Our Work

Our Work in Yakima & Kittitas Counties


Our impact is deeply woven into the fabric of Yakima and Kittitas Counties, touching the lives of those in our community in profound ways. Through the dedicated efforts of United Way’s of Central Washington’s community programs and partner agencies, we extend a helping hand to nearly 1 in 2 people right here in our neighborhoods. These are the familiar faces—neighbors, schoolmates of your kids, and colleagues you work alongside every day.

Together, we strive to create a community where no child goes to bed hungry, where every adult has the opportunity for meaningful employment, and where support is readily available for those facing life-altering diagnoses or unexpected disasters.

With a commitment to funding more than 50 effective and efficient programs at over 40 local nonprofits, we channel our collective energy into bringing individuals and organizations together to solve problems and mobilizing volunteers to make a tangible difference.

But our impact extends beyond immediate assistance. We work tirelessly to strengthen charities and empower individuals, laying the groundwork for a resilient community and a better life for all.

United Way of Central Washington proudly joins forces with organizations and community coalitions that share our vision—a vision that understands the transformative power of community care. Long-term commitments from these partners are instrumental in addressing key social issues, allowing us to achieve collective impact in our four community focus areas:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are at the core of our approach. We recognize the importance of ensuring that our programs and services are accessible, culturally sensitive, and inclusive of all members of our diverse community. By embracing DEI principles, we strive to address systemic barriers and promote equity for every individual we serve.

United Way of Central Washington proudly joins forces with organizations and community coalitions that share our vision—a vision that understands the transformative power of community care. Long-term commitments from these partners are instrumental in addressing key social issues, allowing us to achieve collective impact in our four community focus areas:


In the realm of education, United Way of Central Washington is committed to fostering an environment where every individual has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Education is a cornerstone for personal growth, empowerment, and the building of a vibrant community. Here's an elaboration on our initiatives in the education focus area:

1. Early Childhood Education:

  • We believe in the importance of providing a strong foundation for children from the earliest stages of their lives. Our programs and support systems focus on early childhood education, ensuring that young minds are nurtured, equipped with essential skills, and prepared for a successful academic journey.

2. Academic Support and Mentoring:

  • Recognizing the challenges some students face in their academic journey, we invest in programs that provide additional support and mentorship. This may involve after-school programs, tutoring services, and mentorship initiatives designed to help students overcome obstacles and excel in their studies.

3. Access to Educational Resources:

  • We advocate for equitable access to educational resources for all students. This includes initiatives to bridge the digital divide, providing technology and internet access to underserved communities. We also support initiatives that provide school supplies, textbooks, and other essential materials to ensure students have the tools they need for success.

4. College and Career Readiness:

  • Our commitment extends beyond high school graduation. We work towards preparing students for post-secondary education and successful careers. Through partnerships with educational institutions and mentorship programs, we guide students in making informed decisions about their academic and professional futures.

5. Community Engagement in Education:

  • Recognizing that the entire community plays a role in shaping the educational landscape, we encourage community engagement in schools. This involves fostering partnerships between schools, parents, businesses, and local organizations to create a collaborative and supportive environment for students.

6. Lifelong Learning:

  • We embrace the idea of lifelong learning and support initiatives that promote education at all stages of life. Whether it's adult education programs, vocational training, or continuing education opportunities, we strive to create a community where learning is a continuous and accessible journey for everyone.

Through these comprehensive efforts, United Way of Central Washington aims to contribute to a robust education system that empowers individuals, reduces disparities, and cultivates a community where every person can realize their educational aspirations. Education is not just about classrooms; it's about empowering individuals to thrive, contribute meaningfully to society, and shape a brighter future for generations to come.




In our pursuit of community well-being, United Way of Central Washington is deeply invested in promoting financial stability and independence through our focus on income. Economic empowerment is a fundamental aspect of individual and community success, and our initiatives in the income focus area aim to create opportunities for everyone to achieve economic well-being while advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here's an elaboration on our efforts in this crucial domain:

  1. Employment and Job Training:

We recognize the significance of meaningful employment in fostering financial stability. Our programs support job training initiatives that equip individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to secure employment opportunities, with a focus on equitable access and opportunities for underrepresented communities. By collaborating with local businesses, educational institutions, and workforce development agencies, we bridge the gap between job seekers and available employment opportunities.

  1. Financial Literacy and Education:

Understanding and managing personal finances is a key component of achieving economic stability. We invest in programs that promote financial literacy and education, providing individuals with the tools and knowledge to make informed financial decisions, manage debt, and plan for a secure future. These efforts are designed to address disparities in financial knowledge and access to resources, particularly among marginalized and underserved populations.

  1. Affordable Housing Initiatives:

Access to safe and affordable housing is a critical factor in achieving economic stability. We work towards creating initiatives that address housing challenges, advocating for affordable housing solutions, and supporting programs that help individuals and families secure and maintain stable housing. Our approach emphasizes equitable access to housing opportunities and addresses systemic barriers that contribute to housing inequality.

  1. Access to Benefits and Support Services:

Many individuals and families may be eligible for various government assistance programs and support services, but may be unaware of the available resources. We strive to connect individuals with the benefits and services they need, including healthcare, food assistance, childcare support, and other essential services that contribute to overall financial stability. Our efforts are guided by a commitment to ensuring equitable access to resources and services for all community members.

  1. Workforce Development and Career Advancement:

We recognize the importance of ongoing professional development and career advancement in promoting economic mobility. Our programs may include support for initiatives that help individuals enhance their skills, access higher education opportunities, and progress in their careers for long-term financial stability. We prioritize DEI in workforce development efforts, advocating for inclusive hiring practices and equitable opportunities for career advancement.

  1. Income Equality Advocacy:

United Way of Central Washington actively advocates for policies and practices that promote income equality within the community. We work towards addressing systemic barriers and promoting fair wages, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to achieve financial stability. Our advocacy efforts are grounded in principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a focus on advancing economic justice for marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Through these multifaceted initiatives, United Way of Central Washington aims to empower individuals and families to achieve economic stability, break the cycle of poverty, and build a resilient community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive financially, regardless of background or circumstance. Together, we can create a more equitable and inclusive future for all.



United Way of Central Washington is deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities in Yakima and Kittitas Counties. Our focus on health encompasses a broad range of initiatives designed to address physical, mental, and community well-being while prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here's an elaboration on our efforts in the health focus area:

  1. Accessible Healthcare Services:

We advocate for and support programs that ensure access to affordable and quality healthcare services for all community members, regardless of socioeconomic status or background. This includes initiatives that address healthcare disparities, promote preventive care, and support community clinics and health centers in underserved areas.

  1. Mental Health Support:

Recognizing the interconnectedness of mental and physical health, we invest in programs that promote mental health awareness, reduce stigma, and provide accessible mental health services. This may include support for counseling services, crisis intervention hotlines, peer support groups, and mental health education initiatives that are inclusive and culturally sensitive.

  1. Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment:

Substance abuse is a significant health concern in many communities, and addressing it requires a comprehensive approach. United Way of Central Washington collaborates with organizations working on substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment programs to address the complex challenges associated with addiction. Our efforts include supporting evidence-based prevention programs, expanding access to treatment services, and advocating for policies that prioritize harm reduction and support recovery.

  1. Community Health Collaborations:

We believe in the power of collaboration. Our initiatives involve working closely with healthcare providers, community organizations, and public health agencies to create comprehensive solutions that address community health needs. This collaborative approach helps maximize the impact of our efforts and ensures that resources are effectively utilized to improve health outcomes for all residents.

  1. Health Equity and Inclusivity:

United Way of Central Washington is dedicated to promoting health equity and inclusivity. This includes addressing social determinants of health such as housing, education, employment, and access to healthy food. We advocate for policies that eliminate health disparities, and we work to ensure that healthcare services are accessible and culturally competent for everyone in the community, particularly marginalized and underserved populations.

