United Way of Washtenaw County Invests Nearly $200,000 to Address Impacts of Racial and Economic Inequity

ANN ARBOR, MI (November 12, 2019)- United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) announces recipients of its Opportunity Fund grants.  A total of 13 programs are receiving nearly $200,000 to address the downstream impacts of continued racial and economic inequity in Washtenaw County.  Funded organizations are delivering solutions that prioritize people with low incomes and communities of color.

“UWWC is working towards a time where, in Washtenaw County, your zip code no longer determines your opportunity in life. At present, it does,” notes Bridget Healy, Vice President of Impact & Advocacy at UWWC. “This year’s grantees are all advancing this vision with us, delivering solutions to that address the negative impacts of racism and poverty in our community.”


These investments are responding to inequities in various ways. Some programs receiving support include: 

  • A Brighter Way, an initiative focusing on eliminating the barriers for those returning to the community with a criminal record through mentorship and social support.

  • Michigan Organization for Adolescent Sexual Health will work alongside the Washtenaw Intermediate School District Transgender Task Force to develop a coordinated effort to improve educational outcomes of transgender youth in Washtenaw County.

  • A pilot program launched by Our House which will pair community volunteers willing to provide a non-permanent housing solution to a young person aging out of foster care experiencing housing insecurity. 

  • An enhancement of Peace House Ypsi’s day shelter to help individuals experiencing homelessness gain the tools and resources to get back on their feet.


Other agencies receiving grants are Black Men Read, Children’s Literacy Network, Faith in Action, Friends in Deed, Neutral Zone, University of Michigan - Telling It, Washtenaw Intermediate School District, and Ypsilanti District Library. 


“Washtenaw County is home to the most educated city in America. It’s also a place where 27% of employed households struggle to meet their basic needs,” shared Pam Smith, UWWC’s President. “It is troubling that, even in Washtenaw County, inequity exists at all.  We believe we can do better.”


For a full list of programs and descriptions, visit our website at uwgive.org/grants.



UWWC’s Opportunity Fund grants provide support for organizations whose work benefits our priority populations in Washtenaw County: populations with lower incomes, communities of color and groups deemed to be marginalized. In addition to the above, these grants are meeting an emergent, unmet need; piloting a promising or evidence-based practice;  prioritizing systematic racial equity.



As part of our 98-year history, the United Way of Washtenaw County brings people, organizations and resources together to create a thriving community for everyone. Our focus areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability provide the building blocks to strengthen the community and create opportunities for individuals and families. Our Volunteer Center provides an easy online way for people to connect with nonprofits in the community and our 2-1-1 helpline refers more than 8,000 people annually to critically needed services. To learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit uwgive.org.