1. What Does UWATX do?
United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) has a dual mission; first to build philanthropy and second to make measurable changes in the lives of the working poor. UWATX helps Austin thrive by helping the working poor overcome barriers to economic opportunity. We run programs, give grants and connect the community to critical services through our Navigation Center. For almost 90 years, we’ve run employee giving campaigns and built public/private partnerships to address the greatest needs in our community. We also run Austin’s largest volunteer network. By doing all this, we create opportunities for anyone to be a philanthropist in our community.
2. What geographic area does United Way for Greater Austin serve?
United Way for Greater Austin serves the Greater Austin area. However, our Navigation Center which answers 2-1-1 calls serves ten counties in Central Texas. These are: Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson.
3. What does it mean to be a philanthropist?
Philanthropy literally means “the love of humanity.” To us, a philanthropist is anyone who gives back to the community through time or money. It’s not reserved for the very rich – it’s for everyone.
4. How is my local United Way connected to United Way Worldwide?
For a minimal investment of less than one percent of the money we raise, United Way for Greater Austin is a member of United Way Worldwide. As a member we benefit from receiving national advertising, research, access to best practices, advocacy efforts, government relations and continuing education. While a member of United Way Worldwide, UWATX is a totally autonomous agency, governed by local volunteers.
5. What’s the benefit of giving money to United Way rather than to another nonprofit?
We put donations to UWATX to work by helping the working poor overcome barriers to economic opportunity to ensure our community continues to thrive. When donors invest in United Way, their gift enjoys a powerful multiplier because we pool those dollars along with other resources to increase the impact. Our work is results-driven and research-based; UWATX determines where we can affect the greatest change and which programs offer the best results in these areas of need. UWATX funds a strategic network of programs that address issues affecting the working poor, and our oversight assures that UWATX partner agencies adhere to sound fiscal policies and provide quality services.
6. Does my donation support work in Central Texas?
Absolutely! United Way organizations are independently incorporated and led by local volunteers. If you wish to direct your gift to a United Way in another city you may do so, but the purpose of the United Way for Greater Austin campaign drive is to collect resources to benefit community programs in Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson counties.
7. Is my United Way contribution tax deductible?
Giving to United Way and to other nonprofit organizations classified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code may entitle taxpayers who file itemized returns a tax deduction. Consult your tax advisor for more information and assistance.
8. Who oversees the operations and finances of United Way?
The operating budget of United Way for Greater Austin is audited by an independent accounting firm and carefully reviewed by volunteers who serve on the United Way Finance Committee and United Way Board of Directors. UWATX is governed by a local volunteer board of directors whose members are respected community and business leaders. Although we consider guidelines set forth by United Way Worldwide, all policy and funding decisions are made locally. The community volunteers who lead UWATX reflect our community’s diversity and represent a wealth of professions. A knowledgeable professional staff works closely with these volunteers, handling UWATX daily operations.
9. What is the administrative cost for United Way for Greater Austin?
UWATX’s annual overhead rate is approximately 13%. Charity Navigator and Guidestar, two national independent nonprofit rating services, both state that any overhead below 25% is very acceptable for a nonprofit’s operating expenses. So we are proud to be considerably under that percentage, as it demonstrates that donations and resources are being prudently used.
10. How does United Way select its community partners?
We look at investments that support our mission. In these investments, our grants are the foundation for robust partnerships with school districts, advocates, local government, business, and many other local entities. Based on our strategic programs and reaching our mission we set criteria to choose the best partners for this. With all our programs and other projects, we are bringing together the power of capital and collaboration to shape a community where all people have the opportunity to be successful. We are solving problems not just for one person with one need, but creating solutions for a large community with large needs.
11. Does United Way support religious agencies?
United Way for Greater Austin does not provide direct support to churches through our grants, but we do fund church-sponsored programs that support our strategic work in education and financial opportunity. UWATX will honor designations made through its campaign to any religious organization or church, that is classified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
12. Can I support some but not all of United Way’s strategic programs and community partners?
Yes, you can restrict your donation to support specific UWATX strategic programs or specific nonprofits and UWATX agency partners. All of our giving tools explain clearly the options for doing this. We strongly believe that anyone can be a philanthropist and should have the opportunity to give back. That’s why United Way for Greater Austin offers donors the choice to designate their gift to another nonprofit or to UWATX. Whether donors choose to give to us or to another organization, we value and appreciate these donations, and consider them a core part of what we do in service to Greater Austin.