At the United Way of the Wabash Valley we pride ourselves in the transparency and accountability of our organization.  Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, but if there is something you would like more information on please do not hesitate to contact our office.

About United Way

Many people think that United Way is simply a non-profit that does fundraising and distributes these funds to support local agencies.  That was the United Way of the late-20th century, but today’s complex problems require proactive, permanent solutions. Our history of leadership enables us to spearhead comprehensive, community-wide change. We are a catalyst, a convener and a collaborator. Our work brings people together to determine the root causes of our community’s most challenging problems and to do whatever it takes to achieve measurable and long-lasting results.

Today, United Way of the Wabash Valley has set a Bold Goal to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability!  UNITED, we fight poverty!  We’d like our whole community to Join the Fight!  Learn more about our mission-driven work and the ALICE report here.

We serve 6 counties in Indiana and Illinois. Our counties include: Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo in Indiana and Clark County in Illinois.

You bet. United Way of the Wabash Valley is unique in the way it makes an impact in the community. No other organization enables a donor’s gift to make such a broad impact across the community and, no other organization promotes giving to other organizations as part of their mission.  Our work to convene and collaborate with other non-profits, civic organizations and businesses enables a greater impact toward the common good in the community than any single organization can achieve.

Our Bold Goal is to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability!  To achieve this, we are working with community partners to fight for the education, health and financial stability of every person in our community.

The fight against poverty doesn’t know about “county lines”.  Our work is not specific to one county or one area.  Often, many clients travel from one county to another to receive needed services. Even if a community partner is not located in that county, this does not mean it is not providing important assistance for those living in that county.  United Way of the Wabash Valley is a regional entity.  We invest in the best programs and initiatives to maximize assistance throughout the 6-county area.

Accountability and openness are critical to our success.  Our Board of Directors oversees the management of the United Way of the Wabash Valley. Our Board and Finance Committee, comprised of volunteers, review and approve our annual budget and financial statements, which include fundraising results, community investments and operating expenses.  We are proud that Charity Navigator, a leading charity watchdog, has given United Way of the Wabash Valley a 4-Star Rating, the highest possible for outstanding scores in both financial performance and accountability.  UWWV remains the only 4-Star rated charity in the Wabash Valley.  Please see the public access to our financial profile and all of our policies here.

Volunteers make investment decisions based on an organization’s fiscal responsibility, sound management, and the measurable results of specific programs. Oversight of continued adherence to sound fiscal policies and program outcomes is part of the Community Impact process.

NO! We do far more than just fundraising. United Way is a partner in change, working with a broad range of people and organizations to identify pressing community issues and develop long term solutions. Our Bold Goal is to move 10,000 families to financial stability.  We are leading our community in the fight against poverty.  Our fundraising efforts are one way we bring about positive change in community conditions because our resource drive gives us the ability to fund needed services, programs and initiatives.  United Way also works to:

  • Identify community needs and priorities
  • Invest in and lead community wide initiatives
  • Facilitate the efforts of those who can help bring about needed positive changes
  • Monitor funded partners to ensure donor’s investments are used efficiently
  • Promote volunteerism throughout the community
  • Advocate on behalf of our community’s most critical issues

For decades, our local United Way has been known for an annual fund-raising campaign.  Hundreds of local businesses would support this campaign and allow employees to contribute through payroll deduction.  The funds raised would be carefully distributed to “Member Agencies” to affect positive change in our community.  At the peak of success, our United Way achieved an annual campaign of over $2.2 million in the late 1990s and early in the last decade.

While this United Way model is still beloved by many long-time, trusting donors, the sad reality is that over the past 10-15 years, this model has slowly failed to produce the donor resources needed to effectively support our “Member Agencies.”  In fact, since 2007, annual donations to our United Way decreased by over 40% and the organization lost nearly half of its total donors.   Great Member Agencies operating excellent programs have seen their funding reduced.  As donors choose other options for their philanthropy, United Way managed and distributed less resources for Member Agencies.

