Holiday Helping Hand

2023 Holiday Helping Hand
Grant Guidance (see below or click here to download)

Available Funding

United Way and the Poughkeepsie Journal are pleased to announce the Holiday Helping Hand program for the 2023 holiday season. Holiday Helping Hand is a joint project of the Poughkeepsie Journal and United Way designed to provide a small amount of assistance to Dutchess County individuals and families who might otherwise have little or nothing for the holidays. Funds are given to local organizations to purchase gifts, food and/or parties for children or seniors, or utility grants for families in need.

Important Dates

Request for Proposal Released: October 2, 2023

Application Due Date: 5:00 PM, October 20, 2023

Anticipated Award Notification: Week of October 30, 2023

Eligibility Criterion

All qualified applicants must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit, tax exempt, charitable organization. An IRS letter of determination of tax-exempt status must be submitted with the application.
  • Meet the Counterterrorism Compliance guidelines in the application. Click here to download form.
  • Serve Dutchess County residents with grant funding.
  • Have the capacity to conduct the program and to submit a final report to United Way.

Continued Guidelines

For In Person Events

  • Practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet apart from others
  • Wear a face mask/cloth
  • Gatherings are limited to state regulations

Program Requirements

Funds may be used for the following purposes:

  • Holiday gifts
  • Assistance with utility costs for families
  • Food baskets 
  • Holiday parties for eligible individuals/families

Food baskets and utility assistance may be provided to families that include children or seniors (as defined above). Eligible individuals are defined as Dutchess County residents (or their caregivers) experiencing temporary or ongoing financial difficulties.

Holiday Helping Hand funds cannot be given directly to a recipient. Organization representatives must purchase the holiday gift/food basket/utility vouchers.

To maximize available funding, United Way anticipates awarding funds at the rates below:

  • $25 per person limit to purchase gifts/food/parties for individual children and seniors
  • $50 per family limit has been established to purchase utility vouchers
  • Families receiving a utility voucher are not eligible for gifts/food baskets/parties

No single agency will receive more than $2,000 in Holiday Helping Hand assistance. 

Individual gifts may be combined to purchase a family gift. (For example, an organization may purchase a family gift in an amount up to $100 for a family of four children.) Expenditures exceeding the limits above are not allowed.

Holiday Helping Hand prohibits the purchase of items that could prove detrimental to the health and/or safety of the recipient. Items prohibited for purchase include tobacco and alcohol products, and/or items promoting violence (toys, videos, etc.). Organizations that do not follow these guidelines will have future participation jeopardized and/or be required to return funds.  

In order to assure that gift cards are not purchased for vendors who sell tobacco, alcohol or other inappropriate items, gift cards may be purchased for the following stores:

  • TJ Maxx
  • Macy's
  • Footlocker
  • Kohl's
  • Best Buy
  • Old Navy
  • The Children's Place
  • Christmas Tree Shops
  • Marshall's
  • Staples
  • Five Below
  • Barnes & Noble

Do not buy gift cards to any other vendor without written approval from United Way.  Please note some stores have been removed from our approved list due to their sale of alcohol and/or tobacco products. 

Do not buy gift certificates to a mall, or open-ended credit card company gift certificates (such as a Visa Check Card), that can be used for purchases at the discretion of the buyer.

The Holiday Helping Hand program will not reimburse any amount for tax

The participating organization is responsible for documenting appropriate use of Holiday Helping Hand funds through original receipts and/or payment to utility companies. 

Your organization must provide a primary and secondary interview contact who are able to be interviewed by the Poughkeepsie Journal reporter about your program.  In addition, please share success stories with United Way that may be shared in UWDOR publications and/or with representatives of the Poughkeepsie Journal and the larger community.  These stories will be used in Holiday Helping Hand articles in the paper and for other promotional and fund raising efforts.

Annual Sponsors

Premier Annual Sponsors: Central Hudson Gas & Electric, M&T Bank, Orange & Rockland, Pratt & WhitneyAnnual Sponsors: IBM, Resorts World, RBT, TD Bank, Ulster Savings