Frequently Asked Questions

We are grateful to have the type of open relationship with you- the people who make United Way of Central Kentucky possible- where you can freely share your questions and concerns. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision regarding where to give your hard-earned dollars and valuable time. We are humbled by the trust you have placed in us and continually strive to be the organization this incredible community deserves. You are welcome to explore the following questions we frequently encounter about our work. If you have unresolved concerns or would like to learn more about a topic not covered here, please email mstith@unitedwayck.org.  

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How does United Way spend my donation? I’ve heard different stories about how charitable donations go to executive salaries rather than people in need. How is this handled at UWCK? Simply put, money raised here stays here to make the greatest possible impact in our community. Most pledges are not designated for a certain destination. Those dollars are allocated by United Way volunteers from all 5 of UWCK’s counties who spend hours vetting applicants, evaluating their effectiveness and efficiency. They review funding requests, analyze the needs of the community, and make informed decisions in allocating United Way dollars. A complete listing of United Way of Central Kentucky’s annual allocations can be found on our website at http://www.unitedwayck.org/funded-partners and is included on all of our pledge forms. Our fundraising and administrative percentage is 16.4%, well below the 25% and 35% guidelines established by the Better Business Bureau and IRS. That means 83 cents of every dollar goes directly to a program or service. Our Executive Salary is determined locally with oversight by our Finance Committee and Board of Directors.  This information is disclosed publicly on our IRS Form 990, which is also available on our website at http://unitedwayck.org/Financials.php, along with our annual report and approved budget for the current fiscal year. In addition, UWCK is a member of the Better Business Bureau and has been vetted to meet all 20 standards of charitable accountability and holds a Gold rating with Guidestar.  Read the BBB report on our work at http://charityreports.bbb.org/louisville/human-services/united-way-of-central-kentucky-in-elizabethtown-ky-7113.  

How do I know that I can trust United Way of Central Kentucky? UWCK has been reviewed and certified by the Better Business Bureau to affirm the organization meets all 20 of its charitable accountability standards and voluntarily submits information for public review through Guidestar. Our financials are also presented in our annual report and are available on our website for review at any time here.  We adhere to additional governance best practices to be members of the United Way Worldwide network, which requires verification of 68 indicators that demonstrate our commitment to transparency and effectiveness.  Membership standards must be certified annually and the public is welcome to view this submission.
 
Does United Way of Central Kentucky fund Planned Parenthood? UWCK does NOT fund Planned Parenthood or any program that provides reproductive or family planning services.  Please read the UWCK Statement on Planned Parenthood for an in-depth discussion of this issue.  You can also view United Way of Central Kentucky’s listing on the Pro-Life Guide to United Way, a third-party website that verifies UWCK does not fund Planned Parenthood: https://afa.net/unitedway
  
I read stories and hear ads about United Way that talk about different services than are offered here.  United Way of Central Kentucky is independent and autonomous from all other United Ways, including Metro United Way and United Way of the Bluegrass. We are operated by our own Board of Directors and serve the people of our 5 county region. Information you read or hear about United Way in other communities does not reflect the operations of this one.
 
What is the difference between United Way Worldwide and United Way of Central Kentucky? United Way Worldwide is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides training, support, and fundraising relationships for local United Ways like UWCK. United Way of Central Kentucky, along with 1,800 independent United Ways across 41 counties, is a member of this network with our own 501c3 status, governance, and local practices. To be a member of the United Way network, UWCK pays an annual fee as a percentage of funds raised each year and must meet stringent governance requirements verifying the quality of our operations. Our United Way Worldwide membership not only provides training, branding, and strategic support for our small staff, but UWW also negotiates relationships on our behalf with Fortune 500 Companies like Walmart, UPS, and other global brands that in turn allow us to raise funds on the local level. Those two companies alone raised over $60,000 for UWCK last year, which more than reimbursed our local community for the UW Worldwide membership of $14,000.  Membership fees are not used to provide programs at other local United Ways, such as funding of agencies like Planned Parenthood.  Visit http://www.unitedway.org/contact-us/faqs for a list of frequently asked questions regarding our membership in United Way Worldwide.  
 
