Frequently Asked Questions


What does United Way do?

  • In short, United Way helps people. We bring together people and resources to improve the lives of all in our region.

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

  • We serve 10 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana with a population of roughly 1.8 million people. Our counties include:
    • Hamilton, Brown and Clermont counties and the Middletown/Monroe/ Trenton areas in Butler County 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 who represent every sector and region served.
  • The Board develops strategic direction, sets policies and ensures capable staffing. A staff team of 120 works hand-in-hand with the board and dozens of other leadership and 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, and 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 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.
  • Our 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.

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Why should I give to United Way?

  • United Way is a change agent, working to create long-term solutions to the challenges facing our community AND addressing immediate needs.
  • Your gift is combined with thousands of others and invested in initiatives and programs essential to achieving the region’s Bold Goals in Education, Income and Health.

How can I give?

  • You can donate online at any time or make a gift during your company’s annual United Way campaign.
  • Find other ways you can give.

How much of my donation goes to administrative costs?

  • For every $1 donated, 88 cents goes back into the community – a ratio that exceeds the Better Business Bureau guidelines.

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

  • There are many things we can do as individuals to make a difference, like volunteering as a mentor or serving on a board or committee.
  • There is also some work that we can only do together – as a community. With one gift to United Way, you support a variety of programs and initiatives making an impact in our community. If you’re passionate about a specific cause, talk with us about opportunities to target your gift to one of our impact areas – education, income or health.

But what if I want to make a contribution to a specific nonprofit?

  • Economy of scale helps us effectively invest in hundreds of area programs and initiatives. If you have a special interest in one of our impact areas – education, income or health – you may designate your gift to that cause on your pledge form. If there is a specific initiative or agency partner you’d like to support, you can also designate all or a portion of your gift.

Are United Way donations tax-deductible?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati 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. 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. We discourage coercion in any form. Pressure defeats the very idea of voluntary giving. Any semblance of pressure (whether real, implied or perceived) is contradictory to our operating standards.
  • If you feel that you have been pressured to give in a workplace campaign, please contact your Employee Campaign Coordinator to express your concern or contact us.

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What organizations does United Way support?

  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati invests in more than 280 programs and community change efforts at more than 140 agency partners and in about a dozen initiatives. United Way also provides additional grants throughout the year for innovative new community impact opportunities.

Why does United Way support a system of programs instead of a cause?

  • Instead of focusing on one single cause, United Way invests in a system of programs and services across the areas of Education, Income and Health to meet the varied needs of people in our region. We view these areas as interconnected, much as the issues people face tend to be. They're often complicated, with no one single solution.
  • We invest in organizations to help them make the biggest impact possible – both independently and in partnership with each other.

How does United Way decide what programs to fund?

  • Volunteers make investment decisions based on their impact, alignment to our Agenda for Community Impact (PDF) and the Bold Goals for Our Region, and accountability. All funding is contingent upon the partner’s sound operation, delivery of services and achievement of measurable outcomes.

How do I know that United Way partners use the funds responsibly?

  • We are audited each year by an independent accounting firm to ensure we are in compliance with generally accepted accounting procedures, regulations and laws.
  • We strive to meet the philanthropic goals of our donors and offer a donor satisfaction guarantee. We are a long-standing member of the Better Business Bureau.

What does United Way support beyond its initiatives and partner agencies?

  • In addition to supporting agency partners and a number of strategic initiatives and collaborations, United Way of Greater Cincinnati:
    • Helps policymakers, community leaders and service providers identify the health, social and economic issues facing our region through the Community Research Collaborative.
    • Develops public sector support for comprehensive solutions through funding and system change through public policy advocacy.
    • Provides opportunities for individuals and groups looking to make a difference through United Way Volunteer Connection.

How can my nonprofit apply for United Way funding?

  • If you’d like to learn more about how United Way makes its investment decisions, contact our Community Impact team or visit our For Nonprofits section.

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If you need additional information, please email us at

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