Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Questions about giving? Who is the United Way? How much of my money goes to services? Here are the answers to those and many more questions.

United, We Can

Building a strong community where all people can thrive depends on your generous support.

Have you ever wondered...?

— "What does the United Way of Greater Cincinnati do?

— "How much of my money actually goes to causes and organizations I care about?"

— "Is my gift tax deductible?"


Here are some of the most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about the United Way of Greater Cincinnati:

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What does United Way do?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati builds solutions and aligns systems to help families in our community thrive. We do that by bringing people and organizations together to solve problems holistically, using family input and data-informed solutions.

  • Our services and solutions focus on quality education, health and basic needs, which are the building blocks to financial sustainability and economic mobility. Like the challenges people face, we view these areas as unique and interconnected, with no one single solution.


What is United Way of Greater Cincinnati's service area?

  • We serve 9 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, consisting of roughly 1.8 million people. Our counties include:

    • Hamilton, Brown and Clermont counties in Ohio.

    • Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky.

    • Dearborn and Ohio counties in Southeast Indiana.


Who oversees United Way of Greater Cincinnati?

  • United Way is a volunteer-led organization. We are governed by a local Board of Directors who represent every sector and region served.

  • The Board develops strategic direction with staff and community stakeholders, who then set policies and ensure capable staffing. A staff team of 96 works hand-in-hand with the board and dozens of other community volunteers.


How is our United Way connected with others?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati is an independent and self-governing member of the United Way Worldwide network.

  • We meet annual membership requirements and receive benefits such as training, national advertising and public policy support, as well as the ability to draw on "best practices" of United Ways throughout the country.


How can I get help for myself or someone I know?


  • Simply call 211, a free, confidential non-emergency hotline that will connect you to local health and human services. United Way 211 is available 24/7/365 in more than 150 languages. You can also search our online database at uwgc.org/211online.

  • Our care coordinators connect you with important community services, such as child care, vaccine information, employment assistance, rent and eviction assistance, volunteer opportunities, counseling, food, shelter and more.


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PROGRAMS, INITIATIVES & SERVICES

How does UW create impact?

United Way of Greater Cincinnati uses three methods to impact the community positively and make a lasting change: funding, community engagement and advocacy.

  • Funding and social services support:

    • Now in the fourth year of our current 4-year investment cycle, United Way supports 135 agency partners with funding to deliver 205 programs in our region.
    • Beyond financial support, United Way engages with community partners to drive innovation, build capacity and strengthen systems for long-term change.

    • United Way funding also provides grants for innovative impact opportunities, targeting our community's most pressing challenges.

    • United Way leads several initiatives that support our community directly, including our 211 Helpline, Free Tax Prep, Success by 6®, Project Lift, HEMI and Stable Families.

  • Community Engagement:

    • United Way intentionally supports grassroots, neighborhood-based, faith-based and community-based partners who assist people with resources and funding where they live, work and worship.

    • United Way provides opportunities for individuals and groups looking to make a difference through Volunteer Connection.

  • Policy and advocacy:

    • Develops public-sector support for comprehensive solutions through policy development, change and advocacy.


How does United Way decide what solutions to support?

  • United Way staff align on impact and develop accountability standards, often with the input of volunteers for grantmaking efforts. Funding requirements and eligibility are detailed in each request-for-proposal process.

  • Multi-year funding is contingent upon the partner's effective delivery of services on an ongoing basis.


What work is United Way doing to ensure racial equity in our community?

  • Equity and justice have been part of the mission of UWGC, as well as United Way Worldwide, for some time, but we recognize we have work to do.

  • Much of the work we do on our hallmark impact areas—quality education, basic needs, financial stability and health—is based on providing equity. We know Black people are disproportionally affected in these areas because of historical, systemic racism.

  • During the initial response phase of the COVID-19 crisis, UWGC consulted with and followed the recommendations of Black-led organizations on where support was needed and worked closely with All-In Cincinnati to expand on that list, funding many more Black-led organizations.

  • Other examples of our work include our Champions of Change program, which engages and brings leaders of the Black community together to tackle problems specific to the Black community. The first cohort of the program resulted in $600,000 in grants to support Black entrepreneurship and established a model that can be replicated to address other challenges in the community.

  • In 2021, we will choose a new cohort of Champions and issue a second round of funding for organizations in our Black Empowerment Works program supporting Black entrepreneurs in our community.


How does United Way measure the impact of investments?

  • United Way is audited each year by an independent accounting firm to ensure we are in compliance with generally accepted accounting procedures, regulations and laws.

  • United Way is a long-standing member of the Better Business Bureau.

  • As part of its partnership agreements, United Way outlines fiscal accountability standards for each funded agency based on industry best practices.

  • Through grant management and relationships with funded partners, United Way established robust processes around financial accountability and reporting.


How can my nonprofit apply for United Way funding?

  • There are many ways to be engaged in United Way's community solutions. To learn more about these opportunities, as well as upcoming funding opportunities, contact our Community Impact team or visit our website at uwgc.org/for-nonprofits.



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GIVING

Why should I give to United Way?

  • United is the way to sustainable change for our community. We respond to families in crisis and support families as they establish stronger foundations and revitalize support systems for long-term economic resiliency.

  • Your gift is combined with thousands of others and invested in many collaborative initiatives and services essential to achieving the goal of helping all families enjoy economic mobility.

  • United Way has more than 100 years of experience with bringing together social service agencies, governments, businesses, faith-based organizations, donors and more to tackle ingrained, persistent, community-wide problems with holistic, data-driven solutions.


How can I give?

  • You can donate online at any time or make a gift during your company's annual United Way campaign.

  • Find other ways you can give at uwgc.org/ways-to-give.


How much of my donation goes to administrative costs?

  • For every $1 donated, 85 cents goes back into the community—a ratio that exceeds the Better Business Bureau guidelines.

  • Administrative costs empower a broad team of experts who ensure effective and efficient United Way operations, supporting corporate relationships, influencing public policy and convening resources to develop solutions to our community's systemic problems.


Why should I give to United Way instead of directly to an agency or nonprofit?

  • United Way brings together the collective power of resources for solving deep-rooted problems to achieve results no one partner can achieve independently.

  • Giving to an agency provides immediate relief to an individual or family, but investing that same money in United Way helps change the system so more in our community thrive.

  • Some work we can only do together—as a community. With a gift to United Way, you support the work of identifying patterns, learning and building better systems of support.

  • If you're passionate about a specific cause, talk with United Way about opportunities to target your gift to one of our impact areas – education, financial stability, health, or basic needs.

  • When your gift is combined with thousands of other generous individuals, United Way can invest substantially in ideas that make meaningful change.


Are United Way donations tax-deductible?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati is a federally registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by an individual's or corporation's circumstances. Those contributing through payroll deduction in their workplace should keep a copy of their e-pledge receipt or signed pledge card and maintain their last pay stub of the tax year or Form W-2 from their employer that summarizes the amount withheld for United Way.


What if I feel pressured to give?

  • Neither United Way nor its volunteers believe people should be forced to give. United Way discourages coercion in any form. Pressure defeats the very idea of voluntary giving. Any semblance of pressure (whether real, implied, or perceived) contradicts United Way's operating standards.

  • If you feel you have been pressured to give in a workplace campaign, please contact your Employee Engagement Leader to express your concern or contact us.


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