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Self-Sufficiency Community Impact Funding


All available community impact funding is currently committed through June 30, 2017. Future funding opportunities aligned with United Way of Erie County’s Self-Sufficiency Continuum will be announced at a later date.


Flexible Fund for “Safety Net” Resources


In 2015, United Way established a Flexible Fund (aka Flex Fund) to provide funding for short term (one to three years in duration) anticipated and unanticipated community needs consistent with our definition of Emergency and Basic Needs (aka safety net resources).  

Emergency and Basic Needs is defined as follows:

These basic services include emergency food, clothing and shelter, including assistance for older adults and those with disabilities, services for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, and services that respond in times of public disasters and other emergencies.

This fund is meant to address community-level needs, not agency or program specific needs.  

Anticipated Needs

Examples of anticipated community-level needs could include the following:

  • A reduction in federal or state funding for basic necessities such as food, homeless assistance, utility payment assistance and/or mortgage assistance.

    • Emergency Food and Shelter funding (FEMA)

    • Transitional housing funding (HUD)

  • Emerging community-wide issues.

    • The need for a homeless youth shelter

  • Community initiatives that align with the definition of Emergency and Basic Needs.

    • Unified Erie’s Enforcement and Reentry strategies

How the fund could be used:

  • In the event of Federal or state funding cuts, the fund could be used as bridge funding until the community is able to develop a revised strategy to address the need(s) and/or secure other funding. This funding is not intended to be an ongoing source of revenue.

  • For emerging community-wide issues and community initiatives, the Flex Fund could be used as start up funds or as leverage to secure additional, long-term funding.

Unanticipated Needs

Examples of unanticipated needs could include the following:

  • A health crisis like a measles epidemic.

  • Water crisis due to an algae bloom in Lake Erie or disruptions to a municipal water supply (similar to the situation in Bradford PA in Feb 2015 and SCI Albion in March 2015).

  • Weather –related crisis such as excessive snowfall or flooding; please note that any response would be done in conjunction with Erie County Public Safety.

How the fund could be used:

  • This flexible funding would be available ASAP, after United Way board approval, but could also be used to provide supportive services to victims throughout the recovery phase of the disaster.




  • July 1, 2016: $150,000 available.

  • July 1, 2017: $300,000 available.

  • July 1, 2018 and after: $450,000 available.

  • As much as 25% of the Flexible Fund could be held in reserve in periods when the volume of anticipated and unanticipated needs is less significant.  This would create a larger pool of funds for future years.

  • There is no minimum request amount.

  • Requests cannot total more than what is available in the Flex Fund




  • Anticipated Needs are identified through either a bi-annual survey completed by the Emergency and Basic Needs Advisory Panel (service providers) or through phone call, email, or in-person conversations with United Way staff. United Way staff will then work with the appropriate partners to complete a written request for funds.  A Request for Proposals process may be utilized if appropriate.

  • Potential needs are presented to the Emergency and Basic Needs Review Committee (subject matter experts, without a conflict of interest) for review and may necessitate one or more follow-up meetings.

  • The Review Committee makes a recommendation to United Way’s Community Building Committee (board level committee).

  • The Community Building Committee presents a funding motion at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

  • Depending on the severity of the need, the approval process may be expedited through ad-hoc committee meetings.

Contact Information

For more information or to submit a request, please contact either: