These are some of the most commonly-asked questions about the United Way of Williams County’s annual campaign. To see an answer, just click on a question. If your question is not answered here, check the Agency Partner FAQ, General United Way FAQ or email us.
What does United Way of Williams County do?
United Way of Williams County is a locally-based, volunteer-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to funding quality human care services and programs that meet county residents’ basic needs and improve community conditions.
United Way focuses on improving our community’s quality of life. Its strength comes from working together with local businesses, government, and nonprofits, making a greater difference than any one organization or person can when working alone.
How is United Way of Williams County different from other United Ways?
The United Way system includes more than 1,300 community-based United Way organizations in the United States and around the world. Each is independent, separately incorporated and governed by a local, volunteer Board of Directors.
Because of the unique conditions in diverse communities, the issues United Ways address are determined locally. United Way of Williams County is unique in that it is dedicated to addressing the most pressing community needs and issues facing all areas of Williams County (Alvordton, Blakeslee, Bryan, Edgerton, Edon, Holiday City, Kunkle, Montpelier, Pioneer, Stryker, and West Unity).
Is United Way of Williams County audited?
Yes, each year an independent CPA firm audits the books and provides an audit and management letter to United Way’s Board of Directors. Independent auditors also audit funded agencies.
Our audit is available online under the “About Us” tab –> “Accountability” section.
How big is the United Way staff and what do they do?
There are two part-time persons at United Way of Williams County. The staff is responsible for the coordination of volunteers who work to fulfill United Way’s mission.
Supporting the work of volunteers, United Way staff:
- Secure the necessary resources, including more than $300,000 annually, to support needed community programs and services that meet residents basic needs and address pressing community issues.
- Coordinate United Way’s efforts tackling chronic community problems, like Financial Stability.
- Participate in various community collaborations aimed at addressing critical community needs and improving the provision of health and human services.
What makes United Way of Williams County unique among charities?
Your United Way is an important funding source and community builder. United Way is a local community-managed, non-profit organization. Volunteer committees oversee all major functions of the organization and a small professional staff administers the day-to-day operations.
United Way is dedicated to effectively investing the community’s financial and human resources to make a better community for us all.
United Way raises funds and invests them in health and human service programs in 27 local agencies. United Way works with local volunteers, community agencies, and others to find solutions to our community’s most pressing problems.
Who benefits from United Way?
People in need–your family, friends, neighbors and you. Your local United Way is supported by and helps provide health and human services to everyone who works or lives in Williams County. People who live and/or work in Williams County may access services through the programs and agencies United Way supports. Last year United Way of Williams County, through its member agencies, provided 63,766 units of service within our county.
What is United Way of Williams County’s relationship with United Way Worldwide?
United Way Worldwide is the organization dedicated to leading the United Way movement in making a measurable impact in each community. United Way of Williams County pays dues of less than one penny of every dollar contributed, or less than 1% of money raised.
Some of the services provided by United Way Worldwide to your local United Way include: training credits, affiliations with the National Football League, advertising, materials discounts, market reports, fund raising reports and data, access to national organizations with coordinated fund raising, staff and volunteer training programs, group purchasing discounts, networking opportunities and national lobbying efforts.
The value of benefits received from United Way Worldwide is always far more than is paid in dues and helps keep our local costs down.
You all have the same logo! Aren’t all United Ways the same?
NO. Though United Ways share a logo and have similar missions, each United Way is independently incorporated and is led by local staff and volunteers. The work of each United Way is determined by its community needs.
Is my United Way a local or national organization?
Each United Way organization is completely autonomous; locally governed, organized and operated.
Who governs the United Way of Williams County?
A volunteer board of trustees governs United Way of Williams County. It is made up people who live and/or work within our county. This board is independent and makes policy and funding decisions for our United Way. You can view a listing of board members on our web site.
Who decides where my money goes?
Each year local volunteers evaluate each agency that applies for United Way funding. Each agency must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) health and human service nonprofit organization, be governed by a volunteer board of directors, be audited annually by a CPA firm, annually present and defend their entire budget to the volunteers, and operate at a reasonable cost
Everyone needs help in an emergency. Do United Way partners provide any service of this kind?
Yes. United Way financially supports programs providing numerous emergency services. These services include help with food, shelter, clothing, utilities, medical needs, victim support, crisis counseling and financial assistance. Individuals can also access a database of more than 5,000 programs through referrals given by 2-1-1. Additionally, United Way convenes the local board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) and determines the distribution of these federal funds to local nonprofit organizations to supplement emergency food and shelter programs.
How has the national United Way resolved its financial problems from several years ago?
In February, 1992, a Washington Post article outlined lax management and lavish spending by United Way of America President William Aramony. Intense pressure from local United Ways prompted Aramony’s retirement announcement less than two weeks later. Mr. Aramony and several other former United Way of America senior managers have since been convicted of mismanagement and misuse of United Way of America’s funds, and served time in jail. A new president, new financial control systems, six new oversight committees and an expansion of the number of representatives of local United Ways at the board and committee level have corrected the problems.
It is important to note that no local dollars were lost or at risk during this time.
American Red Cross
Aid to Military Families is the contact between the military and the service person’s family in times of need. Family Disaster Service gives victims of local disasters the basic necessities.
A ministry of concerned Christians who provide help with food, prescriptions, utilities, rent and other emergency needs.
Comprehensive Crisis Care – 211 Call Center
Phone: 2-1-1 or 1-800-468-4357
Information and Referral Service provides information about resources in Williams County and referrals for services through a toll free number, walk-in, and via the internet.
Direct assistance program helps individuals with food, utilities, rent, and prescriptions among other needs.
Helping Hands Food Pantry
Christian-based food pantry that provides food and education on nutrition, budgeting and parenting skills.
Northwest Ohio Community Action Commission (NOCAC)
Emergency Relief Fund provides assistance to low income residents with rent, utilities, prescriptions and emergency needs.
Sanctuary of Williams County
Provides temporary housing for families that are in domestic or financial crisis.
Center for Child and Family Advocacy
House of Ruth provides a safe place for victims of domestic violence and their children. Counseling programs for victims and perpetrators of child sexual abuse and family domestic violence.
Four County Family Center
Family Matters Program works with juvenile offenders and involves the entire family in an effort to prevent additional court involvement or removal from the home.
Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.
Provides free legal services in civil matters to individuals and groups who, due to their limited financial resources, cannot afford to hire a private attorney and seek effective resolution of their legal problems.
Lutheran Social Services
Christian agency provides counseling to help clients attain a higher level of physical, emotional, and spiritual functioning.Direct assistance program helps individuals with food, utilities, rent, and prescriptions among other needs.
Ohio Benefit Bank/Financial Stability Partnership
United Way program offers free tax preparation to individuals and families making less than $56,000 per year. Also provides access to work supports such as food stamps, children’s heath care, and utility assistance.
Phone: (419) 636-7272
In addition to other programs, provides “Safe Dates” dating abuse curriculum. Target audience is all middle and high school students, male and female.
Shalom Mediation and Counseling Center
VORP Program is an alternative made available to judges and probation officers where offenders and victims have a chance to work out problems and find healing and reconciliation.
Williams County Family YMCA
The ACCESS Membership Program offers the YMCA to families regardless of their ability to pay.
Williams County Habitat for Humanity
Housing program builds simple but decent homes in partnership with local families and the community.
Boy Scouts of America / Black Swamp Area Council
Program for school-aged youth to instill traditional values, enhance leadership skills, and develop awareness and citizenship.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Provides a new book each month for the first five years of a child’s life, delivered their home. Fosters learning, appreciation of books, and encourages parents to read to their children.
Families and Schools Together (FAST)
Evidence-based program which provides parent education, enhances family functioning and improves communication between parent and child. FAST empowers parents to be the preventive agent in their child’s life and meet the physical, mental and emotional needs of their child. UW dollars provide this program in the North Central Middle School.
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio
Youth program fosters self-esteem, leadership, values and ethics so girls can achieve their full potential.
United Way “Let Me Play” Fund
Website: Let Me Play Fund
Participation scholarships to all area recreation programs with the goal of allowing all youth the opportunity to take part.
Cancer Assistance of Williams County
Financial support and counseling to Williams County cancer patients.
CPC Women’s Health Resource
Free services include pregnancy testing, information on options, material assistance, counseling, post- abortion support groups, abstinence education, limited ultrasound and STD testing, and more.
Kidney Foundation of NW Ohio, Williams County Chapter
Services offered include mileage reimbursement, assistance with non-covered medications and public education.
Williams County Assoc. for the Mentally Handicapped
Recreation program provides adults with mental and/or physical disabilities a camping experience in a therapeutic setting.
Encouraging young people to stand up against social pressures and stand out as people of character!
Williams County Senior Center
There may come a time in the lives of some individuals in our community when they are no longer capable of managing affairs. The Volunteer Guardian program assists them in making basic life decisions.
