Social Innovation Investments

The Social Innovation funding category (previously titled “Community Assessment Response Funds” and/or “R&D Funds”) is intended as an impact accelerator, which invests money and resources in promising social ventures focused on solutions that address the root causes of systemic poverty through collaborative efforts. Social innovation refers to new products, services, and ways of working that meet social needs and strengthen our community.

While United Way proudly supports established non-profits that provide much needed products and services in our community, we realize it’s not always feasible or prudent for these organizations to change course or divert resources to explore a new initiative. With that in mind, Social Innovation Investments are unique in 3 ways:

  1. Innovation:  SI investments enable new or existing organizations that place social impact at the heart of their business model to apply for funding for groundbreaking ventures and/or research.
  2. Timeframe:  The open, competitive application process is completed quickly, saving valuable time and resources that are scarce for an early stage venture.
  3. Collaboration:  SI investments promote the leveraging of resources in our community through collaborative efforts that enable multi-disciplinary, holistic and larger-scale approaches.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must serve residents living within a 30-mile radius of Waterloo
  • Must maintain 501(c)(3) status, or if not a 501(c)(3), must have a fiscal sponsor with this status
  • Must be able to clearly identify the goals for learning or social change and how progress will be monitored
  • Must involve a collaborative meeting with United Way prior to written proposal
  • Must receive invitation from Cedar Valley United Way

Download the Social Innovation Investments Information in a Word document