United Way of East TN Highlands officials awarded three nonprofits each a $10,000 social innovation grant.

“We are thrilled to announce that United Way has invested $30,000 to help our local nonprofits think outside the box and find innovative ways to meet our community’s most pressing needs,” said Leslie. Salling, president and CEO of local United Way, in a statement. Thusday.

The grants were awarded Wednesday night after United Way hosted its Social Innovation Pitch Night, an event where nonprofit programs pitch their most innovative ideas to address the region’s most pressing needs.

After a live fan vote that was compiled with those of a panel of judges, A Step Ahead Foundation Tri-Cities, Huschka House and [email protected] of Johnson City each won a $10,000 grant to implement their ideas.

“We know the best ideas come from our nonprofit partners and community members, those closest to the issues,” Salling said. “They have the experience to create real solutions. We know the money is just the beginning of the great things these programs will do for our community.

The event was held at the Wallace Theater in downtown Johnson City and sponsored by General Shale and Tennessee Valley Authority. United Way has also partnered with FoundersForge for this year’s competition to help nonprofits hone their pitches.

The grants come from United Way’s Social Innovation Fund, which was created in 2020 through an anonymous donation that was specifically designated to drive social innovation in the region. They are used to support new programs aimed at meeting social needs by filling the gaps in our community. related to health, education or financial stability.

“Our goal for these grants is to be a catalyst that sparks creative change in our community and improves the lives of our neighbors,” said Abraham McIntyre, Community Impact Coordinator at United Way of East TN Highlands, earlier. This year.

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Social Innovation Grants are specifically for new nonprofit programs less than two years old. Traditional grant restrictions are removed, giving nonprofits the space to try new initiatives with innovative ideas to meet our community’s most pressing needs.

This year’s award-winning ideas come from:

• A Step Ahead Foundation Tri-Cities, which will use its grant to make long-acting reversible contraceptives more accessible and affordable for women across the region. It will be distributed on Ballad Health’s mobile unit which is expected to start in July 2022.

• Huschka House, which will use the entire $10,000 grant to complete renovations to a home to better accommodate young adults aged 18-21 in the area who face the challenges of homelessness in beginning of their adult life.

[email protected] of Johnson City highlighted the 58 languages ​​spoken by students in Johnson City schools and will use its grant to make culturally appropriate resources available to immigrant, Black and Latinx communities to s flourish in Financial Stability, Workforce Development and ESL Courses.

United Way officials say they need the community’s help to continue promoting social innovation within the region’s nonprofit community. To be part of this mission, call Salling at 220-1229.

United Way of East TN Highlands serves over 200,000 residents of Washington, Carter, Johnson, and South Sullivan counties. It collects and allocates funds to more than 40 programs that it administers itself and 21 non-profit partner organizations in the region.

Donations can be made by simply going to the United Way website at unitedwayetnh.org/ and clicking on the yellow “Donate” button at the top of the page.

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