Who decides which programs receive United Way funding?  The Community Investment process is the method by which local community representatives volunteer to evaluate the proposals from programs seeking UWCK funding. Each applicant is vetted by all members of the Community Investment Team (CIT), a committee that includes donors and volunteers who live and work in our community and ultimately make a funding recommendation to UWCK’s Board of Directors.  CIT members are recruited from across the region to ensure representation from all 5 counties served by UWCK and provide a thorough understanding of local needs.  CIT members are thoroughly vetted for any conflicts of interest and may not be employed by any agency or program seeking UWCK funding.  Each Community Investment Team volunteer spends an average of 40 hours vetting and identifying the programs that best align with our work in Education, Financial Stability, Health, and Basic Needs.  Learn about the allocations process at http://www.unitedwayck.org/how-we-invest.
 
How are applications reviewed?  Throughout the rigorous review process, CIT members utilize an assessment tool to rate applications based on their quality, alignment with United Way’s funding priorities, and ability to demonstrate measurable results in their respective area of focus. A representative from each applicant program has the opportunity to answer questions and make a brief in-person presentation to the CIT during the review process.  Programs are evaluated for their alignment with UWCK Community Impact goals, financial and organizational management, capacity to achieve projected goals, ability to show measurable results, and the resources it takes to obtain those results. Programs funded in the past will be evaluated on additional measures including compliance with annual Memorandum of Agreement, pursuit of supplemental funding sources, delivery of promised results, and support of the UWCK partnership.  Written feedback is provided to all applicants to strengthen future applications.
 
Why wasn't my favorite agency funded?  Despite a recent history of record annual campaigns, funds raised by UWCK are never enough to fully meet all grant requests from applicants.  Over the past three years, UWCK grants have only been able to meet 60-76% of total funding requests.  UWCK is committed to maximizing the impact of each dollar invested in funded programs but welcomes the opportunity to support agencies through other initiatives, including volunteerism and the AmeriCorps VISTA program.  Programs that did not receive funding are encouraged to consult with UWCK to learn from the CIT’s feedback and apply for funding again in the future.  
 
Why does United Way of Central Kentucky focus more deeply on specific issues?  Like most organizations, we are challenged to meet the needs of our community by effectively driving change with limited resources. By investing strategically in a streamlined set of priorities that align with our community’s goals and through focusing more deeply on fewer issue areas, we aim to make a more meaningful and measurable impact in the lives of the local residents we serve. 
 
How is this process different from the past? In the past, United Way of Central Kentucky awarded funds to as many good causes as possible.  While these partnerships undoubtedly had a positive impact on the agencies serving our community and their clients, the many challenges facing our local families continued to persist.  UWCK has taken a more focused approach to reducing poverty through strategic partnerships that drive preventative efforts.  Through transitioning to a Community Impact model of operations and funding, we not only want to make a more measurable and lasting difference in the region but also keep the problems we are trying to remedy from occurring in the first place.  This shift has come with an increased emphasis on results and funded partners’ ability to work collaboratively to achieve outcomes determined through years of Community Impact research.  We report back to the community annually regarding steps taken to understand the community’s aspirations and focus resources to achieve these local goals.  Learn more about our allocations process at http://www.unitedwayck.org/how-we-invest.
 
I can’t afford to give to United Way. We are all feeling that there is less disposable income to give to charity during these uncertain economic times. The people who feel it most are the health and human service agencies. It’s a catch-22. There is less money being allocated to them, yet there are more people turning to them for assistance. We must examine our own situation and make a choice. Through the United Way campaign, we have the opportunity to spread our generosity throughout the entire year. By utilizing payroll deduction you can have a small amount taken each pay period. For as little as $1 a week, your generosity can greatly impact the lives of others.  Click here to see real examples of the impact even a small gift can make.
 
I already give money to church or another charity. Supporting your religious belief is important and reflects your personal religious convictions and your desire to help other people. But consider giving to United Way as a way to enhance your charitable portfolio. The benefits derived from our United Way gifts are vitally important to our entire community, just as our religious contributions are to our church community. You may also designate your gift to an issue you care about, such as Education, or a County served by a United Way.  More information about this policy and how to direct your investment to a particular charity can be found in our Designation Policy.
 