  1. Healthy Start for Children:

We recognize the importance of a healthy start in life. Our programs include initiatives that support maternal and child health, ensuring that families have access to prenatal care, pediatric services, and resources for healthy child development. By investing in early childhood health and well-being, we set the foundation for lifelong health and success for children and families in our community.

  1. Emergency and Disaster Response:

United Way of Central Washington is there for the community in times of crisis. We actively participate in emergency response efforts, ensuring that communities have access to healthcare services, support for mental health, and resources needed to recover and rebuild after disasters. Our goal is to help communities become more resilient and better prepared to handle emergencies while prioritizing the needs of vulnerable populations.

Through these comprehensive initiatives, United Way of Central Washington aims to create a community where everyone has the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. We understand that a healthy community is a thriving community, and our commitment is to work collaboratively to address the diverse health needs of our neighbors.




United Way of Central Washington is dedicated to meeting the basic community needs that form the foundation of a thriving and resilient society. Our focus on meeting these fundamental needs encompasses a wide range of initiatives aimed at providing individuals and families with the essentials for a stable and secure life while advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here's an elaboration on our efforts in the area of meeting basic community needs:

  1. Food Security:

We understand the importance of access to nutritious food for overall well-being. Our initiatives support local food banks, community kitchens, and programs that ensure individuals and families have reliable access to sufficient, affordable, and healthy food. 

  1. Clothing Assistance:

Clothing is a basic necessity, and United Way of Central Washington works to ensure that individuals have access to clean and appropriate clothing. This may involve supporting clothing drives, partnerships with thrift stores, and initiatives that provide seasonal clothing to those in need. We strive to provide clothing options that are inclusive and respectful of diverse cultural backgrounds and identities.

  1. Shelter and Housing Support:

Ensuring that every person has a safe and secure place to call home is a priority. United Way of Central Washington collaborates with organizations and initiatives that provide crisis housing, shelter services, and support for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Our efforts include advocating for affordable housing policies and addressing systemic barriers that contribute to housing instability, particularly for marginalized and underserved populations.

  1. Emergency Assistance:

In times of crisis, whether due to natural disasters, economic challenges, or unforeseen events, we provide emergency assistance. This may include financial support, access to temporary housing, and resources to help individuals and families navigate through challenging times. We prioritize DEI in emergency assistance efforts, ensuring that support is accessible and culturally responsive to the diverse needs of our community members.

  1. Childcare Support:

Recognizing the importance of reliable childcare for working families, United Way of Central Washington supports initiatives that provide affordable and quality childcare services. This allows parents to work with the assurance that their children are in safe and nurturing environments. We advocate for policies that promote equitable access to childcare resources and support initiatives that address childcare affordability and availability gaps.

  1. Access to Utilities:

United Way of Central Washington advocates for and supports programs that ensure access to essential utilities such as electricity, water, and heating. This includes initiatives to assist families facing utility disconnection and providing resources for energy efficiency. We work to address utility affordability challenges and advocate for policies that protect vulnerable populations from utility shutoffs.

  1. Community Resource Navigation:

We strive to connect individuals with the resources available in the community. This involves creating resource guides, establishing helplines, and supporting programs that provide guidance on accessing services related to housing, food, healthcare, and more. Our approach prioritizes DEI by ensuring that resources are accessible and culturally relevant to all community members, regardless of background or identity.

  1. Disaster Preparedness and Recovery:

United Way of Central Washington actively participates in disaster preparedness initiatives, collaborating with local agencies to develop plans and resources for community resilience. In times of disaster, our focus shifts to recovery efforts, ensuring that affected individuals receive the necessary support to rebuild their lives. 

