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Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way?
United Way is a local movement of volunteers, advocates, partners, and donors committed to advancing the common good by mobilizing our community around education, income, and health with the ultimate goal of graduating kids. Together we are ensuring kids enter and graduate from school prepared for work and life, families are increasing financial stability and independence, and people are increasing access to health care, nutrition and healthy environments. United Way believes the success and sustainability of our community are dependent on these areas.
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What is the role of United Way in our community? I've heard they're doing different things lately.
United Way is advancing the community through our number one priority of graduating kids. We’re accomplishing this by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way’s role in this work has changed dramatically in recent years. While United Way has historically been a solely fundraising entity, we have evolved to a place where we are in a truly unique position to recruit, convene, and collaborate with the right people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done. Few, if any, organizations are able to span private business, nonprofit, government, and school systems the way United Way can to create a network of donors, advocates, and volunteers focused on specific goals.

Your local United Way staff works in partnership with knowledgeable, trained volunteers representing the diversity of our community. A volunteer Board of Trustees sets policy and strategic direction. Various committees make program-funding recommendations, oversee financial practices, and provide guidance on operational issues. Our internal volunteer network is the key reason our fundraising costs are among the lowest of any charity, and why more of your contribution goes directly to helping people.
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Who does United Way of Greater Toledo serve?
In Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties, United Way serves people who need help, want to help, or need assistance from organized labor. Although program funding is determined by local volunteers and may differ from county to county, your United Way is committed to helping ensure every person has access to the building blocks for a good life: education, income, and health.
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Why should I give to United Way vs. another charity?
When you give to a specific charity, you support a local organization and its purpose. When you give to United Way, your gift becomes part of a collective effort. These initiatives are held accountable and proven to make the biggest impact through the United Way Live United 2020 Goals, measuring progress through outcome measurements. United Way has the invaluable ability to convene strategic partners who bring the right strengths to help accelerate and advance our community’s progress. Your gift to United Way allows you to accomplish more than you can alone or through a single charity.

Although undesignated gifts to United Way are the best way to create the most impact, you have the opportunity to choose how your contribution is invested by designating your gift to any of our focus areas, United Way programs, affinity groups, any local health and human service nonprofit 501(c)(3) or another United Way. Giving through United Way also allows you the convenience of payroll deduction. In addition, United Way’s fundraising costs are at 15 percent—well below the national recommendation of 35 percent from the Better Business Bureau and many other nonprofits.
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Who benefits from my United Way gift?
When you support United Way, our entire community is strengthened because more children are succeeding in school; more families are learning to be financially stable; more people have access to healthy choices; and more opportunities are available in our community. You or a family member may have already used a United Way-supported program without realizing it. In fact, people from all backgrounds benefit from United Way collaborations like disaster services, scouting programs, youth mentoring programs, food and shelter assistance, out-of-school activities, and tutoring.
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Who determines how contributions to United Way are spent?
Knowledgeable, trained volunteers from across our community – people much like yourself – carefully evaluate and select the programs and initiatives to receive funding. These programs are funded by your United Way contribution and must meet outcome measurements. (In order to be eligible for United Way funding, programs must help the community achieve the Live United 2020 Goals, provide health and human services, and be locally operated with 501(c)(3) status.) The recommendations for funding are then reviewed and approved by United Way’s Board of Trustees. After selection, these programs are closely monitored to make sure they produce positive, measurable results.
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How much of my gift is used for overhead?
Fifteen cents of each dollar raised by our United Way is used for fundraising and administration costs. It is our commitment that all gifts to United Way are invested wisely and efficiently.

In fact, Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, has once again awarded United Way of Greater Toledo with a four-star rating – the highest possible rating – for sound fiscal management. We are also a Better Business Bureau A+ charity.
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Is my gift tax deductible?
United Way of Greater Toledo is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) eligible to receive tax-deductible gifts. You should discuss the tax deductibility of your gift with a tax professional. Please keep a copy of your United Way gift or pledge card for your tax records.
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How is my local United Way related to United Way Worldwide and other United Ways?
United Way Worldwide (UWW) is the global organization dedicated to leading the United Way movement. UWW provides support to more than 1,300 local United Ways through guidance, training, development, research, and national advertising. UWW member United Way organizations receive all of the above and more as part of an international system. Inclusion into the membership also provides access to United Way’s brand recently valued at $14 billion. However, UWW has no input on how a local United Way invests community contributions. Your gift to United Way stays local.

In exchange for UWW’s services, United Way of Greater Toledo makes an annual payment to UWW equal to one percent of dollars raised annually. This is paid by earnings on and contributions to an endowment-like fund (Board Designated Fund). No donor dollars contribute to UWW annual fees.
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How do I become more engaged with United Way?
Every day ordinary people are accomplishing extraordinary things by giving, advocating, and volunteering. Running a United Way workplace campaign is a great way to get more involved though giving, inspire your co-workers to become engaged with United Way, and to make a big impact in our community. Click here to learn more or to give online.

The United Way Volunteer Center connects volunteers to projects in our community to meet local needs and create lasting change in education, income, and health. From tutoring opportunities to joining a local nonprofit board, we have hundreds of volunteer opportunities available. To view local opportunities that fit your interests, schedule, and location, visit our volunteer page, email us, or simply dial 2-1-1.

You can also advocate for the causes that matter to you most. To view United Way’s most significant issues and lend your voice, visit To receive regular updates on opportunities to lend your voice, sign up for action alerts at
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How can I get help for someone I know?
By dialing 2-1-1 anyone can be connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week to community resources for basic needs. Staffed by certified specialists, this free, confidential, multilingual and accredited helpline is made possible through contributions to United Way. Learn more here.
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