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FAQs

Everything you wanted to know about United Way California Capital Region and more, from fundraising methods to nonprofit affiliations.

Who is United Way California Capital Region?

Your local United Way is an independent local affiliate of United Way Worldwide, and we serve five counties: Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. United Way is leading the LIVE UNITED movement to make sure everyone has the building blocks for a good life: Education, Income and Health.

We were founded 90 years ago to improve people’s lives and build stronger communities in the capital area. We continue to be a backbone in the community, serving as a leader among nonprofits. But today, that mission requires more than just dollars for a single cause. We have a team of the best and brightest nonprofits, companies, government bodies, volunteers and donors working to rebuild the building blocks for a good life. Since 1923, we have raised more than $400 million for the regional nonprofit community.

Who runs United Way California Capital Region?

Your local United Way is managed by a staff of 25 nonprofit professionals and is governed by a local board of directors that represent our community.

What do you do?

We are spearheading the LIVE UNITED movement, raising funds and finding volunteers and partners to make sure that everyone has the building blocks for a good life: Education, Income and Health. We also support our 140 certified nonprofit partners working in the field to help people rebuild their lives.

Can United Way provide me with medical, health or some other kind of assistance?

If you need non-emergency help, you should contact InfoLine at (916) 498-1000 or dial 211 if you’re in Sacramento County.

Why should I donate through United Way?

United Way gives you the opportunity to do more than give to a cause – you can join a movement. Our LIVE UNITED movement gives you the chance to give or volunteer your way, so you can choose how you want to join us. No matter how you choose to join, you will be working with us toward a common goal: rebuilding the building blocks for a good life.

We offer two ways to donate to United Way:

1. Donate to the LIVE UNITED movement through our United Way projects or to any of our 140 nonprofit partners that we have certified so you know they will use your money well.

2. Give to your favorite nonprofit, whether or not it’s one of our certified nonprofit partners. Our only requirement is that it be a tax-exempt 501c3 organization in the United States.

We also offer payroll deduction, which gives you the chance to give a little at a time instead of one lump sum at the end of the year. It’s a win-win: By paying a little at a time, you actually give more in the long run, and nonprofits receive a steady stream of money without the costs of fundraising.

What are United Way’s projects?

Our STAR Readers project is helping kids in kindergarten through third grade read at grade level so they are more likely to graduate from high school. Already, 42% of our 663 STAR Readers are reading at grade level.

Our $en$e-Ability project is helping local families and foster youth build financial literacy so they can make sound financial decisions and increase their income. This project also helps foster youth earn money through matched savings accounts so they can be prepared when they leave the system. 62% of the adults in financial literacy coaching are showing improved financial skills, and 90% of foster youth are earning money in their savings accounts.

Our Fit Kids project is helping kids learn and enjoy exercise and healthy food so they’ll be fit for life and avoid the complications of obesity. 88% of our 1,143 Fit Kids have improved on their school Fitnessgram test that measures physical fitness.

How did you choose your projects?

We used a very data-driven process that included a multi-county needs assessment, multiple town hall and regional meetings and a blue-ribbon task force of community volunteers to decide on our areas of focus.

How does United Way help my community?

We were founded 90 years ago to improve people’s lives and build stronger communities in the capital area. Today, we are leading the LIVE UNITED movement to make sure everyone has the building blocks for a good life: Education, Income and Health.

How does United Way raise money?

We do often receive corporate donations, but the vast majority of the money we raise comes from individual donors who are committed to supporting the LIVE UNITED movement.

Which local companies support United Way?

More than 400 local private and public sector companies and organizations support United Way through workplace giving campaigns.

Who is United Way’s CEO?

Steve Heath, a Sacramento native and former volunteer board member of this United Way and others, was President and CEO from Dec. 1, 2004 to June 30, 2013. As we begin a nationwide search for a new CEO, our Vice President of Operations Victoria Kosha will step in as Interim CEO.

What is the relationship between our local United Way and United Way Worldwide?

United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the nearly 1,800 local United Ways in 40 countries around the globe. Our United Way is a separately incorporated nonprofits with our own CEO and Boards of Directors.

How is United Way associated with the NFL?

United Way and the NFL have the longest running public service advertising campaign and sports/charity partnership of its kind. All NFL representatives appearing in United Way ads are volunteers who receive no compensation. The NFL pays for production costs and airtime. There is no cost to local United Ways for the spots.

Where does my money go?

Your local United Way lets you join the LIVE UNITED movement your way. You can choose to give to our United Way projects or Certified Nonprofit Partners, or you can give to any federally tax-exempt 501c3 organization in the U.S. We provide you with the data you need to make an informed choice, and you decide where your donations go.

What is United Way’s overhead?

Our current overhead is 19.04 percent.

Is United Way’s overhead higher than that of other nonprofits?

At 19.04 percent, we are well within the range organizations like the Better Business Bureau say is acceptable.

Does United Way charge a fee for giving to the nonprofit of my choice?

We do usually deduct a small amount (usually about 15%) from a gift before passing it on to a designated nonprofit. This covers our cost of raising the money and making sure it gets to where the donor wants it to go.

Why should I give through United Way and not directly to my favorite nonprofit?

With United Way, you are doing more than give to a cause: You are joining a movement. We have a team of the best and brightest nonprofits, companies, government bodies, volunteers and donors working to rebuild the building blocks for a good life.

What can I do if I feel I was forced to give to United Way through a workplace campaign?

Giving is a personal matter and decision; no form of coercion is acceptable to United Way.  We work with their campaign representatives to balance providing incentives with not making people feel coerced. If you have felt coerced during a United Way campaign, please contact us to ask questions and provide feedback.

 

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