Community Engagement Grants

Trident United Way Community Engagement Grants


Trident United Way is pleased to announce the reopening of the Community Engagement Grant opportunity, with funding up to $3500 for Activities in 2023. This funding pool will promote community engagement best practices for nonprofits in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. It is intended to supplement community engagement efforts in the Tri-County area helping organizations to build capacity, strengthen partnerships and improve systems. 

Community Engagement refers to the process an organization uses to engage and connect the community for the purpose of advancing their work or advancing toward a common goal. Some examples of engagement activities include episodic events (health fairs, financial education workshops, etc.), episodic outreach, volunteer engagement and trainings aligned with TUW’s areas of focus in Education, Financial Stability and Health. 

Please note that the proposed activity must take place between March, 2023 and December 30, 2023.

For more information please email

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2023 Community Engagement Grants!

Press Release: Trident United Way Awards $50,000 in Community Engagement Grants

The goal of the Mentor Appreciation Celebration is to foster community between the stakeholders in the children’s lives that Be A Mentor is in service with. Be A Mentor’s mission is to enable youth to develop positive relationships with caring adults who empower them to reach their full potential through mentorship. Offering a free and engaging event for all in the Be A Mentor village deepens connections between: mentors and mentees (youth), mentors and mentee families, mentees and mentee families, mentors and other mentors, families and other families, as well as the Be A Mentor staff and those we are in service with. Holding this event at the end of the school year also provides a time for connection and reflection on a successful school year for pairs. The Mentor Appreciation Celebration is a contributing factor to our successful mentor retention rate. Celebrating the work of over 300 mentors at the end of the year shows appreciation and enriches the mentor experience as well as benefitting the mentee and their family. Ultimately, the Mentor Appreciation Celebration is a time for ALL in the Be A Mentor community to come together in community. Relationships built at this event cross barriers and help build bridges for more equal access for the students of Charleston. This event is held at a River Dogs Baseball Game on a Friday night (which includes fireworks) and provides the tickets, and refreshments, etc.

Carolina Youth Development Center’s (CYDC) goal is to increase the number of individuals receiving services in the Homeless/Runaway Youth Outreach, Strengthen Families, and Freedom School programs. CYDC offers three different community engagement activities across Berkeley and Charleston Counties. These programs target two distinct populations: (1) homeless & runaway youth, and (2) low to moderate-income families seeking to strengthen their family relationships and improve their children’s social and educational skills. These programs provide valuable services to the community, but they are underutilized. CYDC proposes to increase the visibility of these programs in a Blitz Campaign from April 2023 through October 2023 to promote them with a multi-media campaign using various sectors in the community including school, law enforcement and other partners.

Thousands of families are at risk of losing their homes through eviction in the Tri-County area, but legal strategies and intervention can be used to stop this downward spiral towards homelessness and poverty. Access to an attorney, even very limited representation, can help families access and retain stable, affordable housing as they can prevent or delay an eviction, enforce habitability standards, work to ensure an eviction does not appear on a tenant’s record, overcome barriers to public housing eligibility, assist with obtaining relocation services, get a client’s rent adjusted under income-limited programs; and preserve a client’s real or personal property.  CLA is ready to launch Berkeley Housing Court in Goose Creek and we are requesting funds recruitment and trainings for volunteers and court clerks. We intend to host trainings for volunteer attorneys to represent tenants at Housing Courts and for court staff and clerks to implement new procedures for Housing Court. In addition, we need funds to print training materials, procedure manuals, rack cards and know your rights fliers.  Attorney volunteer recruitment and court staff and clerk training is necessary in order for Charleston Legal Access to successfully expand Housing Court to Dorchester County and Berkeley County. 

April is national Childhood Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month. According to Partners in Prevention, every 10 seconds a report of child abuse is made. Our mission at Children in Crisis DBA Dorchester Children's Advocacy Center is to change that by arming children and adults with the education they need to prevent abuse from ever occurring. We have a long-standing relationship with various agencies such as law enforcement, libraries, community centers, municipal and county facilities, schools and others to partner in this prevention education during the month of April. Our Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month Community Awareness Events and Pinwheel Gardens provides the public with educational materials for both children and adults alike. By promoting our "pinwheel gardens" where we place our educational materials and hundreds of pinwheels in public facilities, we are able to start a conversation and create connections that leads many members of the public to seek further awareness and utilize our prevention trainings at their own place of business, church, or community/civic group. Furthermore, we enhance our educational materials during the month of April at Community Awareness Events to specifically provide CAP month education and awareness. DCAC is typically a booth host at these events. Emerging out of COVID protocols this year, DCAC has a goal to increase our pinwheel gardens and community awareness events by 33 percent. We estimate last year we reached 3,970 total people with childhood abuse prevention education and we would like our 2023 totals to be close to 5,000 total people reached. 

