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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.

Here are some of the most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Click the links below to navigate to the section.

General Questions

What does United Way do?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati leads a movement to bring economic well-being to all families throughout our region. We unite individuals, companies and organizations to invest their time, financial resources and talents to drive this movement toward success.
  • 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, these focus areas are unique and interconnected, with no single solution.
  • We are uniquely positioned to lead and partner with others in building long-term solutions and aligning systems to help our community’s families thrive.


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

  • We serve nine 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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Why should I give to United Way?

  • United is the way to sustainable change for our community. We respond to families in crisis, support families as they establish stronger foundations and revitalize systems of support 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 bringing together social service agencies, governments, businesses, faith-based organizations, donors and more to tackle ingrained, persistent, community-wide problems with holistic, data-informed 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/donate.


How much of my donation goes to administrative costs?

  • For every $1 donated, 85 cents goes back into the community – a ratio that exceeds 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 on its own.
  • 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 those from thousands of other generous individuals, United Way can invest substantially in solutions 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) is contradictory to 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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Programs, Initiatives & Services

How does United Way create impact?

To reach our vision of helping all families thrive, we work in several ways:

  • Investments – We provide financial resources and other supports to partners to drive systems change, innovate new and more effective solutions, and accelerate collaboration, all while diversifying access to our funding. United Way is investing $19.9 million to address critical needs in our community, with $11.4 million going to our 86 new Systems Change partners.
  • Influence – We collect and share key data and research to better understand community conditions and where and how we can improve; by building will to create systems change; and by advocating for policies and systems that support families.
  • Services – We manage programs and services, pilot and test new approaches, and leverage partnerships to fill gaps and connect families to resources within the broader systems of care.


How does United Way decide what solutions to support?

  • We believe those closest to the challenges are closest to the solutions, so we surveyed and interviewed more than 400 local residents and nearly 200 organizations, as well as business leaders, about our community's assets, opportunities, challenges and solutions.
  • United Way's current grant cycle was open to all eligible nonprofit and community groups within our nine-county region. United Way reviewed applications for funding and weighed decisions against three categories of priorities:
    • Individual organization priority criteria
    • Organizational commitment to addressing systems change and root causes in collaboration with United Way and other local community organizations
    • Alignment toward community and partner-identified systems change opportunities


  • We, along with community and board members, used data and application materials to carefully curate portfolios against identified opportunities. The result were investments in six opportunity areas:




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 historic, 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 more than $1 million in grants to support Black entrepreneurship and established a model that can be replicated for addressing other challenges in the 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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