Through a vast network of area-wide contributors, volunteer and charitable agencies, local United Way organizations throughout America help meet the health and human-care needs of millions of people everyday. United Way’s 100+ year history is built on the proven effectiveness of local organizations helping people in their own communities.
Nationwide, there are approximately 1,800 community-based United Way organizations. Each is independent, separately incorporated and governed by local volunteers.
Through a single, community-wide campaign, your local United Way volunteers raise funds to support local agency service providers. In total, voluntary contributions to our United Way support 15 agencies, helping 50,000 people from all walks of life and income groups in a 40-mile radius service area. Apart from government, United Ways fund the greatest number of health and human services in the country.
Funds raised by United Way are used for various human services, such as disaster relief, emergency food and shelter and crisis intervention to day care, rehabilitation, youth development, counseling, physically and mentally challenged services and elderly programs.
United Way volunteers ensure that every group receiving funds is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity governed by volunteers; and that it submits to an annual, independent financial audit, provides services at a reasonable cost and maintains a policy of non-discrimination.
During United Way’s extensive annual citizen-review process, local experienced volunteers assess community needs and determine how to distribute funds, so that donors know their money is addressing the most pressing community issues and reaching people in need.
Because of the vast network of volunteers and the simplicity of corporate payroll deduction, administrative expenses for the United Ways range from 10-15 percent of all funds raised.
United Way Worldwide is separate from all the local United Way organizations and is the national service entity and training center, supporting local United Ways through advertising, training, corporate relations, research, networks and government relations, which are purchased on a usage basis. The national service center was established in 1918, nearly 75 years after the first local United Way was founded in Denver, Colorado.