Despite the many barriers they face, young mothers are resilient. With the proper support, they are able to overcome systemic barriers and challenges to build a safe, healthy, and prosperous life for their family. For more than 120 years, Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina has been that support system, providing safe haven and comprehensive services to pregnant and parenting teens. We are the only maternity group home in the state offering services to unmarried pregnant and parenting youth ages 10-21, at no cost to the young mother. We also provide families experiencing homelessness with rental assistance and support services as they transition to self-sufficiency.  Young mothers have a diverse and complex set of needs for themselves and their children, yet generally do not have the knowledge or support systems in place to help them access services. They also are reporting social isolation and the need to connect with other young parents and with parents who were former young parents. We will conduct outreach to pregnant and parenting young women in the Tri-County area to help meet their basic needs and connect them with the support they need to succeed. To do this, we will organize two community baby showers to ensure young mothers are able to receive infant clothes and other necessities; and vital information about community services and parenting. As we connect with young mothers at these events, they will be invited to participate in additional programming offered to our housing support program participants.

HELP of Summerville Bridges the gap as a volunteer, non-profit organization, by assisting needy families and individuals referred by local service agencies, schools and churches in times of crisis by providing immediate short-term basic needs such as financial assistance, food and clothing.The goal of the proposed activity is to inform a broader segment of our local, non-profit, human service community about HELP and its services, and to cultivate and build informal partnerships to accommodate our working together to best serve our target population and to expand the range of services available to them. The proposed community activity, a luncheon with an informational presentation about the HELP program and its services, will be hosted by HELP staff and Board members. Invitees will be representatives of local, non-profit, human service agencies that provide services to the needy in our community. The purposes are: 1) to increase the number of agencies that currently know and work with HELP and access its services, 2) to get information about HELP out to providers in the county who are located beyond the immediate Summerville area and serve the needs population in those outlying areas, 3) to have the opportunity to clearly and directly inform service providers how to access our services for their clients, 4) to cultivate our relationships with our present partners and to build new informal partnerships with providers who serve the target population we serve because working together often results in a client’s crisis being resolved while often a client’s crisis exceeds the resources of one program or agency working alone.

Katie's Krops is a Summerville-based nonprofit that grows vegetable gardens and shares the harvest with families and individuals facing hunger and food insecurity. Katie's Krops was started by a nine-year-old Summerville girl in 2008, when she grew a 40-pound cabbage in her backyard.  Knowing her cabbage was exceptional, Katie donated it to a soup kitchen, where it helped to feed 275 people. That was the start of the non-profit that has a national reach.  Springfest will be a fun educational event introducing Katie's Krops to our community while highlighting our partner organizations. We hope to recruit new volunteers for Katie's Krops and partner organizations. Katie's Krops is one of the few organizations focusing on youth service and leading into the summer. We want to increase awareness of how children and families can volunteer with us during our busy time of the year. The goal is also to highlight our outdoor classroom programs and instructors. Our outdoor classroom is one of our newer programs, and we want to increase awareness of our outdoor education programs. Additionally, we want to increase awareness of the programs we offer to the community by providing fresh, healthy produce to our free garden-to-table dinners. We also want to educate people on how they can benefit. By including our partner non-profits and organizations, we will highlight the impact we can have working together, what organizations we share fresh produce with, programs we offer in the garden, and ways you can support these organizations.

The goal of Our Health! Our History! Our Faith!  Lincolnville Health Fair! is to continue to bring awareness of health disparities to residents of Lincolnville, SC, thereby providing health education, screenings and opportunities to become connected to health and social services in the Tri-county area.  The Lincolnville Preservation & Historical Society Our Health! Our History! Our Faith! Campaign is designed to educate faith leaders and the community, at large, that the rich history of Lincolnville is entwined with the current health status of many residents and work of our faith communities in addressing health concerns is critical.  Health partners who will be invited to participate, including MUSC, SCDHEC, adult and children health services and others from across the tri-county, Lowcountry and the state. With a population of approximately, 2000 persons, 33% of residents live in poverty and the median income is $22,000.  Lincolnville sits within a food desert.  All services, healthcare, grocery stores, emergency services, etc, are provided outside of Lincolnville, in neighboring areas of Summerville, Ladson and North Charleston.  Thus, without adequate transportation and understanding how to navigate these services, many health and social factors are not addressed. The Lincolnville Health Fair will be the first of its kind – a comprehensive landscape of health tents, mobile health services and opportunities for community engagement.