What requirements must United Way agencies meet?
United Way agencies must meet strict guidelines. An agency must demonstrate that it is performing an essential service to the community. It must be a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation governed by a volunteer managing board whose members are elected. Its operations are to be conducted by a trained, professional staff where appropriate. It must undergo an independent annual financial audit or equivalent evaluation and must meet reasonable standards of financial responsibility and efficiency.
Why do some member organizations charge fees?
No service provider is completely funded by United Way dollars. Organizations may depend upon service or membership fees, endowments, or grants for financial support. Frequently, organizations offer sliding fee schedules so that people are charged, where appropriate, based on their ability to pay.
How does an agency or organization become a United Way funding partner?
Any registered not-for-profit agency that provides health and human services to the people of Williams County and meets identified critical community needs and priorities may apply for United Way funding. Agencies must submit detailed financial statements, a certified audit, as well as information on programs and services to be provided. Volunteers review all applicants and make decisions about funding. For more information about applying, contact United Way staff.
I know of someone who didn’t get help. Don’t United Way and its partners programs help everyone?
No individual or family is turned away deliberately. Usually when people are unable to receive help from a non-profit organization, it is because limited funds necessitate long waiting lists or because the organization does not offer the specific services individuals or families are seeking.
I give to United Way but still get solicitations from its funding partners. Why?
United Way of Williams County support provides only part of the operational expenses of our funding partners. In other words, United Way dollars fund specific programs and initiatives of each funding partner. United Way does not fund the entire agency.
All funding partners agree not to solicit through payroll deductions at the workplace and not to solicit gifts during the United Way campaign (August 15-October 31). They can fundraise in the community outside of this time period to help support programs and operating expenses. If you are already supporting the United Way campaign, you know you are already making a significant contribution to the community and assisting that agency’s mission.
Does United Way of Williams County support Planned Parenthood?
No, United Way of Williams County does not currently fund Planned Parenthood or any other organization that renders abortion services.
Does United Way of Williams County support the Boy Scouts?
Yes. United Way of Williams County historically and currently invests in the Boy Scouts of America, Black Swamp Council.
Does the United Way support religious agencies?
There are some organizations that provide some human care programs that are religiously affiliated. United Way Worldwide prohibits the direct support of churches but does allow us to assist church-sponsored organizations that are providing social services. United Way funds are directed to those programs of the organizations that serve the community. In fact, many churches themselves support United Way.
Agency programs are available to anyone regardless of race, creed or religion.
Where do United Way dollars come from?
United Way contributions come from individuals like you and from companies throughout Williams County.
How much money did United Way raise in last year’s campaign?
United Way of Williams County raised $346,000 in last year’s campaign (Campaign 2015). This represented 101.7% of our $340,000 goal.
Where does the money that United Way of Williams County raises go?
Your gift to United Way of Williams County stays in Williams County, unless you designate it elsewhere. United Way of Williams County is the largest non-governmental funder of local community programs and services in Williams County. United Way dollars are targeted to meet critical community needs in the county not funded by other sources and invest in long-term solutions to top social problems. Currently, United Way funds programs at 28 different agencies.
Who decides how to spend the dollars raised by United Way of Williams County’s fundraising efforts?
Volunteers. Individuals like you, who represent a broad spectrum of the Williams County area serving on the United Way board. The United Way of Williams County is a local autonomous organization making local decisions on how monies are raised and how monies are spent. We are not governed by a national organization, or do we follow mandated policies and procedures.
Each year, all services and programs currently funded by United Way are reviewed by volunteers, who are trained in analyzing budgets, program efficiency and effectiveness. Organizations seeking funding present written proposals to United Way and its volunteer teams. Funding decisions are based on dollars available, community need and on the ability of the applicant to meet that need.
How much money actually goes to community services?
About 91 cents of every dollar donated to United Way of Williams County supports local services and programs that meet basic needs, improve community conditions and help get to the root causes of some our most pressing problem. United Way of Williams County’s overhead cost of just 9 cents per dollar raised.
Why should I give to United Way? Why not just donate directly to an agency?
Charitable giving is a personal and voluntary decision and the United Way of Williams County encourages you to do what is most comfortable to you. A gift to United Way of Williams County is an investment that benefits the entire community, not just one program, issue, or population.
