United Way of the Plains announces $4.5 million investment in local community

After a total of 118 hours of deliberations in 13 committees across two months, 160 community advocates recommended $4.1 million in funding for 63 programs operated by local charities. These recommendations were unanimously approved by the board of United Way of the Plains in the areas of health, education, financial stability and basic needs. With an additional $457,000 in donor-designated funds, a total of $4.5 million will be invested in our local community.

United Way of the Plains President and CEO Pete Najera commended the volunteers who spent considerable time assessing the community’s most pressing needs as they reviewed a record number of program applications requesting a total of over $14 million. Najera said, “These grants were determined by a rigorous and extremely competitive process conducted by volunteers representing a variety of industries, cultures and life experiences. The panelists were diligent in their stewardship of donor dollars, and we appreciate their careful consideration of every application.”

“This community-based funding process is not only thoughtful,” said Najera, “but also vibrant and relevant enough to recommend funding for six new partners who are tackling emerging needs generated by our evolving society and way of life.” The 12-month funding cycle begins July 1, 2024, and together with the many direct community services provided by United Way of the Plains helps strengthen a nonprofit ecosystem that strives to provide a strong social safety net for south-central Kansas.

Najera added, “We appreciate the nonprofit community that works so diligently to help our neighbors and lift our community, and the very generous donors that make this work possible. We encourage the entire community to join us in celebrating this moment as these 2024 partners join our #ForceForGood movement.”

Funding for Opportunity on the Plains is generated through annual workplace campaigns, special events, cause-related fundraisers, planned gifts and corporate contributions. The online application process begins in the fourth quarter of every year. All human services nonprofits (501c3) operating within the regional area and in compliance with United Way policies, eligibility criteria and shared mission may participate in the annual competitive grant process.

Those nonprofits interested in applying for program funding during the 2025 cycle should check unitedwayplains.org in September for application information and deadlines. Anyone interested in serving as a community panelist should check the same website in November to participate in this important volunteer effort. Remaining funding opportunities still exist with Promise on the Plains in June and Impact on the Plains in September.

A list of this year’s recipients can be viewed here.



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.