Research shows that today’s donors seek a more focused impact with their charitable contributions.  Our Stronger UNITED Strategic Plan (read it here) is an effort to capitalize on our long-time strengths for collaboration and volunteer driven investment of donor resources under a new collective impact model that has the opportunity to support many great agencies (including our long time Member Agencies), but will achieve greater focus on our most pressing social issue of generational poverty.  We believe this new approach will interest donors and return United Way to a stronger force for positive change in the community.

When we announced our Stronger UNITED Strategic Plan (read it here) in January of 2018, our United Way had 24 Member Agencies.  We began communicating with these agencies on our upcoming changes in 2017, and provided a full year notice before any change to our agency funding model.   No reductions in funding to Member Agencies occurred due to our Stronger UNITED plan prior to 2019.

Starting in 2019, United Way began a three-year step-down funding process for our long-time Member Agencies remaining at the end of 2018.  This process was a commitment to continue to fund their existing UWWV-funded programs at reducing communicated increments in 2019, 2020 and 2021.  These same agencies could also apply for funding from the new collective impact Councils that would be forming and offering grant opportunities toward United Way’s bold goal to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability.  It is our expectation that once our transition is complete, many of our long-time Member Agencies will still receive funding from United Way and hopefully many more great agencies become community partners as our resources and impact grow.

Although part of a national movement focused on measurable community impact, United Way of the Wabash Valley is an independent nonprofit organization serving 6 counties. United Way Worldwide is a global service organization that provides services and support to nearly 1,800 local, independent United Ways across the world.  All local United Way’s including our United Way of the Wabash Valley are autonomous organizations and are not required to follow or adhere to a national platform.  As such, our United Way can and does focus on important local issues and a set agenda for community impact.

A volunteer board of directors sets local United Way policies and works in partnership with a professional staff administering the day-to-day operations.

Learn more about United Way’s staff leadership and board of directors.

The overhead ratio commonly refers to the percentage of a nonprofit’s expenses that is devoted to administrative and fundraising costs.  It is calculated from an organizations IRS Form 990 (like a tax return).  For our UWWV, over the past two years, we have averaged 17 percent.   Our IRS Form 990 is publicly available on our website.  Additionally, you can learn about overhead at Charity Navigator’s website:

How does our overhead compare?  For nonprofits, the Better Business Bureau suggests overhead should be no more than 35%. According to a survey from the NonProfit Times (the leading business publication for nonprofit management), Americans believe nonprofits should spend only about 23% on overhead.  Finally, United Way’s national average runs at 17 percent.  So, our UWWV rate at 17 percent is excellent in all measures.  United Way also helps hundreds of other nonprofits maintain low overhead rates by recruiting volunteers.  To learn more about how United Way cultivates volunteerism, see our Volunteer Wabash Valley Website here.

This question gets at the heart of one of the most common misconceptions about overhead: that employee and executive salaries are considered “overhead” expenses. In reality, compensated staff members carry out all of the organization’s functions. Without staff, very little if any of the organization’s mission can be accomplished.

What many don’t know is that as a matter of law, tax-exempt organizations are required to ensure that the salaries and benefits they pay their executives meet the IRS’s definition of “fair and reasonable.” Locally, our volunteer Personnel Committee, researches what people in comparable jobs earn at nonprofits that are of similar size and that have similar missions and programs and sets a Salary Structure for the entire organization including our local Executive Director.  From this we can confirm that our local Director makes less than the median salary for comparable-sized United Ways and nonprofits in the Midwest and the country.  Our local Executive Director salary is public information on our IRS Form 990.

United Way Worldwide (UWW) salaries are comparable to other top charities and foundations in the United States, including members of the Leadership 18, a group of the country’s largest, most recognized public charities, as well as U.S. based charities with worldwide missions and scope of activities and certain private foundations with philanthropic missions similar to UWW. United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded charitable organization, with nearly 1,800 locally-based United Ways in more than 40 countries and territories. United Way raises in excess of $5 billion annually around the world.

Investing in United Way

Many local businesses in the Wabash Valley have engaged with United Way of the Wabash Valley and help us communicate our mission to their employees and allow those employees to contribute through payroll deduction.  Ask about United Way at your workplace.  You can also contribute on-line here.  We can also accept credit card donations over the phone, or you can mail a check to:

United Way of the Wabash Valley
100 S. 7th St, Terre Haute, IN  47803

Your United Way contribution stays right here in the Wabash Valley unless you designate it elsewhere. United Way dollars are targeted to meet community needs in the Wabash Valley and invest in long-term solutions to solve the most critical issues.

