Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Click the links below to navigate to the section.




What does United Way do?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati leads a movement to bring economic well-being to all families throughout our region, so the entire community can thrive, now and in the future. We unite individuals, companies and organizations to invest their time, financial resources and talents to drive this movement toward success.

  • Our services and solutions focus on educational success, financial empowerment and housing security, which are the building blocks to financial sustainability and economic mobility. Like the challenges people face, these focus areas are unique and interconnected, with no single solution.

  • We are uniquely positioned to lead and partner with others in building long-term solutions and aligning systems to help our community's families thrive.


What is United Way of Greater Cincinnati's service area?

  • We serve nine counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, consisting of roughly 1.8 million people.

    • Hamilton, Brown and Clermont counties in Ohio.
    • Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky.
    • Dearborn and Ohio counties in Southeast Indiana.


Who oversees United Way of Greater Cincinnati?

  • United Way is a volunteer-led organization. We are governed by a local Board of Directors that represents every sector and region served.
  • The Board develops strategic direction with staff and community stakeholders, who then set policies and ensure capable staffing. A staff team of 95 works hand-in-hand with the board and dozens of other community volunteers.


How is our United Way connected with others?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati is an independent and self-governing member of the United Way Worldwide network.
  • We meet annual membership requirements and receive benefits such as training, national advertising and public policy support, as well as the ability to draw on "best practices" of United Ways throughout the country.


How can I get help for myself or someone I know?

  • Simply call 211 to access a free, confidential, non-emergency hotline that will connect you to a wide range of local human services. United Way's 211 Helpline is available 24/7/365 in more than 150 languages. You can also text 211CARES to 51555 or search our online database at

  • o Our Care Coordinators connect you with important community services, such as child care, employment assistance, rent and eviction assistance, volunteer opportunities, counseling, food, shelter, vaccine information and more.

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Why should I give to United Way?

  • United Way unites our community. We advocate, take action and invest in accelerating positive change in our region. We work to move the community forward in areas critical to our community’s success: early childhood education, financial stability and housing.
  • We cannot do this work alone. Your gift is combined with thousands of others and invested in many collaborative initiatives and services essential to achieving the goal of helping all families thrive, now and in the future.
  • United Way, formed in 1915, is one of the region’s largest nonprofit organizations. We are committed to working alongside elected leaders, community partners and donors to address the root cause of issues, rebuild systems and create solutions so everyone in the community has access to opportunities.


How can I give?

  • You can donate online at any time or make a gift during your company's annual United Way campaign.


How much of my donation goes to administrative costs?

  • For every $1 donated, 85 cents goes back into the community – a ratio that exceeds Better Business Bureau guidelines.
  • Administrative costs empower a broad team of experts who ensure effective and efficient United Way operations; support corporate relationships; influence public policy; and convene resources to develop solutions to our community's systemic problems.


Why should I give to United Way instead of directly to an agency or nonprofit?

  • United Way brings together the collective power of resources for solving deep-rooted problems to achieve results no one partner can achieve on its own.
  • Giving to an agency provides immediate relief to an individual or family, but investing that same money in United Way helps change the system so more people in our community thrive and fewer need help in the future.
  • Some work, we can only do together – as a community. With a gift to United Way, you support the work of mobilizing the caring power of individuals and organizations to build a future where everyone can thrive.
  • If you're passionate about a specific cause, talk with United Way about opportunities to target your gift to one of our impact areas – educational success, financial empowerment or housing security.
  • When your gift is combined with those from thousands of other generous individuals, United Way can invest substantially in solutions that make meaningful change.


Are United Way donations tax-deductible?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati is a federally registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by an individual's or corporation's circumstances.
  • Those contributing through payroll deduction in their workplace should keep a copy of their e-pledge receipt or signed pledge card and maintain their last pay stub of the tax year or Form W-2 from their employer that summarizes the amount withheld for United Way.


What if I feel pressured to give?

