Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is United Way?
United Way of the Laurel Highlands works with 24 Partner Agencies and other collaborators to improve people’s lives and build a stronger community. By supporting agencies that work in health and human services, early childhood education, parental engagement, and youth drug and alcohol prevention the United Way ensures that residents of Cambria and Somerset Counties can get immediate help as well as strengthens children, youth, and families for the future of our community.
Who runs United Way?
A volunteer Board of Directors and a professional staff ensure that the United Way of the Laurel Highlands is working effectively and efficiently to improve people’s lives. Hundreds of local volunteers help to keep United Way a dynamic, growing, and responsive organization.
How much of my contribution actually goes to program services?
Administrative and fundraising costs are kept very low because of the large number of volunteers involved in raising and allocating funds. In 2019, approximately 95¢ of every dollar raised was used for programming. Without United Way support, agencies would need to spend more of their own money and energy on their own fundraising.
How are campaign funds distributed?
The United Way Community Impact Panelists and Community Impact Committee, consisting of United Way board members and other volunteers, review applications from member agencies that seek funding to support community programs. These volunteers use priorities from the most recent community needs assessment to decide where funds can have the greatest impact.
What is the value of giving to United Way when I can donate directly to an agency?
With more than 90 years serving the community and nearly 50 years as the United Way of the Laurel Highlands, we focus on people and the issues close to us: early childhood education, parental engagement, youth drug and alcohol prevention, food, housing, health care, mentoring, emergency financial assistance, and services for victims of crimes and domestic violence. Services funded by United Way have a broad reach and a big impact—nearly 35,000 people were served in 2020.
When you give to United Way of the Laurel Highlands Community Impact Fund, you invest in high-quality, results-oriented programs managed by United Way’s member agencies. Nonprofits are also able to use United Way allocations from the Community Impact Fund as matching funds for state, federal, and private grants. Because our member agencies don't need to spend as much money fundraising, more money goes to services in the community.
United Way also offers resources, professional development opportunities, and grant writing support to strengthen the ability of all local agencies to serve their clients most effectively. Ultimately, more money goes to services in the community.
Can I designate my gift?
Yes, gifts can be directed to an area of impact such as youth drug and alcohol prevention or designated to a Partner Agency or other nonprofit. Making a gift to the Community Impact Fund directs your gift the area of highest need.
Why should I give when I can only afford a small amount?
Every single dollar makes a difference! Giving what you can is appreciated, and provides you with an opportunity to join with others in the community to help those in need. It only takes a donation of $38 to help an individual through one of the programs funded through the United Way of the Laurel Highlands. Many employers offer payroll deduction, which spreads your pledge payments throughout the year. You can also set up recurring credit card payments or opt for a one-time gift.
Are donations to United Way tax deductible?
United Way of the Laurel Highlands is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and your donation is tax deductible as allowed by current federal and state tax law.
What is 2-1-1?
The PA 2-1-1 Network is a free, 24-hour, confidential service. Specially-trained care navigators help callers find the resources they need. Callers can connect with a variety of resources related to health and human services.