  1. Transportation Assistance:

Reliable transportation is crucial for accessing employment, education, and essential services. United Way of Central Washington supports initiatives that provide transportation assistance, whether through public transit programs, community car-sharing initiatives, or partnerships with local transportation services. We advocate for transportation equity and accessibility, addressing transportation barriers faced by low-income individuals and communities with limited mobility options.

Through these comprehensive initiatives, United Way of Central Washington aims to create a community where every individual has their basic needs met, allowing them to lead stable, dignified, and fulfilling lives. By addressing these foundational aspects, we contribute to the overall well-being and resilience of our community, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Granting Focus

Our United Way is committed to overcoming inter-generational poverty by collaboratively building resilience and closing the opportunity gap in the lives of our youth in Central Washington.

Key Aspects of Our Granting Focus

Overcoming Inter-generational Poverty: We recognize the detrimental effects of inter-generational poverty on health, education, and overall well-being. Our initiatives are dedicated to supporting individuals and families as they break out of this cycle, providing resources and opportunities for economic stability and upward mobility.

Collaboration: We understand the power of collaboration in driving meaningful change. By working closely with other organizations and stakeholders, we leverage collective expertise and resources to address complex social challenges and create sustainable solutions that benefit our community as a whole.

Building Resilience: Resilience is essential in navigating life's challenges and adversities. Our programs focus on providing the resources and services necessary for individuals to develop healthy coping mechanisms and adaptability in the face of difficult situations. Through supportive interventions, we empower youth to overcome obstacles and thrive despite adversity.

Closing the Opportunity Gap: We are committed to addressing disparities in opportunities that perpetuate inequality and hinder the success of marginalized and underserved groups. Our efforts target systemic barriers related to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language proficiency, and other factors that contribute to unequal access to education, employment, and resources. By leveling the playing field, we strive to ensure that all youth have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Youth in Central Washington: Our focus extends to individuals under the age of 18 residing in Yakima and Kittitas Counties. We recognize the importance of investing in the well-being and future success of our youth, as they are the foundation of our community's future. Through targeted interventions and support services, we aim to empower youth to overcome challenges, pursue their aspirations, and contribute positively to society.

Together, we are committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive community where every individual has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances. Through collaborative efforts and strategic investments, we strive to build a brighter future for the youth of Central Washington.

Grant Process

Our grant process is designed to ensure thorough evaluation and thoughtful allocation of funds to maximize impact in our community. Here's an overview of the three phases involved:

  1. Letter of Intent: At the beginning of each grant cycle, all interested 501c3 organizations are invited to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). This initial step allows organizations to express their interest in receiving funding and provides a brief overview of their proposed project or program.

  2. Application: Following the review of Letters of Intent, selected organizations are invited to submit a comprehensive Application detailing their proposed project or program in greater depth. This application phase allows organizations to provide detailed information on their objectives, strategies, budget, and anticipated outcomes.

  3. Site Visit (if applicable): For certain programs or initiatives, a Site Visit may be conducted as the third phase of the process. The decision to conduct site visits is determined by the review committee based on the complexity and scale of the proposed projects. Site visits provide an opportunity for committee members to gain a firsthand understanding of the organization's operations, impact, and community engagement efforts.

Review and Recommendation: Throughout the process, a dedicated committee of community volunteers carefully reviews each application, considering factors such as alignment with our funding priorities, potential for impact, organizational capacity, and sustainability. Based on their evaluations, the committee makes recommendations to the board regarding which agencies should receive funding.

Timeline: The entire grant process typically spans approximately six months, from the initial submission of Letters of Intent to the notification of grant awards. This timeline allows for thorough review, deliberation, and decision-making to ensure that funds are allocated strategically and effectively to address the most pressing needs in our community.

By following this structured and transparent process, we aim to empower organizations to make meaningful contributions to our community while ensuring accountability, fairness, and transparency in the allocation of resources. Together, we can create positive and lasting change for the benefit of all residents in Central Washington.

If you have further questions, contact Barbara Kinmark-Gurney at barbara@uwcw.org or 509-248-1557