  • Neither United Way nor its volunteers believe people should be forced to give. United Way discourages coercion in any form. Pressure defeats the very idea of voluntary giving. Any semblance of pressure (whether real, implied or perceived) is contradictory to United Way's operating standards.
  • If you feel you have been pressured to give in a workplace campaign, please contact your Employee Engagement Leader to express your concern, or contact us.

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How does United Way create impact?

  • To reach our vision of helping all families thrive, we work in several ways:
    • We take action – We develop and deploy high-impact solutions to address community-identified needs. We collaborate to achieve shared objectives and create community-owned solutions.
    • We advocate – We amplify community voice and experience. We develop and advance research, data, tools and recommendations to educate stakeholders and drive action.
    • We invest – We support individuals and families in crisis. And, we fund partners to advance innovative solutions and address systemic challenges to prevent future needs. A snapshot of our 2022 community investments:
    • Grow capacity (including Black-led Social Change and Black Empowerment Works; faith-based grants; merger and acquisition grants): $1.6 million invested; $355,000 for in-kind or leveraged resources.
    • Critical services (including 211/Care Coordination; direct-relief efforts; Free Tax Prep; emerging needs grants; six-month partner grants): $12.5 million invested, plus $14 million in public dollars administered.
    • Collaborative solutions (including Project Lift; systems change partners; advocacy efforts; Success By 6®; The Renew Collaborative; Family Success Network): $12.5 million invested.


How does United Way decide what solutions to support?

  • We believe those closest to the challenges are closest to the solutions, so in 2022 we surveyed and interviewed more than 400 local residents and nearly 200 organizations, as well as business leaders, about our community's assets, opportunities, challenges and solutions.

  • United Way's current grant cycle was open to all eligible nonprofit and community groups within our nine-county region. United Way reviewed applications for funding and weighed decisions against three categories of priorities:

    • Individual organization priority criteria

    • Organizational commitment to addressing systems change and root causes in collaboration with United Way and other local community organizations

    • Alignment toward community and partner-identified systems change opportunities


  • We, along with community and board members, used data and application materials to carefully curate portfolios against identified opportunities. The result was investment in six opportunity areas:

    • NextGen Success: Financial empowerment for young people through coordinated educational and workforce pathways

    • Housing First: Building strong financial foundations through stable housing

    • Equitable Economic Mobility: Breaking down barriers to employment and equitable wealth building

    • Ready Kids, Resilient Families: Transforming the early education system of care to support the resiliency of kids and their families

    • Responding to Community Need: Improving the effectiveness of the nonprofit system of care to respond to community needs

    • Improved Prevention, Stronger Communities: Scaling trauma-informed approaches to strengthen community well-being


What work is United Way doing to ensure racial equity in our community?

  • Equity and justice have been part of the mission of UWGC, as well as United Way Worldwide, for some time, but we recognize we have work to do.
  • We are committed to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion. We know Black people are disproportionally affected in these areas because of historic, systemic racism.
  • During the initial response phase of the COVID-19 crisis, UWGC consulted with and followed the recommendations of Black-led organizations on where support was needed and worked closely with All-In Cincinnati to expand on that list, funding many more Black-led organizations.
  • Our Black-led Social Change initiative encompasses organizations, ideas and strategies led by individuals who identify as Black, and that aim to build power and positive outcomes within the Black community. This initiative launched Black Empowerment Works (BEW) in 2020. Since its inception, BEW has invested more than $3 million in 100 ideas and their leaders in partnership with P&G Always brand and bi3.


How does United Way measure the impact of investments?

  • United Way is audited each year by an independent accounting firm to ensure we are in compliance with generally accepted accounting procedures, regulations and laws.
  • United Way is a long-standing member of the Better Business Bureau.
  • As part of its partnership agreements, United Way outlines fiscal accountability standards for each funded agency based on industry-best practices.
  • Through grant management and relationships with funded partners, United Way established robust processes around financial accountability and reporting.


How can my nonprofit apply for United Way funding?

  • There are many ways to be engaged in United Way's community solutions. To learn more about these opportunities, as well as upcoming funding opportunities, contact our Community Impact team or visit our website at

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