Dubuque United Way awards $850,000 in local grants for second year

United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States announced its annual grants, giving money to the same 31 local nonprofit organizations as last year to continue funding their programs.

In total, United Way gave $850,000 in grants for the second consecutive year to organizations within its 10-county region. All programs funded by the grants fall under the categories of health, education and income.

Paula Paider Licht, United Way director of community building and impact, said 2021 marks the second year of a two-year funding cycle, so no new organizations were eligible to apply for this year’s grants. Last year, recipients also received $850,000 in total funds.

“I’m the lucky person that got to send out the emails that said their programs were fully funded for a second year,” she said. “They all say, ‘Thank you so much. You don’t know what this means to the people we serve.’”

She added that fundraising has been more of a challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as United Way typically visits workplaces to meet with potential donors.

But while $850,000 is less grant funding than United Way has given in previous years, Paider Licht said the 31 recipients were able to serve more than 36,000 community members within the first six months of receiving their 2020 grants.

She added that United Way is just under its $1.2 million fundraising goal, which it has until the end of May to meet. By meeting that goal, United Way will be able to bump up grant funding for next year.

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dubuque received one of the largest United Way grants in the past two years. Executive Director Brian Meyer said the grant funds its meal program for children.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the Boys & Girls Club has served more than 125,000 meals to the community.

“The real big thing is making sure that people in need get a nutritious evening meal,” he said. “I think the big thing that people don’t realize is that it’s not just a physical thing but a cognitive thing. So being able to provide meals is very important.”