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Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way? We hear that a lot. Here are answers to that question and many others.

Click the links below to jump to relevant FAQs. 

General Questions

What does United Way do?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati supports the economic well-being of all people in Greater Cincinnati so our entire community can thrive—now and in the future.
  • We can’t do it alone. As one of the region’s largest privately held nonprofit organizations, we work alongside volunteers, community partners, policymakers and donors. Together, we improve outcomes across nine counties in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
  • Our impact solutions, advocacy and investments focus on educational success, financial empowerment and housing security, 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 families thrive.

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

  • We serve nine counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, consisting of about 1.8 million people. Our counties include:
    • Hamilton, Brown and Clermont counties in Southwest 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 more than 90 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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How can I give?

  • You can donate online at any time or make a gift during your company's annual United Way campaign.
  • Explore other ways to give at uwgc.org/donate.

Why should I give to United Way?

  • United Way has more than 100 years of experience bringing together social service agencies, policymakers, businesses, faith-based organizations, donors and more to tackle ingrained, persistent, community-wide problems with holistic, data-informed solutions.
  • Historically, United Way’s primary role was serving as a community chest or clearinghouse for donors to support vetted community organizations. While we continue to invest in community partners, we now manage and create new community solutions that complement and accelerate the work of community partners. For example:
    1. United Way 211 connects callers to essential community services.
    2.  United Way-led initiatives such as Success By 6® and Black-Led Social Change drive sustainable systems changes.
  • By giving to United Way, your gift is combined with thousands of other donors and maximized by leveraging public funding and grants to make the greatest impact.

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 systems so more people in our community can thrive.
  • If you are passionate about a specific program or community partner, we encourage you to continue to support them and invest in United Way's work.
  • When your gift is combined with those from thousands of other generous individuals, United Way can invest substantially in solutions that make meaningful change.

How much of my donation goes to administrative costs?

  • For every $1 donated, 86 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.

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 drive change in the following ways:

  • Taking action - We create and deploy high-impact solutions to address community-identified needs. We collaborate to achieve shared objectives and create community-owned solutions.
  • Advocating - We amplify community voice and experience. We develop and advance research, data, tools and recommendations to educate stakeholders and drive action.
  • Investing - We support individuals and families in crisis. We fund partners to advance innovative solutions and address systemic challenges to prevent future needs.

How does United Way decide what solutions to support?

  • We take a holistic approach to addressing systemic barriers that keep families from thriving. Funding decisions are data-informed and driven by community insights, best practices, and proven or potential impact. Our strategy is locally focused. We are committed to supporting our community's economic success, financial empowerment and housing security and have identified targeted milestones within those key areas.

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

  • We believe our focus on systems change work is vitally important to creating a more competitive, more prosperous and more equitable Greater Cincinnati. We collaborate with others to change systems that perpetuate poverty and injustice – especially for people of color. We aim to achieve equity and ensure fair and equitable access to opportunities for everyone in our region. For example, our Black Empowerment Works grantmaking initiative has invested $5 million through its first four classes and grantee capacity-building investments.

How does United Way measure the impact of investments?

  • We use industry-recognized measurement frameworks to assess the impact of our solutions and investments. Explore our annual and program-specific reports by visiting our Knowledge Center.
  • Through grant management and relationships with funded partners, United Way has robust processes to support compliance needs, continuous improvement, and evaluations to measure the impact of investments.

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 uwgc.org/for-nonprofits.

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