We all have special interests, and we would not ask you to support United Way at the expense of another charitable organization. UWWV believes there are critical issues in our community that cannot be solved by a single agency alone. United Way’s broad partnerships, coordinated planning and needs assessments and commitment to measurable results ensure that your gift will be used wisely and effectively to meet our community’s most critical needs as a whole.

United Way monitors results to ensure the programs are making an impact. You can be certain your money is well invested. Many times, United Way of the Wabash Valley is also able to leverage Matching Grant funds from our State Association. When donors increase their gift, they match those dollars making a larger impact in the Wabash Valley. We have one goal — to create a community where everyone can thrive. United Way turns your good intentions into results — by making the greatest difference possible in our community.

Economy of scale helps us effectively invest in multiple area programs and initiatives.

If you have a special interest in one of our impact areas – education, health, financial stability or neighborhoods – you may designate your gift to that cause on your pledge form. We also accept designations to our community partners listed here.

Volunteers and donors. Individuals like you, who represent a broad spectrum of our six-county region, serve on Review Teams that are part of our Community Impact Committee. These review teams make recommendations on grant funding after a thorough review of the program and application materials.

United Way of the Wabash Valley is a local organization making local decisions on how our resources are invested. From initiatives like Healthier by 2020!  and Success By 6 to services like 2-1-1, to investments in community partners your investments truly make a difference.

Yes. United Way of the Wabash Valley is a federally registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by an individual’s or corporation’s circumstances.

For contributions through payroll deduction, your final year-end pay stub and copy of your pledge form will substantiate your total United Way contribution for the year.  For contributions to United Way by check, your cancelled check is your receipt.  For contributions of $250 or more, United Way will automatically provide you with a letter stating that no goods or services were given to you in exchange for your contribution. This letter will be provided to you no later than January 31 of the year following the gift. Donors should consult their tax advisors for more specific guidance.

Tax receipts are not provided for payroll deductions.  Your final year-end paycheck and copy of your pledge form will substantiate your total United Way contribution for the year.   For contributions of $250 or more made by other means than payroll deduction, United Way will automatically provide you with a letter stating that no goods or services were given to you in exchange for your contribution. This letter will be provided to you no later than January 31 of the year following the gift. Donors should consult their tax advisors for more specific guidance.

It’s not the size of one gift – it is all of us giving together that makes United Way a unique and powerful concept. Every donation matters!

Since your employer will no longer be providing a paycheck from which to deduct your pledged amount, your contributions will end. Your pledge does not automatically get routed to your new place of employment or to your home address.

If you change jobs or are no longer working, please contact our office.  At that time, you can decide whether you are able to fulfill your original pledge, or whether you wish to adjust it. United Way offers individuals several options to fulfill your pledge. If you have switched jobs and your current employer runs a United Way resource drive, it is possible to set-up payroll deduction through the new employer.

Donors have told us that one of the most significant benefits of personal giving is the feeling of being part of a collective effort to solve problems and make a difference in their community. That sense of community involvement comes from joining with fellow employees to support United Way at their workplace.  If a spouse or partner donates for both, even a small gift can sometimes help an employer’s participation with Untied Way, which can sometimes trigger some great matching investments.

No. Contributions to United Way are voluntary. Acts of coercion in any form are unacceptable. This is very important to United Way of the Wabash Valley. We believe that the most responsive contributors are those who are informed about the important work we do. An effective communications program, conducted by committed volunteers and supported by a well-planned campaign, encourages an enthusiastic response.

While some persons may share stories from a workplace where they feel they were pressured to give, in such cases the best we can do is apologize and explain that this is not now or ever has been United Way’s philosophy for fundraising.  Coercion or pressure to donate in a workplace campaign is wrong, and unfortunately, it says more about the workplace culture than about United Way, but sadly it is the United Way that suffers long-term for this practice.

