FAQs

See Frequently Asked Questions below. Don't see the answer you need? Call our Donor Information Line: 612-340-7690.

Organization Questions

  • What is United Way?

    United Way is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) agency that brings people together to help our community reach its full potential. We partner with local nonprofits, businesses, government and social service agencies to address our community’s most pressing needs.

    Our mission is uniting caring people to build pathways out of poverty, thereby improving individuals and the community.

  • What does United Way do?

    Our work helps provide the building blocks for a good life through efforts in two areas: Safety Net (providing basic needs) and Education/Jobs Training. Our goals address poverty’s root causes on multiple fronts, and we measure our impact and success each year in our annual Community Impact Report.

    During specific local disaster-relief situations, we also work in partnership with United Ways that cover other Minnesota counties to ensure that immediate help is coordinated and effective.

  • Who and where does United Way help?

    Greater Twin Cities United Way serves people living at or on the edge of poverty in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington counties.

  • Are United Ways related?

    There are 1,400 community-based United Ways across the country and each is separately incorporated and independently governed by local volunteers. Many of these organizations are similar in their mission and structure, but some are very different.

    We pay a voluntary membership contribution for the rights to use the name and logo, and support broader community impact goals through United Way Worldwide, an umbrella organization that attacks the same problems on a national and global level, and provides guidance, training and development services to local United Ways. These dues are less than 1 percent of each dollar contributed.

    Contributions raised in our nine-county service area stay here and decisions about which programs to invest in and which partnerships to pursue are made here in our local community.

  • How do I find my local United Way?

    There are over 1,400 United Ways across the country. Greater Twin Cities United Way helps people in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington counties.

    To find the United Way that serves your zip code, visit United Way Worldwide.

  • How old is United Way?

    United Way of Minneapolis Area was formed in 1915 and United Way of the St. Paul Area was formed in 1920. The two United Ways merged in February 2001 and became Greater Twin Cities United Way. In 2015, we celebrated 100 years of making an impact in the Twin Cities. More history.

  • What's the difference between United Way and other nonprofits?

    Making a gift to United Way is the most effective way to help our whole community. Our unique ability to work across complex issues with hundreds of community partners is unmatched.

    We mobilize volunteers and convene partner agencies, corporations, community leaders and policymakers to make broad, systemic changes like no other organization can on its own.

    Our programs help people in crisis get back on their feet, help prevent future problems and build a stronger community for all of us.

  • What jobs are available at United Way?

    All available jobs and internships are located in our Careers section. Most positions are regular full-time, but we occasionally have part-time, contract and seasonal positions, such as campaign representative positions.

    We also have many event volunteer opportunities available throughout the year.

  • How do I volunteer to help United Way?

    Volunteer United mobilized over 109,000 volunteers in 2015. This free service matches individuals and groups to volunteer projects with United Way community partners across the nine-county metro area. Volunteers help these nonprofits achieve their missions and make a lasting difference in our community. Learn more about Volunteer United.

  • How do I become a corporate partner with United Way?

    Thousands of companies in the Twin Cities are making a difference by partnering with United Way. Learn more. Contact Carol McKay via email or by phone at 612-340-7669 to get started now.

  • Where can I find help?

    United Way 2-1-1™ can connect you to over 40,000 community resources—from job training programs and childcare to counseling services and financial assistance. Staffed by trained professionals, this free, confidential help line is available 24/7.

    Just dial 2-1-1 from any land line. Cell phone users can call 651-291-0211. The service is also available online at www.211unitedway.org.

Administrative & Governance Questions

  • Who runs United Way?

    Our staff works with knowledgeable, well-trained volunteers who represent our diverse community. They carry out the planning and implementation of United Way functions.

    • A volunteer board of directors sets policy and strategic direction.
    • Various volunteer committees oversee financial practices and provide counsel on operational issues.

    Our volunteer network is a key reason why our administrative and fundraising costs are among the lowest of any nonprofit. More of your contribution goes directly to help people.

    • Our president and CEO is Sarah Caruso.
    • The Chair of the Board and Executive Committee is Lynn Casey.
    • The Vice Chair of the Board is Tim Welsh.
  • Who decides which programs United Way invests in?

    Knowledgeable volunteers and experts from our community carefully screen and select the programs funded by your contribution. Their recommendations are reviewed and approved by our volunteer board of directors.

    After selection, these programs are rigorously monitored to ensure they produce positive, measurable results. Every three years, all of our programs go through an open and competitive review process to ensure that the most effective programs in our community are receiving support. We publish our progress in our annual Community Impact Report so our donors know the impact of their contributions in our community.

  • How much money was raised last year?

    Thanks to our generous community, United Way raised $82.5 million through its annual campaign in 2015.

    $20.2 million was generated in grants, sponsorships, endowments and gifts to our Community Capital Fund, resulting in total resources raised of $102.7 million. More financials.

