marsh, President and CEO of Heart of Indiana United Way.

These findings drove Heart of Indiana United Way to explore the creation of an Equity Advancement Fund and to reach out to Community Foundations as partners in the effort. The goal was to create an entry-level grants opportunity to help small, grassroots organizations that are led by or serve underrepresented communities but have not applied for funding in the past to easily enter the granting process and build relationships for future funding and capacity-building opportunities.

In speaking on the value of the partnership, Marcy Minton, President and CEO of The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County shared, “We feel the Equity Advancement Fund has the potential to build capacity and strengthen institutions, as well as providing an opportunity for the Heart of Indiana United Way and Community Foundations to show community leadership and a commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as a unified collaborative. We are eager to partner with United Way for this impactful initiative.”

At the heart of the new Equity Advancement Fund is a shared desire between United Way and local Community Foundations to close the gaps of disparities in the communities they serve and to drive lasting, positive change for not just a portion of the community served but all.

As part of the new fund’s launch, local community foundations have provided matching dollars to encourage donors to give and maximize the dollars available for equity advancement fund mini-grants. Heart of Indiana United Way is leading the fundraising effort in all 5 counties it serves.

“The more we can raise to support the fund, the more that will be available for local grants. This is a wonderful opportunity for individuals and businesses to support an effort dedicated to addressing the disparities in community needs,” shared Kim Williams, VP of Resource Development and Marketing for Heart of Indiana United Way. “Once the fund reaches its initial goal of $20,000, we will open a rolling grants cycle for grant requests.”

To donate to the Equity Advancement Fund, visit www.heartofindiana.org/equityfund or text “equityfund” to 41444.

For those interested in being notified once the fund is open for grant requests, visit www.heartofindiana.org/equityadvancementfund and provide your contact information on the link to receive updates.

For any questions or if you are interested in learning more about the Equity Advancement Fund, please contact Heart of Indiana United Way at 765-288-5586.

About Heart of Indiana United Way

Heart of Indiana United Way was established in July of 2021 when two organizations, United Way of Madison County (which also serves Fayette County) and United Way of Delaware, Henry & Randolph Counties, joined forces to transform and improve more lives in Indiana. Heart of Indiana United Way improves the quality of life across those five counties by engaging people and organizations to advance education, financial stability, and access to quality healthcare. 

About The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County

The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, Inc. encourages philanthropy, assists donors in building an enduring source of charitable assets, and exercises leadership in directing resources to enhance the quality of life for residents of Muncie and Delaware County. Since 1985, community members and businesses have helped the Foundation grow our endowment to $83 million. Using the earnings on the endowment, the Foundation distributes grants to nonprofit organizations, including scholarships to support students through post-secondary education. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly $65 million to enhance the quality of life of the residents of Muncie and Delaware County.