Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way?

United Way is a local community movement of volunteers, program partners, corporate partners, and donors, committed to advancing the common good by focusing on education, health and financial stability.  With a footprint that covers nearly 20% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia programs and initiatives serve the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton, and Radford.

Who is served by United Way of Southwest Virginia?

  • Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce.
  • Your United Way is committed to providing services to ensure every person has access to the building blocks for a good life:
    • Health – improving people’s health and wellness
    • Education – preparing children to enter and graduate from school
    • Financial Stability Income – promoting financial stability and workforce development

United Way of Southwest Virginia’s 2018 Annual Report is available here.

What’s the difference between giving to United Way vs. another charity?

When you give to a specific charity, you support a cause. When you give to United Way, your gift becomes part of a collective effort: to improve lives and strengthen our entire community.

If I don’t benefit, why should I give?

You or a family member may have already used a United Way funded program without realizing it. In fact, people from all backgrounds benefit from youth mentoring programs, school-based child nutrition and education programs, job training programs, and other services provided by United Way initiatives and investments.

Who determines how contributions to United Way are spent?

The United Way Board of Directors carefully screens and selects the programs funded by your United Way contribution. After selection, these programs are closely monitored to make sure they produce positive, measurable results.

Who runs United Way?

Your local United Way staff works in partnership with knowledgeable, well-trained volunteers who represent the diversity of the community. A volunteer Board of Directors sets policy and strategic direction, oversees financial practices, and provides guidance on operational issues.

How much of my gift is used for overhead?

United Way’s Corporate Partners help to offset operational costs such as: campaign materials, events and administrative costs, therefore devoting more donor dollars to local health and human service programs. Our administration and fundraising overhead is only 12.3%, far more efficient than the 35% recognized by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, the 25% recognized by the USA Office of Personnel Management, or the 20%measure which earns the highest ratings by other charity watchdog groups.

Is my gift tax deductible?

United Way of Southwest Virginia 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.

How is my local United Way related to United Way Worldwide and other United Ways?

  • United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. It provides support through guidance, training, development services, research and national advertising.
  • United Way Worldwide does not control funding decisions by local United Ways. Actually, United Way Worldwide has no input on how a local United Way invests contributions in its communities. All local funding decisions are made by the individual United Ways with the input of local leaders and community stakeholders.
  • In exchange for these services, United Way of Southwest Virginia makes an annual payment to UWW that is equal to one percent of the dollars raised annually, and the cost of this covered by our Corporate Partners. This means that 100% of your gift stays here locally.

Does United Way Southwest Virginia provide financial support or any other type of services to Planned Parenthood?

No!  United Way Southwest Virginia does not currently fund, nor has ever funded, abortion services in our communities. In fact, United Way of Southwest Virginia has active partnerships with many organizations including the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth that on a daily basis fosters the commitment to ensuring a good quality of life and successful future of all children.


How do I volunteer?


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How do I donate?