  • How much is used for 'overhead'?

    Our administrative and fundraising costs, including staff salaries, represent approximately 12 percent of contributions. Most of every dollar you contribute goes to initiatives and programs that help people and build a stronger community.

    According to the Charities Review Council of Minnesota, a nonprofit is using contributions responsibly if overhead is limited to 30 percent or less of total donations. Other watchdog groups use 40 percent as an acceptable standard.

    United Way has received the Charities Review Council of Minnesota’s “Meets All Standards” seal for meeting all 27 of the Council’s Accountability standards.

Community Impact Questions

  • What is United Way's focus?

    Our work focuses on two areas: Safety Net and Education/Jobs. All of our partner programs and initiatives support these areas. Our comprehensive plan created a better Twin Cities through these measurable goals:

    Safety Net

    • Housing Stability
    • Food Security
    • Safety from Family Violence
    • Optimizing Health
    • Independence for Seniors and People with Disabilities
    • Legal Services

    Education/Jobs

    • Children Are Ready for School
    • Children Have Foundational Reading Skills
    • Youth Gain Experiences to Learn, Lead and Succeed
    • Adults Can Support Themselves and Their Families
  • What positive changes does United Way make?

    We are always working to make the biggest impact in the greater Twin Cities region through strategic investments and community partnerships. Last year, with your support, we touched the lives of over 1 million people in our community. See more results in our Community Impact Report (PDF).

  • Who are United Way's partners in fighting these tough, local issues?

    United Way is creating pathways out of poverty by investing in 323 programs at 173 nonprofit partner agencies who further our three goals of: Safety Net and Education/Jobs. View our partners.

Donation Questions

  • How do I give to United Way?

    Thank you for supporting United Way!

    You can give securely online by credit card.

    You can mail a check to:
    Greater Twin Cities United Way
    Finance Department
    PO Box 2949
    Minneapolis, MN 55402-0949

  • What other giving options do I have?

    You can give:

    • A workplace donation (through your employer via payroll deduction)
    • A planned gift
    • A gift of stock
    • An in-kind donation (goods, property, etc.)
    • A tribute gift

    Join a Giving Community:

    • Emerging Leaders Program ($500+ annually)
    • Arise Project ($500+ annually)
    • Women’s Giving ($1,000+ annually)
    • Tocqueville Society ($10,000+ annually)

    Learn more about making a gift.

  • I don't benefit, so why should I give?

    You, a family member, friend or coworker may have already used the services of United Way partner agencies without realizing it.

    We all win when our community reaches its full potential. When you support United Way, you help build a better life for us all.

  • What's the difference between designated and undesignated gifts?

    A designated gift restricts your gift to a specific 501(c)(3) organization.

    An undesignated gift takes advantage of United Way’s thorough, research-based program selection that gets the money to the areas that need it most. This allows you to help the most people and do the most good for our entire community. You can choose to direct your gift to Safety Net or Education & Jobs.

  • Why would I want to give an undesignated gift?

    An undesignated gift to United Way allows you to help more people than a gift to a single agency could. Our community’s problems are interrelated and only United Way’s diversity of programs work to address the interrelated and complex causes of poverty in a way that no single agency can.

  • Is my donation tax-deductible?

    Yes. And even if you don’t itemize on your tax return, you can take a deduction.

    Non-itemizing Minnesota taxpayers can deduct 50 percent of charitable contributions exceeding $500. To learn more about this law, visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

  • How is my donation used?

    We partner with 323 programs through 173 nonprofits that have measurable goals and results, ensuring your money is being used wisely. Our partner programs are reviewed annually for results and to make sure they are on track. Also, we are governed by community volunteers who set policies and oversee our financial practices.

Program and Funding Questions

  • Where does United Way's funding come from?

    In 2015, United Way raised $82.5 million through our annual workplace campaign. An additional $20.0 million was generated in grants, sponsorships and endowments, resulting in total resources raised of $102.7 million.

  • Does United Way invest in the Boy Scouts?

    Yes. We currently invest in the Boy Scouts of America, Northern Star Council, which operates highly effective youth programs for kids in our area. Their atmosphere of nondiscrimination is consistent with United Way’s strong commitment to valuing diversity.

    We recognize that the debate regarding Boy Scouts, both locally and nationally, continues. United Way volunteers continue to monitor the situation and work with the Boy Scout council to ensure that programming remains consistent with United Way’s philosophy.

  • Does United Way invest in Planned Parenthood?

    No. We do not fund any programs at Planned Parenthood. We do invest in health-related programs at several local nonprofits. See a list of our partner agencies.

  • How can my organization become a United Way agency?

    Agencies interested in United Way funding can apply for a grant.

    We’ll contact you and, if applicable, place your agency’s information in a database. We’ll let you know when funding opportunities become available for new programs.