The goal of the proposed activity is to gain information and the resources needed to advance the Lowcountry Food Bank’s work to create food security in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties by connecting and engaging with our neighbors experiencing food insecurity, community and partner feeding agencies (non-profit and faith-based organizations operating food pantries and meal sites), donors, and volunteers as the Lowcountry Food Bank embarks on our 40th year serving the tri-county area. Over the past three years, the hunger crisis has been heightened due to the immense health and economic impacts of the pandemic. Feeding America’s 2022 Map the Meal Gap revealed that 69,520 individuals including 20,440 children face hunger every day in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. Due to inflation, families that have never faced food insecurity before are now having to make the decision on whether to pay for food or other basic needs such as rent, medicine, or utilities, and adding hardship for already disproportionately affected communities. In order to effectively address barriers to food access and create food security in the tri-county, the Lowcountry Food Bank must gather input from our neighbors’ facing hunger and the agencies that serve them. Through the proposed Community Engagement activity, the Lowcountry Food Bank will conduct three listening sessions, in the communities we serve in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties during the months of June and July 2023.

North Charleston Dental Outreach (NCDO) was founded in 1998 with the goal of addressing the emergency dental needs of the Chicora community adjacent to the Navy Base in North Charleston which had recently closed. When the base closed, jobs were lost, leaving behind an at-risk neighborhood with many physical and materials needs. NCDO recently completed construction of a new dental clinic in December 2022 that now allows a more comprehensive scope of care and the ability to increase patient volume and improve oral health outcomes. The clinic expanded from 3 rooms with outdated equipment and technology operating 3-4 nights monthly within a local church, seeing 500 patients a year to a state-of-the-art 6 treatment room, fully equipped, handicap accessible clinic offering 4 days weekly of daytime, preventive, restorative and educational services. The clinic serves only those patients without dental insurance, without access to routine care and with no or low income. We changed the status quo of only extracting teeth and now offer patients the option to save their teeth. Each tooth saved is an opportunity to improve health outcomes for those seeking treatment. Thus, we can now restore a tooth, restore a smile, restore self-esteem, improve health, increase confidence and, possibly, increase employment outcomes.  The goal of the VIPSS Day is a way to celebrate these amazing milestones with the people who made it happen and with the people all of it is for. Thus, all our volunteers-dentists, residents, dental hygienists, dental assistants, patient advocates, church members, community partners-investors, patients, students-dental and dental hygiene can all SHINE! It is a Gratitude celebration of clinic completion, patient engagement and elicit support for sustainability.

The goal of the the Community Action Month Celebration and Mega Roll Out is to provide low-income  Tri-County residents with a bundle of direct services from Palmetto CAP, DHEC and other local service providers in one location thereby reducing barriers to service including access and transportation. The Community Action Month Celebration and Mega Roll Out will take place at a central location in the North Charleston Area.  Palmetto CAP will work with partner agencies in the North Charleston area to secure a free location to provide day of services for low-income residents of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties. The event will feature the Palmetto CAP service team including electric and water bill assistance, general emergency assistance, asset building, employment and education services.  The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will be on-site to offer COVID-19 vaccines.  We will also extend an invitation to our network of community partners including partners who specialize in parenting, medical screenings, senior services, legal services, insurance or medication assistance, and invite them to join us on site to provide free information and services to those in need.

