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FAQ Tuesday: How Do UWCK and United Way Worldwide Work?

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. Collectively, the United Way network represents the world’s largest nonprofit, raising nearly $6 billion, serving 50 million individuals, and mobilizing 2.6 million volunteers last year alone.  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, staff, and local practices. To be a member of the United Way network, UWCK pays a membership fee of 1% of funds raised each year and must meet stringent governance requirements verifying the quality of our operations. We complete a three step membership renewal process each year that includes reports of our finances, community impact work, and organizational governance as certified here.  We are proud that our local practices have successfully met these high standards because of the dedicated guidance of our Board of Directors and the many committee volunteers who make our work possible.

What does UWCK get in return for this relationship?  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 less than $14,000.  Membership fees are not used to provide programs that may be funded by other local United Ways, such as funding of agencies like Planned Parenthood.  

We also gain access to initiatives like United Way Born Learning Academies, which offer free educational opportunities to children ages 0-5 and their caregivers at 7 local schools across our service area.  The United Way Worldwide partnership with is another resource that allows families in our community making less than $57,000 to file their state and federal taxes for free. Other initiatives like Day of Action and Familywize prescription discounts are all made possible on the local level because of our status as a United Way rather than operating as a local community foundation.  We are working hard to implement 2-1-1 service in our region, which will connect our community with a confidential referral and information hotline and website that provide resources to anyone in need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  An undertaking of this magnitude is only possible because of the collective support that working together in partnership with other United Ways provides.

Want to learn more about United Way Worldwide?  Visit for a list of frequently asked questions regarding their work.  

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.  That’s why we will be regularly answering your frequently asked questions to help you understand where your investment goes.  You are welcome to explore the following questions we frequently encounter about our work anytime on our website.  We would love to hear questions directly from you!  Share what you’ve always wanted to know about UWCK through commenting on our Facebook page, sending a message through our website, or emailing us directly at