FAQ | United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg
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General

What is United Way?

United Way is a local nonprofit that raises funds and makes strategic grants to human service programs that help those most in need in our community by focusing on children’s school success, family’s financial stability, and healthy aging. We raise funds primarily by partnering with employers to offer their employees an easy way to make contributions to their community through payroll deduction. United Way is the processor of these contributions that are both undesignated and designated by donors. United Way uses undesignated contributions (funds raised by and entrusted to United Way) to strategically invest in program grants to human service agencies. A donor designated contribution is not a United Way grant. They are qualifying contributions that donors choose to pass through United Way without scrutiny.

What is United Way’s service area?

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg serves Charles City, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Petersburg, Powhatan and Richmond.

Does United Way provide any direct services?

No. However, through some grant funded positions, United Way does help facilitate the delivery of services such as information and referral through Virginia 2-1-1 and tax preparation through Metrocash.

Who runs our local United Way?

Dedicated volunteers, with support from United Way’s professional staff, oversee every aspect of the organization. Community leaders monitor and govern United Way’s financial operations and ensure that funds are prudently managed. Volunteers from the corporate sector lead the annual fundraising campaign. Diverse groups of volunteers – often ordinary citizens – serve on Action Councils that focus on addressing critical human service needs.

What is the relationship between our local United Way and United Way Worldwide?

Our United Way is a local organization run by community volunteers who determine all policies, procedures and decisions. We are a dues paying member of the United Way of America system. Our United Way receives training, advertising resources, and consulting services provided by United Way of America.

How do I contact a Customer Service representative?

United Way’s Customer Service representative can be contacted at (804) 775-6472 or emailed at customerservice@yourunitedway.org.

Funding

How do I know that the money I invest in the community through United Way will be spent efficiently?

Nearly 100 experienced volunteers along with our professional staff ensure that your dollars are invested in quality programs and innovative initiatives that get results. These dedicated professionals continually monitor and evaluate each funded program for effectiveness and measure the results achieved.

What is the Community Impact Fund?

The Community Impact Fund is the most powerful way to invest your contribution and influence the condition of all. Your investment is combined with the investments of other generous individuals and companies to support the best package of human service programs available in the region. Experienced volunteers work together to understand the most pressing needs in the community and invest in the best programs to solve those issues. Every program funded through the Community Impact Fund is monitored, evaluated, and measured for effectiveness. This way, United Way can validate that your investment gets results and makes a difference. Our investment portfolio can be found on our website.

What types of programs does United Way's Community Action Fund support?

United Way invests in quality programs and innovative initiatives in three focus areas: Education, Income, and Health. Improving the lives of the most vulnerable among us creates the kind of lasting change that means a stronger community for us all. Here is a list of the types of programs in our investment portfolio:

Education

  • Academic engagement
  • Case management
  • Early intervention and screening
  • Home visiting programs
  • Mentoring
  • Non-traditional graduation programs
  • Out-of-school time programs
  • Parent education and family engagement
  • Quality improvement for early childhood programs
  • Quality improvement for mentoring programs
  • Quality pre-school and child care programs

Income

  • Access to work supports
  • Credit counseling
  • Debt management
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Homelessness prevention
  • Job-finding assistance
  • Permanent supportive housing
  • Rapid re-housing
  • Rent and utility assistance

Health

  • Access to health services
  • Adult day services
  • Caregiver support
  • Healthy eating
  • Home adaptations
  • Outreach, education, and assistance programs that promote health and personal safety
  • Personal care
  • Respite care
  • Systems-level planning and coordination for healthy aging and lifelong wellness

Why should I give to United Way if you or an agency hasn't helped my family or me?

A gift to United Way is an investment in the health and safety of our community. Chances are someone you know has been helped or supported by a United Way funded program.  More than 86,000 people were helped by United Way funded programs in the 2014/2015 fiscal year.

Who decides how much is distributed to each agency’s programs?

More than 100 volunteers from diverse segments of the community serve on Action Councils in each of United Way’s three focus areas. These volunteers work together to understand our region’s human service needs and invest dollars in solutions. Additionally, the Action Council volunteers monitor programs year-round, evaluate effectiveness and measure the results achieved.

Does my contribution leave the community?

Undesignated contributions (funds raised by and entrusted to United Way for the Community Impact Fund) stay in our community. They are strategically invested in program grants to local human service agencies. The only case when dollars leave our community are when a donor chooses to designate their contribution to other United Ways or to agencies in other communities.

What is the administrative fee for all pledges?

United Way does not charge anything for gifts to the Community Impact Fund (undesignated gifts that cover our Education, Income, and Health focus areas). The administrative charge for designated gifts is only 15 percent per designation and we cap it at $250 (per designation). This percentage covers costs such as raising, processing, and distributing funds.

What is United Way's overhead rate?

Our overhead rate on a 3 year average is about 18%, which includes operations and fundraising costs. This overhead is lower than most charities.

What are the guidelines for an agency to receive a designated gift?

  • We will honor gifts designated to health and human service agencies that provide substantial services to the residents or people employed in the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Petersburg and/or the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan;
  • have 501(c)3 tax exempt status;
  • comply with the Patriot Act;
  • are registered with the State Office of Consumer Affairs in the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • We are not able to honor gifts to agencies that are primarily organized for cultural, academic, religious or political purposes/political campaigns.
  • A total designation of less than $50 will be treated as a gift to the United Way Community Fund.

How does a health and human service agency apply for a program grant from United Way’s Community Impact Fund?

Community Impact Program grant awards are made on a 3-year funding cycle. Most recent awards were announced on June 1, 2015. These grantees have the option to apply to renew their grant in 2016 and 2017.In 2017, United Way will announce another 3- year Community Impact Program grant process. At that name, any qualifying agency is welcome to apply.

Does United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg fund Planned Parenthood?

No. Planned Parenthood is not a United Way funded program. United Way raises funds and makes strategic grants to human service programs that help those most in need in our community by focusing on children’s school success, family’s financial stability, and healthy aging. We raise funds by partnering with employers to offer their employees an easy way to make contributions to their community through payroll deduction. United Way is the processor of these contributions. United Way uses undesignated contributions (funds raised by and entrusted to United Way) to strategically invest in program grants to human service agencies. Planned Parenthood is not one of these United Way funded agencies. In our 2014 IRS Form 990, we indicated every organization that received donor designated contributions. A donor designated contribution is not a United Way grant. They are contributions that donors choose to pass through United Way without scrutiny.  In our 2014 IRS Form 990, Planned Parenthood received $10,683 from contributions that donors, not United Way, designated.

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