Our United Way still honors all donor designations to Member Agencies and other Community Partners listed here.   100% of any designated donation goes directly to the agency.   In addition, by donating through United Way, we often are able to leverage matching grant funds so that when donors increase their gift, we can receive matching dollars to further support our work, while still honoring the donor’s designation.   To better understand all of the options for designating donations, we encourage all donors to explore our “Choose Your Impact” website to learn about our work and find where your passion leads you to invest.

United Way's Community Impact

United Way of the Wabash Valley invests in more than 60 programs and community change efforts with more than 50 community partners.  United Way also provides additional grants throughout the year for innovative new community impact opportunities.  For a full list of our community partners, visit our website here.

Your gift to United Way of the Wabash Valley joins thousands of other contributions to change the odds for our fellow community members. Through your generosity, we are able to run innovative programs such as:

Success By 6:  Success By 6® is a United Way of the Wabash Valley initiative designed to provide every child with the opportunity to develop basic reading skills so that they may enter kindergarten ready to learn. It is essential that our community recognizes that learning begins at birth and the foundations for learning are established during the developmental years of birth to 6.

Healthier by 2020!: Healthier By 2020 is a United Way of the Wabash Valley initiative that fosters healthy lifestyles through improved access to healthy foods, health education, and active-living opportunities. By focusing on the community effort of healthy behaviors with its initiative programs, the goal is to decrease the percentage of adults and children who are obese from 30% to 25% by 2020.

211: United Way’s free helpline open 24/7 to connect people to food, shelter, and other vital services.

Community Partner Grant Funding: United Way funds community partners that focus on our Bold Goal in order to help move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability based on approaches from our focus areas of: Education, Health, Financial Stability and Neighborhoods.

United Way’s strength for decades has been our ability to identify local needs and use our resources to generate positive change in our community.  Less than three quarters of a percent of our resources are spent on United Way membership and licensing. However, even these expenses bring value to our community through the benefits we receive such as training, national advertising and public policy support, and the ability to draw on “best practices” of United Ways throughout the country.

Money raised in our six-county region stays here, supporting local programs and helping local people.  We operate autonomously—with the flexibility to address the specific needs of the Wabash Valley—while having the ability to draw on the best ideas of United Ways throughout the country.

No. UWWV does NOT fund any programs at Planned Parenthood.  Additionally, we do not accept donor designations to any organizations that are not community partners, so we would never process a designation to Planned Parenthood.  This topic has come up frequently enough that United Way Worldwide addresses it with a statement on their website:

More to the point that normally brings this question to light, no United Way funds are currently used, or have ever been used to support abortion services locally or nationally.

United Way's Resources

Simply call 2-1-1, a free, confidential non-emergency hotline that will connect you to health and human services. United Way 211 is available 24/7/365 in more than 150 languages.

The 2-1-1 call specialists can connect you with important community services, such as child care, flu-shot information, employment assistance, volunteer opportunities, counseling, food, shelter, and more.

211 is a toll-free helpline that connects people with important community services such as child care, flu-shot information, employment assistance, volunteer opportunities, counseling, food, shelter and more. Available 24 hours a day in more than 150 languages, 211 is an integral component of disaster-response infrastructure, directing callers to food, shelter and evacuation routes.

United Way partners with H&R Block to provide its premium online tax filing software to help people easily and accurately file their federal and state taxes through MyFreeTaxes. You can easily access from your computer or the palm of your hand, and can file federal and up to three state returns for free. MyFreeTaxes is the only free, national, online tax filing product offered by a nonprofit. United Way is committed to ensuring that you can easily and accurately file your taxes to receive the refunds you deserve. MyFreeTaxes is a free, safe and simple way for individuals or households earning less than $66,000 to file federal and up to three state taxes.

This ongoing program provides free prescription discounts to Wabash Valley families. Those without insurance as well as those whose insurance may not cover their prescriptions can benefit from the FamilyWize program.

United Way encourages everyone in our community to “Lend your voice. Raise your hand. Make a difference.”  We can absolutely help any individual or organization identify a rewarding volunteer experience for themselves of their employees, respectively.  We host an website that lists over 70 organizations and often hundreds of needs.  Check out the Volunteer Wabash Valley site and get involved today.  We’re here to connect you to opportunities to volunteer, to lead, to help people – and to connect you to other people who share your passion.