The goal of this event is awareness; awareness of what services we offer clients and how those services can benefit other community organizations and awareness of what services we offer the broader community. For example, Palmetto Community Care offers the following services for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA):  medical case management, counseling, and supportive services, housing and utility assistance, legal assistance, pharmaceutical services, medical care, dental care, transportation to medical appointments and medical insurance assistance.  Suppose another agency is currently providing housing assistance for a PLWHA. In that case, that person could become a PCC client, whereby PCC could provide all the necessary assistance, thus freeing funding from the partner agency for someone not living with HIV/AIDS. PCC also operates a mobile testing van that can provide primary health screening and HIV and STI testing.  Suppose an agency would like to offer such services once a month.  In that case, PCC can come free of charge to provide such services.  Furthermore, should a person receive a positive HIV diagnosis, PCC employs the Test and Treat model.  This means that a person receiving a positive diagnosis first receives that news from someone specially trained for this scenario.  A Peer Educator, someone who is living with HIV, is dispatched to the location to provide support as someone who has experienced the same life-changing news.  Lastly, this person can immediately meet with medical and mental health staff from Truesdale Medical Center (a medical center PCC operates). Ultimately, a person who receives a positive diagnosis can meet with trained professionals, peers, and medical staff and leave with the medications needed for treatment.  The new all-in-one location will have everything mentioned above in one place. We want to host an event to bring awareness to these resources to other agencies and community leaders.  Lastly, we would like to bring awareness to the community at large about all of the above, our prevention services, medical and mental health care, and an on-site pharmacy.

The overall goal is to improve the Tri-County's health and wellness by reaching and engaging underserved individuals with Shifa's healthcare services. Our community events will provide free, on-site healthcare services such as screenings and vaccinations, and also valuable health-related education. In addition, we will increase community engagement through partnerships with health professional volunteers and community volunteers. Achieving the program's goal will directly improve the health of local impoverished families while also providing vital education to help them maintain better health.  Our community Health fairs are interactive educational events that offer outreach for wellness and health initiatives for uninsured, impoverished individuals. Since prevention of disease is the first line of defense, we will provide "pop-up" healthcare at each event. This will include free screening for hypertension, diabetes (initial glucose screening, followed by on-site HgA1c testing if glucose level is elevated), vision loss, obesity (BMI), anemia, and lung cancer (questionnaire for eligibility). We will register eligible candidates for no-cost mammograms to screen for breast cancer, and for children ages infant - five years, we will conduct developmental screening. We also will administer vaccinations, including for COVID and flu. Importantly, when an individual has an abnormal screening result, we will connect him/her to Shifa Clinic for  continued care at no cost. Once connected to our services, we also can provide them with additional resources such as diapers, food, and referrals to other organizations as needed. We plan to hold five Health Fairs this year. The locations will be chosen strategically in areas of high need and in partnership with organizations who are aware such needs. In addition, we will invite participation from other organizations such as MUSC to provide HIV testing and Dominion Energy to advise people regarding how to conserve energy. This will increase organizational partnerships that will continue beyond the events. To ensure culturally competent care, bilingual volunteers will assist with communication.

The goals of the "Healthy Future" health fair are to increase engagement and strengthen relationships of residents of local rural communities with support resources and organizations that are available to them to increase awareness of benefits and services available to community and current patients, and to attract new patients from North Eastern Charleston and Berkeley County to St. James Health and Wellness. The "Fall into Health", fair (Fall into Health) will target residents from the St. James Health and Wellness service areas. This includes residents from the small rural communities of Awendaw, McClellanville, South Santee, Jamestown and Huger. Many of the residents are marginalized, multi-generational families living in areas that offer little resources for a healthy lifestyle. The areas are all food deserts, with little industry, higher learning, medical facilities, or transportation systems.  Fall into Health will be a day-long, community-wide, fun, and engaging wellness, resource, and Health fair. The health fair will include fun interactive physical activities such as line dancing, fresh vegetable giveaways, preventive health screenings, Other activities include school supplies give away, face painting, kiddie fun (jumping castle), and healthy snacks throughout the day. The various agencies invited will provide resource information on topics such as mental health services, senior health, Medicare, food insecurities, family support, COVID immunizations, and preventive health screenings for other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. There will also be a variety of educational presentations on topics of support for disparities that tend to be prevalent in rural communities. We will provide Incentives for attendance to the presentations.

The purpose of this event is to help increase public health awareness and provide an opportunity for the less fortunate in the Charleston Farms neighborhood, and beyond, to receive free healthcare without insurance.  Our FREE Health Screenings Day is a citywide event, for all ages, providing various types of health related screenings like (eye exams, hearing exams, breast exams, prostate exams, bone density, etc.) and consultations to the general public all free of charge. Numerous health care professionals (i.e. doctors, physician assistants, nurses), health care vendors and providers such as Roper Saint Francis, Walmart Vision Center, Molina Healthcare, Low Country Aids Serves, North Charleston Fire Department, and many others, all work together to provide much needed free medical services to hundreds of annual participants. In addition to medical screenings, we wll provide COVID-19 testing, anti-body testing, a blood drive, and we are also in the process of adding a mobile healthcare unit that will also provide medical care services. The general public also gets to enjoys free fresh produce from the Low Country Food Bank, WIC services, free food, and fun activities for the entire family.

