uwkv Innovation fund

The Innovation Fund application process is now open. applications are due june 30, 2022 at 4pm.

In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, innovation in the social sector is essential. With needs growing by the day, creative solutions to address entrenched issues are more important than ever. Kennebec Valley’s nonprofits work tirelessly to support our most vulnerable neighbors. With the day-to-day intensity of serving local people in our communities, little time and resources are left to test innovative approaches that could expand services to more people in need—that's where United Way comes in.

We are seeking proposals that experiment, pilot, or test new ideas and approaches that can lead to breakthroughs in UWKV’s priority areas and help redesign the future of the Kennebec Valley. UWKV defines an “innovative” approach as a novel solution that is more effective, efficient, collaborative, and/or sustainable than current solution(s). The recipient organization must be a Kennebec County nonprofit 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt organization, public school, municipal entity, Indian Tribal government or can demonstrate a legal relationship with an established 501(c)(3) acting as the fiscal agent. 

Nonprofits will be eligible to apply for one-time grants of $10,000-$30,000 from now through June 30, 2022 (separate from allocations funding).

The entire community benefits when nonprofits can be responsive to evolving needs. Local nonprofits are encouraged to submit innovative ideas that address the following priority areas, though other requests may be considered.

o Diversity, equity and inclusion
o Housing
o Human trafficking
o Substance use disorder and overdose deaths
o LGBTQ+ population
o Food insecurity
o Systems improvement
o Collaboration amongst nonprofits
o Cross-sector partnerships

To apply, please send a completed application and the required documents to Courtney Yeager at before 4pm on June 30th.

2022 Innovation Fund Application


2022 Proposal Evaluation Criteria





May 25

Post application and evaluation criteria

June 2, 3pm

Virtual informational meeting (optional)

June 30

Applications due

Week of July 18

Committee reviews applications; selects finalists

Week of July 25

Finalist presentations

Week of August 1

Committee selects winners

August 12

Board of Directors approves winners

Week of August 15

Winners publicly announced

March 1, 2023

Six-month grant reports due

November 1, 2023

Final grant reports due

last year's Innovation Fund Winners 

Big brothers big sisters of mid-maine—$30,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine—in partnership with Sylvio J. Gilbert Elementary School and the Augusta Police Department—has been awarded $30,000 for its Bigs with Badges program. This program aims to prevent children from seeing law enforcement as an adversary by connecting youth (Littles) with law enforcement officers and first responders (Bigs) to build lasting relationships through one-on-one mentoring. The result impacts the lives of children facing adversity by fostering strong bonds founded on trust and understanding. Bigs with Badges is the first program of its kind not only in the Kennebec Valley but in the state of Maine.

healthy communities of the capital area—$15,000

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area (HCCA), responds to the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in Kennebec Valley by establishing a LGBTQ+ Youth Experience Summer Supports (LGBTQ+ YeSS) program. 

The LGBTQ+ YeSS program will provide a safe, supportive environment for youth programming beginning in the summer of 2022. Not only does this project create a supportive network between youth-serving entities, but it is also a primary prevention project as it increases the protective factors of LGBTQ+ youth and reduces risk factors that are correlated with substance use, depression and anxiety.