If I have a contact at United Way of the Columbia-Willamette can I submit a request directly to that staff member?

No, please submit your request through our online submission form only. Find the link here.


Can I submit additional materials with my request?

No, please only answer the application questions provided.


How many projects may I submit requests for?

Only one submission per organization per project will be reviewed during the fiscal year (July 1-June 31). If you have more than one project you wish to submit for please only submit the one you feel is the best aligned with this fund.


Once I have submitted, how long will it take for my request to be reviewed?

There are two award cycles this fiscal year. Internal review of requests will take place the month after the submission period has ended with awards disbursed the month following review. For example, if you submit your request in cycle 1, the cycle closes in November, it will be reviewed in December and, if accepted, will be awarded in January. If your request was not successful you may not apply again until the next fiscal year.

  • Note: In rare cases, the Internal Review Committee may select to roll an application over to a subsequent review month (For example, an application submitted for review in December may be rolled over for review in May).



How many times can I apply per fiscal year?

A single organization can apply once per fiscal year. There are two Catalyst fund cycles within in the fiscal year, cycle 1 occurs in the winter (opens in Oct.) and cycle 2 occurs in the spring (Opens in April). In some cases, the Internal Review Committee may select to roll an application over to a subsequent review cycle, in which case the applicant will be notified and potentially asked for updated information on project status.



Can I apply multiple times for the same project in consecutive years?

Once a project has been awarded funding, you cannot apply for catalyst funds again for that same project. The same organization can apply consecutive years for different projects, or if the project was not funded, you can apply again in consecutive or subsequent years.


Is there a time of the year when it is more advantageous to submit a request?

Please consider the following:

  • The total fund ($100,000) will be disbursed equally over the course of the year, with an estimated maximum of $50,000 being awarded each review cycle.
  • We urge you to consider which of the two review periods will best align with the scope of your project when you decide to apply. For example, if the proposed project/effort takes place in the winter, it may be better to apply in during the first cycle submission period.


How do we define an improvement to a system or in network capacity?

Awards will be made for projects/efforts which seek to positively impact their community by advancing racial equity through at least one of the following:

  • Supporting individual and/or systemic advocacy
  • Improving networks’/systems’ effectiveness in supporting communities
  • Supporting opportunities for knowledge building


Do you provide feedback for denied proposals?

We do our best to provide feedback on proposals when requested. However, due to the streamlined process for catalyst review the ability to provide specific feedback is often limited.


My project took longer than expected or is ongoing. Can I re-apply for additional funding?

No, once a project has been awarded Catalyst funding it is no longer eligible to apply for funds in the future. The Catalyst Fund is designed to be one time investments to initiate or strengthen a project or program.

In rare cases, we might invite proposals for projects that are ongoing or need additional support to apply for additional investment through a separate process. These Continued Support Funds are by invitation only and are determined based on their strategic alignment with United Ways agenda to break the cycle of childhood poverty in our region.


Are there some examples of previous Catalyst Fund projects/efforts?

Yes, you can find examples of previous and/or currently funded projects here: https://www.unitedway-pdx.org/catalyst-fund