United Way of the Midlands’ (UWM) investments seek to ensure the path to opportunity is open and accessible. Our broad scope of community investments supports the social service infrastructure in our community and creates a circle of support for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. Within our funding areas, we prioritize a variety of sub-populations that experience social and economic disparities – including single parents, seniors, disconnected youth, and others.

We’ve focused the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) fund on racial equity, and Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color (BIPOC) populations specifically, based on socioeconomic and health outcomes that are widely disproportional by race, as well as community stakeholder feedback.

The DEI Fund will invest in BIPOC-led community agencies working in greater Omaha with programming focused on increasing racial equity through Workforce Development, Entrepreneurship, Financial Education and/or Asset Building. Organizations must meet specific eligibility criteria related to their senior leadership, client population, geography, and program goals.

Further priority will be given to organizations:

  • Where racial equity is clearly embedded in the program/organization and leadership and staff are representative of their client population

  • Helping low-income, women, refugee/immigrant and/or other BIPOC intersectional populations secure high-wage employment and/or develop multigenerational financial assets

  • Collaborating with other agencies: Cost-sharing, co-locating, shared marketing efforts, formal referral processes, and/or joint programming

  • Removing barriers to service access by implementing creative and innovative strategies to ensure clients can access service

DEI Fund Categories

Workforce Development

Vocational/Skill Training





Acces Management

Financial Literacy



Job Search and Interview Assistance

Placement and Retention Services

Financial Education & Asset Development


Financial Literacy Curriculum

Why Establish a DEI Fund?

The DEI Fund gives UWM an opportunity to be more intentional and strategic with our investments as we strive to build a more united community by addressing the historic and systemic marginalization that exists. It will focus on racial equity, and BIPOC populations specifically, based on socioeconomic and health outcomes that are widely disproportional by race, and community stakeholder feedback. Advancing racial equity moves us beyond focusing on disparities alone, to focus on targeted strategies that support BIPOC populations and, in doing so, increase our collective success.

What the Data Tells Us

Challenges Faced by BIPOC-led nonprofit organizations in the U.S.

  • 63% lack access to individual donors (vs. 49% white)
  • 51% lack access to foundations (vs. 41% white)
  • 24% lower organizational revenues when compared to white counterparts
  • 76% smaller unrestricted net assets compared to white counterparts

Eligibility Criteria for DEI Fund Applications

  • At least 50% of the organization’s senior leadership must be BIPOC (or at least 25% if ED/CEO is BIPOC)
  • At least 65% of the program’s client population identifies as BIPOC
  • Is focused on increasing racial equity for adults/high school-age youth through DEI Fund categories
  • Active 501c3 or fiscally sponsored by one
  • Program residents reside in Pottawattamie, Sarpy and/or Douglas County

2022-2023 Process Overview

  • Community driven
  • One-year cycle (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023)
  • $400,000 for this initial investment cycle
  • 12 agency programs funded
  • 2/3 of funded agencies led by women of color
  • $33,000 average award

2022-2023 DEI Fund Agencies

Brighten Our Future Early Learning Center Logo

uwm investments

Since 2015, UWM has invested more than $12 million in organizations with leaders who identify as BIPOC. And, BIPOC populations make up nearly 50% of the client population served through UWM-funded programs. However, significant racial economic disparities remain due to historical and systemic marginalization.

Advancing racial equity will strengthen outcomes, while also moving us toward more inclusive strategies and interventions. By narrowing our lens, we hope to accomplish measurable change and strengthen the systems that support underserved communities. This work improves access and removes barriers, and in doing so, increases our collective success. Participating in UWM’s DEI fund is an opportunity to be more intentional and strategic with our investments as we strive to reduce disparities while strengthening diversity, equity and inclusivity in our community.

How to Apply for Funding

United Way of the Midlands is not accepting applications for the DEI Fund at this time. For questions, you can contact the UWM Community Impact & Analytics team at 402-522-7956 or via email at DEIcommunityinvestment@uwmidlands.org

Frequently Asked Questions

BIPOC is used as an inclusive term to acknowledge that all communities of color do not experience the same level of injustice (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/BIPOC). The term encompasses communities such as African Americans/Blacks, Native Americans/Alaska-Native, Asian Americans/Asians, and Latinos/a/x/ and Hispanics [non-exhaustive list]. We realize and respect that some members from these communities may prefer to view themselves through their cultural identifies instead of color-related terminology.

Diversity – The word “diversity” can mean different things to different people. We see it as the variety of identifiers that make an individual unique, such as race and ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, nationality, and life experiences. We acknowledge and respect this is one of many ways to define diversity.

Equity – Improving equity is to promote justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the underlying or root causes of outcome disparities within our society.

Inclusion – Refers to the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization or group. While a truly “inclusive” group is necessarily diverse, a “diverse” group may or may not be “inclusive” (adapted from the D5 Coalition.)

UWM defines racial equity as the process of eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. It is the intentional and continual practice of changing policies, practices, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change in the lives of BIPOC populations.

Adapted from Race Forward

For additional guidance, the UWM DEI Fund Application training can be accessed here.

UWM Staff will also host office hours between 1:00pm – 2:00pm on Thursday April 7th and Wednesday, April 20th. If you would like to attend one of these sessions, please RSVP by submitting an email to: DEIcommunityinvestment@uwmidlands.org