Q. What are the advantages of investing in United Way?
A: Making a gift to United Way is the most effective way to help our whole community, and our unique ability to work across complex issues with hundreds of community partners is unmatched. You are helping provide funding for area non-profit programs in our community that address critical needs in the priority areas of health, education and financial stability. Funding allocations are determined by a volunteer panel of donors who thoroughly review the funding requests and decide what funding should be invested in local programs. All programs funded through United Way must produce measurable outcomes and results. (This ensures that your investment is being used in the most efficient and effective way possible.)
Q. Why should I invest in the community through United Way when I could just give directly to a local nonprofit agency?
A. United Way is about people helping people and making a positive impact all across the community. When you invest in United Way you invest in making a difference in not just a few hundred lives, but thousands. For example, say your community interest is in helping children and youth succeed. Typically, you might donate to a children's program with which you are familiar, but when you invest in United Way you are assisting children not only in one program, but in multiple programs across Escambia County. Why just invest in one program when you could invest in many programs with one single contribution?
Q. Does the money raised stay local?
A. Yes, resources raised in Escambia County stay in Escambia County.
Q. What if I can only give a small amount?
A. Regardless of the amount of the donation, we use all the donated funds to create leverage. For instance in 2015, we raised $3,135,481 and leveraged those funds to create an estimated $9,184,489 impact. Additional funded nonprofit programs use the funding to leverage and draw down an additional $2,385,470. The total impact on our community will be more than $11,569,275. In effect, 144,315 local men, women and children will be assisted because United Way was here to fund local programs and leverage community resources to benefit one in three Escambia County citizens.
Q. Who makes the decisions as to what area programs receive funding and how much?
A. Volunteers and community citizens just like you make those decisions. Each year, once the campaign concludes, a 70-person volunteer Community Investment committee, which is made up of United Way donors, is assembled. The volunteers reside on various panels who hear presentations from the programs that request funding. The panels then deliberate and provide a final recommendation of funding. Once those recommendations are made they are sent to the United Way Board of Directors for final approval. Community investment = community decisions!
Q. I haven't ever used United Way services. Why should I give?
A. United Way funded services help everyone. A popular misconception is that only the jobless and truly "at-risk" individuals benefit from United Way and its partner programs. Every type of person has problems and needs, some of which are marital problems, troubled teens, aging parents and children with special needs. United Way services are available to all. Your United Way contribution helps your co-workers, friends, neighbors and family.