It’s not our job to help people who just want a handout. We agree that it’s important to give people the tools they need to support themselves. That’s why our nonprofit partners are held to high standards and must prove the long-term results they create with the donations they receive. Most people who are impacted by our services need help through no fault of their own. We all know someone who has found themselves in crisis after they were laid off from work, suffered an unexpected illness, or had their life uprooted by a natural disaster. It’s important that we support agencies that can help people get back on their feet since we’re all one stroke of bad luck away from needing a hand up. We aren’t just funding good causes, we’re funding change. Read success stories of real people impacted by your generosity at http://www.unitedwayck.org/campaign-central.
 
I don’t want to give because when I or someone I knew needed help, United Way didn’t help. United Way is not set up to provide direct services to individuals. We refer people to our funded partners and other community resources who specialize in working with clients. The agencies themselves determine eligibility and amount of aid given to those in need, usually in terms of government guidelines or established policies. United Way raises money for the programs and services that can help the most people as effectively as possible. They are listed in our campaign brochure and on our website at www.unitedwayck.org. If you or anyone you know ever needs help, feel free to contact us for a referral to programs that could support you during a difficult time.

United Way of Central Kentucky has a very nice new office. Is this where my donation went?  Operating on a lean budget is very important to us since this is what our donors deserve.  For many years our team of 3 staff and 4 full-time volunteer AmeriCorps VISTAs operated out of a 3 room office in the Peddler’s Mall shopping complex.  Through a grant we had the opportunity to take on additional VISTA members who could expand our programs and services, but could not do so without having a more efficient space to work.  Luckily our community answered our request for help and provided us with a new home in a historic building that would allow us to operate more effectively.  The renovation of that home was privately funded with significant in-kind contributions made to allow us to have such a welcoming, professional work environment.  Companies sponsored rooms through Project United which provided us with much-needed items like desks, chairs, and other furniture, and we thank these donors with recognition signs posted in each space.  We pay a modest rent of $1,500/month that is well below market rate for the 1,800 square feet occupied by our team.  Having additional room to host meetings allows our staff to operate more effectively, as we used to spend a significant amount of time looking for external meeting space and travelling off-site anytime we needed to host a meeting for more than 6-8 attendees.  We have also been able to provide food at meetings and events on a more cost-effective scale now that we have a kitchen that can accommodate our needs.  We welcome outside groups to use our meeting space and love to have guests in for tours of the gorgeous building we proudly call the community’s home.  Learn how to reserve the meeting room here: http://www.unitedwayck.org/resources-training. 

What does United Way of Central Kentucky do in areas outside of Hardin County?  In order to keep our administrative costs as low as possible, we do not maintain separate offices and staff members in each of our five counties.  However, we are proud that our team frequently works remotely to stay connected to local needs and are exploring the possibilities of establishing scheduled “office hours” across our region so we can have a consistent physical presence in each county we serve.  We are always looking for volunteers who can represent local interests on our Board of Directors, Community Investment Team, and other committees to ensure a variety of perspectives are reflected in our work.  In addition to our investments in local programs and agencies, we have placed AmeriCorps VISTA members at projects in all 5 counties, help multiple local Early Childhood Councils secure outside grants, and are members of numerous coalitions such as the Grayson County Business Boosters, Larue Living Well Coalition, and Meade County Young Leaders Network.  We are members of each Chamber of Commerce and have recently moved Project United, which has a $20,000+ value, outside Hardin County for the first time.  Learn more about our funded programs serving each county here.  You can also designate your gift to any of our 5 counties, or any county served by a United Way if you want to direct your investment to a specific part of our service area.

What information do I need from United Way of Central Kentucky to claim a tax deduction? Payroll contributions to support UWCK are deducted from after-tax pay, but are tax-deductible.
  • Payroll Deduction: For contributions through payroll deduction, your final year-end paycheck and pink copy of your pledge form will substantiate your total United Way contribution for the year.
  • Check: For contributions to United Way by check in the amount of $249 or less, your cancelled check is your receipt. For contributions of $250 or more, UWCK will automatically provide you with a letter stating that no goods or services were given to you in exchange for your contribution and include our charitable EIN number. This letter will be provided within a month of your gift. For contributions of less than $250, we will happily provide a similar letter at the request of the donor.
  • Stock: For contributions of stock, United Way of Central Kentucky will automatically provide you with a letter communicating the amount of the charitable deduction and confirming that no goods or services were given to you in exchange for the contribution and include our charitable EIN number.

INFORMATION ABOUT UNITED WAY WORLDWIDE