There are many valuable non-profit organizations in the area you may care about. United Way provides an opportunity for your one gift to support a variety of local needs. If everyone designated their gifts to their favorite agency, many services to those in need would not be available to the community. Through one gift to United Way, you can accomplish so much good!
You can also be assured that your gift to United Way of Williams County goes directly to fund programs that help people most in need. United Way conducts periodic needs assessments to ensure donor dollars are addressing the most pressing community needs. We also monitor funded programs and initiatives annually to make sure they are efficiently and effectively improving people’s lives and making a positive impact. United Way of Williams County volunteers ensure that contributions are doing the most good in the community.
Finally, contributing through United Way guarantees agencies funds they can rely on every month rather than depending on sporadic contributions.
Can I designate my gift?
Though you have the opportunity to designate to any of the funded agencies of United Way of Williams County, and other United Ways across the country, please consider giving to the United Way Community Care Fund, which supports all of the agencies.
Why should I give if my spouse/partner already gives?
United Way of Williams County believes that charitable giving is a personal and voluntary decision. We encourage each spouse/partner to participate in his/her employer’s United Way workplace campaign. The combined total of both gifts may qualify you for leadership giving recognition.
Is giving to United Way voluntary?
YES! Giving to United Way is strictly voluntary. United Way does not use or approve of coercion. Education about how United Way agencies help people is the best way to encourage contribution.
What if I don’t want my money to go to a certain agency?
Not every agency appeals to every donor, but all agencies have met the meticulous standards of our United Way and the programs we fund meet needs within our community. If you like, you can designate to any one agency that fits your charitable goals.
Does my donation stay in Williams County?
About 99 cents of every dollar raised stays in Williams County.
I don’t use the services, why should I give?
Chances are, you or someone you know will use a United Way member agency service or program in your lifetime. When you consider the tremendous range of services provided by United Way funded programs, you or a family member will probably use one of the services at some point in time. Perhaps your son will become a Boy Scout or your daughter a Girl Scout. Or perhaps a family will need other services our agencies provide. Whatever the occasion, United Way funded programs meet the needs of thousands of people in our service area, assuring all of us a better place to live, work, and play.
What is the easiest way to contribute?
Payroll deduction is by far the most convenient method of contribution. A small amount is taken from your paycheck per payday, allowing you to make a small contribution each week that can make a big difference in the course of a year.
How can I be certain where my United Way contribution goes?
One of the benefits of contributing to the United Way is that you know where your money goes. The volunteers serving on the United Way’s Community Investment Committees monitor “where the money goes” from a budgetary standpoint, as well as programs and services. you have specific concerns, please call the United Way office at 419-636-8603 to answer your questions.
Why should I contribute to the United Way if I pay taxes?
Your tax dollars do support many social services in the community. However, this does not begin to address all the needs within our community. That is why we need your help to continue these important services.
I do not live in the area where I work. Why should I contribute to the United Way?
If you live in another town or city, remember that you can direct gifts to United Ways serving your own community through the United Way’s donor choice program.
If I choose to designate my gift, are there any fees deducted?
Yes. In order to maintain the integrity of the United Way Community Investment process and to make sure that the safety net of services is available, United Way retains a fee of 15% of agency designations. This fee goes to the General Fund which benefits all agencies. United Way pays agencies based on the amount raised, not the amount collected, and this fee helps to offset uncollectable amounts.
Designations to other United Ways are charged a minimal fee (usually 7.5%). Many United Ways all across our region have agreed to this fee, including Defiance, Fulton and Henry Counties. Based on United Way Worldwide guidelines, we can charge up to our full overhead costs. We have chosen to charge this lower rate in the spirit of cooperation with others. United Ways that have not agreed to the lower fee charge much higher rates to us when sending donor designated funds to our community.
If I choose to designate my gift, is it on top of what the program already receives from United Way?
Yes. Designated funds are in addition to any annual funding decisions made my volunteer community investment committee.
Is my contribution tax deductible?
Yes! Since United Way of Williams County is a 501(c)(3) organization, your gift is tax deductible to the full extent of the law, as long as you itemize deductions.
Do I get a receipt for my donation?
It depends on the amount of your gift and how it was made. If you made your gift through payroll deductions, a receipt is not necessary. (And in fact, because your gift goes through your employer, who then makes monthly or bi-monthly payments to United Way, we would be unable to provide a receipt because those payments are usually not broken down by individual donor amounts.) Should you need a receipt for itemized tax purposes, you can use your December 31 paystub or your W-2 if your employer shows that information.
