Frequently Asked Questions

What impact does United Way of Central Virginia have in our community?

United Way of Central Virginia is working to advance Education, Income, and Health in our community by supporting programs, services, and collaborations.  We are improving opportunities for our youth to succeed in school. We work to stabilize families through programs that reduce hunger, improve housing stability and reduce domestic violence.  We are improving health care accessibility for individuals of all ages to improve health and wellness. 

How much is used for “overhead”?

Our administrative and fundraising costs, including staff salaries, represent approximately 13.8 percent of funds raised. According to the Better Business Bureau a nonprofit is using contributions responsibly if overhead is limited to 30 percent or less of funds raised.  However, when you give to the General Fund 100% of your gift goes directly to our partner agency programs due to the generosity of our Corporate Keystone partners.  These are local companies who choose to direct their corporate gifts to cover all administrative and fundraising expenses.

What is the General Fund?

The General Fund is the most powerful way to invest your contribution and influence the condition of all. How? 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 General Fund is monitored, evaluated and measured for effectiveness. This way, United Way of Central Virginia can validate that your investment gets results and makes a difference.  This really is the best way to give!

Does my contribution leave the community?

Dollars raised through the annual campaign stay in Central Virginia – the counties of Appomattox, Amherst, Bedford, Campbell, and the city of Lynchburg. The only funds that leave our community are dollars that donors have specifically designated to other United Ways or to agencies in other communities.  Additionally, one penny per dollar raised is paid to the United Way Worldwide (UWW) as dues for staff and volunteer training, research assistance and national advertising.

How do I know that the money I invest in the community through United Way of Central Virginia will be spent efficiently?  Should I give my donation directly to an agency?

With the increased number of programs trying to address the needs of our community, it can be very confusing to decide where to give your donation.  At United Way of Central  Virginia more than approximately 100 experienced volunteers ensure that your dollars are invested in quality programs and innovative initiatives that get results.  These dedicated volunteers continually monitor and evaluate each funded program for effectiveness and measure the results achieved. 

By giving your donation to the United Way of Central Virginia’s General Fund we can validate that your investment goes directly to the programs that are making a difference in our community.  When you make a donation directly to an agency, the agency can choose to use those funds in any way.  United Way does not evaluate or monitor funds that are designated directly to an agency.  Giving to the General Fund really is the best way to give!

Does United Way of Central Virginia fund programs performing abortion services?

No.  No funds from the annual campaign support abortion services.  These services are not performed by any of United Way of Central Virginia’s partner agencies.

These are increasingly challenging economic times and the United Way must make the best use of all the resources at its disposal. We can no longer be all things to all people. Our strength lies in our ability to identify, understand and address the most important needs of the central Virginia community in a more targeted way.

At its November 20, 2013 Board meeting, the Board decided to gradually change the way United Way of Central Virginia operates to focus more directly on the issues that have the most dramatic effect on the citizens of this region.

Research shows that Education Readiness is key to successful performance in pre-K through high school. Fully developed reading and math skills are directly correlated to success.

Our focus on this area takes into account the broad array of factors that affect learning at the earliest stages in a child’s development.  Providing nutritious meals, school materials, family support and good health are just a few of these factors.

UWCV–through surveys, community meetings and research– has consistently identified Education Readiness as one of the most important needs in our community for more than a decade.

Research shows that a sound educational foundation, particularly at the youngest ages, can make a tremendous difference in terms of poverty levels, job preparedness, crime, economic development, and a host of other important issues that we face in Central Virginia on a daily basis.

We recognize all of the continuing good work done by our school systems in central Virginia once children arrive at their doorstep around the age of 5-6. Our goal is to support the efforts of the community and our schools by addressing problems that make it more difficult for children to learn when they start school.

The focus of United Way will be to mobilize the caring power and efforts of our community to address the root causes of this issue. To succeed, all of us must work together.

Yes. The communication process has been ongoing for the last 18 months. The United Way’s plan to shift its focus more to issues driven agenda has been discussed at length in meetings with the Council of Agencies, with Agency Heads, and during various United Way committee and team meetings including United Way Board meetings. Some of the

Agencies have participated in our Community Impact committees and sub-committees.

There are obviously concerns by some of our partner agencies around future funding of their programs. Much of the uncertainty has to do with the absence of a full rollout plan so that timelines, the allocation process, funding levels, etc. are made more clear. As this process moves along and our partner agencies receive more specific information, we anticipate continued support for the plan.

At this time, it is difficult to answer this question.  Education Readiness will encompass some of the programs we currently fund and we will likely bring in additional programs, from our agencies and other non-profit programs.

Over the long term, we expect that not all programs will fit the objectives for the different issues.   So there is the possibility some of the programs we currently support will lose their funding.

We will gradually change our approach to focus on those issues that have the most dramatic effect on the citizens in our region.  Our first issue will be education readiness.  This will enable us to create a blue print that can be used as we support other issues in the future.  We do not plan to focus on just one issue, either now or in the future.

UWCV did not make the decision to focus primarily on one area.  The decision by the board was to move from a fundraising entity for programs to a fundraising entity focused on issues.

UWCV has built a database of key measurables surrounding Education Readiness. We are in the process of determining how we can best measure both our short and long term results.

Beginning with the 2014/2015 campaign cycle, funding will begin to shift to programs that support the education readiness of children at the third grade level and younger, and their families.  The 2013 “Opening Doors…Changing Lives” campaign, currently underway, will not be affected.

UWCV is committed to this change in our focus and we expect that our partner agencies and contributors will support us when they have all the facts. There are many facets to Education Readiness that can be supported through agency programs. As we continue to work together these opportunities will emerge.  Education Readiness is the first issue and will provide a blueprint to be created that can be used when moving to support additional issues in the future.