Fund Details
2019 Innovation Award
Award Amount



Innovation: the introduction of something new; a new idea, method, custom or device; to make changes; to do something in a new way

Deadline for Submission of Applications: Electronic applications must be received no later than March 15, 2019 11:59 PM. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

(805) 541-1234

Contact Linda Wingert, Community Engagement Director (

Premier Sponsor: Don Maruska & Company, Inc.

The United Way of San Luis Obispo County Innovation Award recognizes a local not-for-profit organization for creative, effective and inventive programs that provide value to SLO County. The program achieves measurable results and utilizes a variety of resources and partnerships within and outside of the nonprofit community, adapting to the changing conditions in our community to meet critical social needs. The program increases the capacity of our community to work collaboratively to improve existing services, service delivery and information distribution. One award in the amount of $5,000 will be given.

The award recipient exhibits these key characteristics through its service delivery:

Eliminating the root causes that perpetuate unacceptable health and human service conditions, creating pathways to lasting community change.

Forge and strengthen partnerships, effectively leverage resources, within and outside of the nonprofit community.

Inspiring and implementing change in organizational culture and continued adaptation to meet the changing conditions and needs of our communities.

Taking an inventive approach that makes a significant stride toward impacting structural change.

United Way supports programs and activities in four major impact areas, Education, Health, Financial Stability and Community Strengthening. Through these initiatives, United Way of San Luis Obispo County and other local nonprofits are able to address the complexity of people’s lives and local communities, making positive changes and increasing the quality of life for SLO County residents.

Childhood and youth success is the cornerstone of individual and community success. These programs promote a well-rounded education and provide necessary tools for youth to reach their potential and develop the skills needed to become active participants in the community.

Improved economic mobility helps families, individuals and youth with limited resources achieve and maintain their independence and supporting services that foster self-sufficiency and long-term stability.

Programs advocating for healthy lifestyle choices and ensuring access for community residents to primary and preventive health care, education and services to attain physical and mental well-being.

By increasing the quantity, quality, or efficiency of the services, operations or capacity of a nonprofit organization, enhancing collaborations in which two or more agencies achieve shared positive outcomes, or encouraging community volunteerism, we build capacity to advance the Common Good.

Innovation Award nominees must meet the following criteria (REQUIREMENTS):

•Have a current tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3)
•May not discriminate against recipients of program services because of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical and/or mental disability
•Finalists may be requested to provide documentation for a financial review of the program, and/or a site visit may be conducted at the program’s location

Innovation Awards are not available to the following (EXCLUSIONS):

•Fraternal organizations, unless in support of a specific program open to or benefiting the entire community without regard to membership status
•Governmental organizations, unless part of a collaborative project with a community-based organization
•Organizations and programs designed to elect candidates to public office
•Organizations with religious or membership affiliations unless the program is open to the entire community without regard to religious beliefs or membership status
•Organizations located outside San Luis Obispo County unless for a specific program benefiting residents of – and conducted within – San Luis Obispo County

Applications will only be accepted via United Way of San Luis Obispo County’s online grants management portal, If this is your first time using the website, select “Login” and follow the on screen instructions for New Applicants.

Please save frequently. The time-out period for Community Force software is 20 minutes.

If multiple individuals will be collaborating on a single application, each person should create a unique user account. Once you have begun the application, you may use the “Add Collaborator” button to grant access to additional users.

Please submit separate applications for each program for which you are seeking funds. Applications must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2019. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

Answers to frequently asked questions about using the software can be found online at Please review this tool prior to contacting United Way staff.

Upon request, United Way staff will confirm receipt of a complete application submitted prior to 5:00 PM on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. United Way staff will not upload any documents or make changes for the applicant.

Nomination forms will be reviewed by a committee of volunteers and sponsors, and a recommendation will be forwarded to the United Way Board of Directors in April 2019. Notification of funding will be made on or around April 15th. The award will be formally presented to the recipient at the 11th Annual Flavors of SLO event to be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 in the Mission Plaza in downtown SLO.

Begin Accepting Applications Date:
Deadline Date (PST Time Zone):
3/15/2019 11:59 PM