The goals are to celebrate the arrival of a second mobile vision clinic for the Charleston three-county region, and to increase the community awareness of the Vision To Learn program for the region. The celebration and community awareness event will be held at a Title 1 public school in Charleston County as that is where the Charleston Vision To Learn (VTL) program currently is operating.  It will be a glasses dispensing event with as many as 35 students actually receiving their glasses one at a time on stage.  The audience will consist of the rest of the students in that school receiving glasses from the VTL mobile clinic, VTL funders and prospective funders, school board members from both counties, school administrators, nurses and teachers, city and county officials, community leaders, friends of VTL in these communities, members of the news media (news papers and television), and maybe parents of the students receiving their glasses. The $150,000 donation to pay for the mobile clinic has been received. This event will be an opportunity to introduce the staff of the Vision To Learn program in Charleston, and allow people to inspect the mobile vision clinics, and ask questions of the Optometrists, Opticians and Program Manager.  There will be a program with speakers.  At this point it is too early to identify the speakers.  VTL held a very similar event at the Stone Park Elementary School in Charleston on January 10, 2022 with the arrival of Charleston's first mobile clinic.  

The goal of this workshop is to empower youth development staff with the knowledge and skills to strengthen their own instruction and programming with intentional social emotional learning (SEL) rituals, routines, and curriculum. WINGS achieves this goal through highly interactive and engaging sessions with hands-on opportunities to practice and reflect.  Research shows that strong social and emotional skills are key to helping students succeed in school, be prepared for the workforce, and become positive and healthy contributors to society. Therefore, our 26 years of experience has taught us that social emotional learning (SEL) integration and skill development within youth starts with the adults by building a positive learning environment. The “Tools, Tips, and Tricks to Empower and Teach” workshop in partnership with Charleston County Parks and Recreation will impact up to 60 youth development staff located in and around Charleston County and will be held at a City Park facility. This workshop will cover two Training Topics:    Personal Growth Through Social Emotional Skills Development - WINGS trainers will help youth development staff develop a deeper understanding of the 5 competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making) of SEL. In addition, this workshop will help its participants reflect on personal areas of strengths and weaknesses using the CASEL SEL self-reflection tool and learn strategies for developing skills in personal/professional life. The second topic is Behavior Management Strategies Aligned with SEL Principles. In this part of the workshop, WINGS trainers will provde youth development staff to a toolkit of strategies to prevent and to de-escalate behavioral incidences. Participants will review essential proactive techniques to avoid negative behaviors, and corrective behavior management strategies to de-escalate negative situations. In addition, our trainers will help youth development staff to appropriately identify and apply different behavior management strategies based on the circumstances. The goal is to help them use empathy to understand their students.  WINGS will provide training to develop foundational knowledge of social emotional learning and coach its participants toward lasting change and ongoing improvement with youth.

The Annual Dream Girls Conference is designed to empower minority and under-served middle and high school girls with strategies to help them make wise decisions, enhancing their educational, mental, social, spiritual, physical and emotional health and well-being. This dynamic conference empowers girls with HOPE and VISION to avoid and overcome many challenges that are too common to minority and underserved girls in the Tri County (Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties). Many of these girls are experiencing sexual and physical abuse, low-self-esteem, fatherlessness, out-of-wedlock pregnancies a lack of education and poverty. The all-day conference is designed to give the girls opportunities to hear the life stories and experiences of those who overcame incredible obstacles in order to reach their dreams. Workshops are also presented for parents and community leaders. Attendees are given opportunities to learn about college scholarships that are available to minority students. They also visit vendors from colleges and universities, social service agencies, organizations and businesses, all coming together to empower minority and underserved girls and to provide information and resources. This dynamic conference is filled with impacting messages that are thought-provoking, relevant and life-changing and fun. The conference is also a catalyst for long-term involvement and follow-up with Y.E.S. resources and program as well as with other programs.

Community Engagement Grant Process

  • Community Engagement Grant Information Sessions

    • Information sessions will be held at the Trident United Way office at 6296 Rivers Avenue

Nonprofits organizations interested in applying for a Community Engagement Opportunity must attend one session. 

  • Community Engagement Grant Application Open

  • Community Engagement Grant Application Deadline

  • Application Review & Decision Making

  • Grant Notifications


For a list of past recipients, click here.