For gifts of $100 or greater paid in cash or individual payments, receipts are mailed at the end of January. Per tax law, this receipt also confirms that the donor did not receive any goods or services in exchange for their gift. Gifts less than $250 do not, by tax law, require a receipt from the charity that receives it.
If you used a three-part pledge card, please keep the pink copy for your tax records.
I would like to give, but how can I afford to?
By giving a small amount each pay period through payroll deduction, most working people can afford to contribute. Even a small contribution will help someone who might not otherwise receive help. For example, if every working individual donated just $1 each week, that would equal $1 million for our community needs.
Summer recreation program helps mentally handicapped in our county
The Williams County Association for the Mentally Handicapped, with the help of funding from the Williams County United Way, is able to offer a group of consumers the opportunity to travel out of state for three to four days. Most of these consumers do not get the chance to leave the state of Ohio let alone Bryan, so the association thought most of them would be excited to participate on this trip.
The summer recreation program offers a vacation to individuals that would not otherwise be able to afford to take one. It allows the consumers the opportunity to take time away from work and peers and enjoy recreational and social opportunities that are not usually offered to them. It also gives family members respite time while away from their loved ones.
The group makes a journey on a chartered bus and even has their own escort from Evelyn’s Excursions. The Association has planned these trips the last five summers for the group. The number of participants continues to increase yearly and nothing but positive feedback is received from the surveys.
Over the last five summers the group has traveled to Lancaster/Hershey, Pennsylvania, Pigeon Forge and Memphis Tennessee, the Wisconsin Dells and Niagara Falls. All but one of these destinations was suggested by several of the consumers on their survey. They have had the opportunity to visit a variety of popular venues while vacationing to these destinations. Each and every one of them enjoys the time they spend away from home and look forward to the annual summer trip.
Red Cross volunteers help when disasters happen
The American Red Cross of NE Indiana, Williams County Branch has had a very good year. This year we served many families needing immediate help after disasters just like we have in the past but this year has been different. Our success this year has been in the number of residents wanting to become disaster volunteers and following through with the classes needed to fulfill the requirements set out by the American Red Cross. These classes are developed to assure each volunteer has the necessary tools to do the job even in some of the most unlikely situations.
When disasters happen, as you have seen throughout the United States during the past few years, shelters are needed to be opened and manned. Williams County has many facilities which we have agreements with to be used as a shelter and therefore our local volunteers who have been trained would be ready to greet the residents who have been displaced from their homes. They not only open a shelter but also organize meals and a place to sleep for disaster victims.
Now these volunteers are not just trained to work in our local area, we have had many of our residents actually work in some of the larger national disasters. A few of these disasters were 911, California Wildfires, Katrina and various other hurricanes. At this time, we have a volunteer who is driving the Emergency Response Vehicle delivering meals to residents after Hurricane Sandy.
We have been very pleased with the increased interest in volunteering for our disaster team in Williams County but we can always use more people who have the time and interest to take these classes so that our County will be even better prepared. If you would like more information, please give our office a call at 419-636-3449.
“Lori” helped by H.E.L.P.
“Lori,” a pregnant mother with 2 toddlers called H.E.L.P. on Friday morning and asked for assistance with getting her water turned back on. After confirming with the utility the amount of the bill and the reconnect fee, payment was promised and her water was turned back on that very afternoon.
“Diana” finds a safe place at the House of Ruth
“Diana” and her three young daughters came to the House of Ruth from Williams County, to get away from an abusive boyfriend. Diana told the staff she was a very motivated person and she planned to do what she had to so she and her children would be safe.
A couple of weeks after entering the shelter, Diana went out with a friend and came back with a job. She told the staff she had also found housing that day, which would be walking distance of her job.
Diana stayed in the shelter as she secured household items and child care with referrals from the House of Ruth. While in shelter, Diana attended the HUGS (Healthy Understanding, Growth and Support) group and stated that she felt it really helped her understand what she had been through.
Diana now has a better paying job and a vehicle, and still appreciates all that was done for her while in the shelter, and knowing that she can contact the staff for help, even after she had left.
Cancer Assistance advocates for “Lauren”
“Lauren” has been helped by Cancer Assistance of Williams County since March of 2012. CAWC helped her with financial assistance for immediate medical bills, but also assisted getting her insurance coverage.
She had never been exposed to the Medicaid system, and needed the advocacy provided by CAWC to help her understand and get the right paperwork in. CAWC also negotiated with the medical providers to lower her balance.
In working with Cancer Assistance, Lauren gained confidence and a voice.