United Way of the Plains announces $100,000 for new social innovation competition

WICHITA, Kan., Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 — United Way of the Plains will award up to a total of $100,000 in a new 2021 community investment event called Impact on the Plains. Focusing on the human services areas of health, education, financial stability and basic needs, the goal is to enhance bold solutions in areas where the current needs are most critical.

United Way of the Plains 2021 Board Chair and CEO of P. B. Hoidale Co. Inc., Steve Dixon, said, “United Way organizations in other communities, like Oklahoma City, have found this unique type of grantmaking amplifies the momentum around solving community issues. It’s a ‘Shark Tank’ approach that rewards entrepreneurial programs that we haven’t funded in the past. This is a challenging time for many nonprofits who are addressing special client needs as a result of the pandemic. The goal is to find powerful ways to assist those in need and recharge the efforts of nonprofits who are helping them.”

Pete Najera, United Way of the Plains President and CEO, said his Board of Directors is enthusiastic about providing inventive ways outside the typical grantmaking cycle to strengthen the community.

“Our organization has a well-established tradition of funding high-impact programs that advance the common good. Over the years we’ve worked closely with proven partners who have done extremely important work. This new grant-making opportunity will help us broaden our reach and it’s open to both new and existing partners who have innovative programs that need funding. We hope to build on the entrepreneurial spirit that the Wichita business community is known for and infuse our nonprofit ecosystem with the same sense of creative and bold risk taking that could lead to something better for the people we serve in our community. The application process is simple and quick.”


  • Monday, 11
    Application portal opens at unitedwayplains.org/impact in each of four human services focus areas (health, education, financial stability and basic needs).
  • Wednesday, Nov. 3, at noon
    Application portal closes at noon, and community judges begin the review process.
  • Monday, 8
    Two finalists are announced by community judges in each of the four categories.
  • Monday, Nov. 15 (National Philanthropy Day)
    During Impact on the Plains, a live, invitation-only event, each finalist will make a five-minute presentation about how new funding could help them scale their innovative programs. A panel of community leaders acting as judges will select a winner in each category. The final decisions of the judges will be announced at the conclusion of the event. Successful grant recipients will receive up to $25,000 in a one-time grant that must be utilized by Dec. 31, 2022.


  • Open to innovative existing programs that have not received United Way allocation funding in the past two years.
  • Each of the four focus areas will be awarded grants up to $25,000.
  • Proof of 501(c)(3) status required.

Check unitedwayplains.org/impact for more guidelines, the application and additional information. Businesses interested in event sponsorship opportunities should contact Anne Chandler, United Way Vice President of Philanthropy, at achandler@unitedwayplains.org or 316-267-1321.


MEDIA CONTACT: Angie Prather, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Community Engagement Officer, (316) 267‑1321, ext. 4105, aprather@unitedwayplains.org

United Way of the Plains is a nonprofit and for-impact organization that focuses on health, education, financial stability and basic needs – the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community. Our mission is to improve lives by harnessing the caring power of our community to advance the common good in south central Kansas. Follow us on these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.


Published On: October 10, 2021


Our focus is on healtheducationfinancial stability and basic needs—the building blocks for a good quality of life and a strong community. Click below to learn more about what we’re doing, the programs we invest in and our lasting impact in each area.