Frequently Asked Questions

 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is United Way of Lamar County?

We are a locally operated, volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving Lamar County, Texas. The United Way of Lamar County’s volunteer Board of Directors oversee every aspect of the organization.   The professinal staff monitor and govern United Way's financial operations and ensure that all assets are prudently managed.

What does United Way do?

United Way fights for the health, financial stability and education of every person in  our community. 

Together with our partner agencies, we are stabilizing families, helping kids succeed and empowering healthy lives. We do this by strategically investing in education, financial stability, health and basic needs programs and resources that serve people our communities.

Does my donation stay in Lamar County or does it go to support United Way Worldwide?

What is raised in Lamar County stays in Lamar County. United Way of Lamar County only funds programs that serve our residents. We pay dues of just 1% to United Way Worldwide that allows us to access training, fundraising activities, marketing/branding materials, and support for community impact initiatives. 

What agencies or groups receive funding from United Way of Lamar County?

We provide grant allocation funding to 23 partner agencies.  For a complete list, click on the "Partners" tab on our website.  All United Way of Lamar County partner agencies must be 501-c-3 non-profits, with a board of directors, at least one staff person  and updated, governing bylaws.  They must be financially accountable and viable, have a policy of non-discremination, and provide direct health or human services within Lamar County. 

Does United Way of Lamar County provide funding to abortion providers?

No. Donations to the United Way of Lamar County do not support Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider or services.   Moreover, the 1% sent to United Way Worldwide is never re-distributed to any agency or provider. 

What percentage of the annual budget is administrative?

Administrative costs are generally below 20% annually. This includes all campaign supplies and fundraising expenses, year-round community planning and agency relations, as well as year-round tracking and collection of pledges and donations.

In addition, United Way enjoys the support of many volunteers and local businesses to keep administrative costs to a minimum.  We are able to utilize volunteers annually to assist with everything from fundraising to community planning, to hands-on projects that directly benefit local agencies. 

Why can’t I get assistance from United Way?

United Way of Lamar County does not fund individuals in need of assistance. 

Instead, United Way of Lamar County provides funds to local agencies who are better equipped to offer more help to people in need. We provide funding for local agencies through our grant allocation process. Our funded agencies provide the expertise and reporting of how donations are utilized in the community.  But if you need assistance and don't know where to go, you can always call the United Way office at 903-784-6642 and we will try to give you information on an agency that can help you. Or you can call 2-1-1 or visit 211texas.org for a list of service providers in Texas.

How is United Way different from other charity organizations?

Our focus is local and comprehensive. We look at all the issues that affect our community.   One donation to the United Way helps 23 inter-related but issue-specific agencies that together can offer the complete range of services that one individual or family might need.  For example, a family in crisis doesn't just need food, or just need shelter or just need assistance with medical needs or just need after-school programs.   The United Way directs resources to maximize results for the whole community. 

Are donations to United Way Tax deductible?

Yes, your contribution is fully tax deductible, as allowed by law.

If you pledge through payroll deduction, your paycheck stub is your receipt. All contributions over $250 receive an IRS tax-deductible letter from our office.  If you have not received your letter, please call our office at 903-784-6642.

What accountability standards does United Way of Lamar County have in place?

All United Way financial records are handled in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.  United Way of Lamar County is audited annually by an independent accounting firm and practices full voluntary disclosure of its 990 and audits.

How does United Way raise money?

The vast majority of the money we raise comes from our annual Campaign conducted each fall from September-November from indivduals and businesses.  Local firms and organizations, partner with the United Way of Lamar County to host workplace campaigns and to offer their employees the opportunity to give through payroll deduction.  We also occasionally receive grants.

Why should I give to United Way when I can give directly to an individual charity?

While there are many wonderful charities doing great work across our community, United Way of Lamar County provides a number of reasons for community members to consider support for our work.

  • United Way of Lamar County is more than a community funder or fundraiser. Instead, we approach our work from a broad perspective. The issues facing our community are complex and inner-connected. Academic failure, employability and financial stability, and a family’s inability to meet basic needs and address health concerns are often related. Gifts to United Way of Lamar County support a portfolio of high-performing programs that, together, change lives and community conditions at a deep and lasting level.

  • United Way of Lamar County’s work centers on helping people gain access to the building blocks for a good quality of life, which research and practice has shown to be EDUCATION that leads to gainful employment, INCOME to meet basic needs and support a family through retirement, resources to achieve good HEALTH and the ability to meet one's BASIC NEEDS for food, shelter and safety.

  • Programs that receive United Way dollars are reviewed for effectiveness and financial efficiency by trained community volunteers who know our area and are committed to improving the local quality of life. United Way monitors the performance of funded programs so donors are assured the strongest return on their charitable dollar.

  • We make it easy for all members of our community to give back and have the opportunity to participate in building a better community for everyone. Because we offer the ability to give through payroll deduction, employees that may not be able to write a one-time check for $50 or $100 can give a little from each paycheck over the course of the year.  This is especially important to members of our community that have often been helped by United Way funding and want to give back in gratitude. 

I feel like I’m being pressured to give and/or I don’t have any money today.

United Way does not condone pressuring anyone to give.  The amount of a pledge is a personal and individual matter. If you have been pressured to give, please let us know by calling (903)784-6642.

Does United Way Worldwide set policy for local United Ways?

No. Each United Way is separate from one another and has its own Board of Directors that makes decisions about what is best for their community. Local volunteers who know their community also make all funding decisions for local United Ways.

What should I do if I have other questions not found in this FAQ?

Please contact the United Way office at (903)784-6642 and ask to speak to Jenny Wilson, Executive Director or email jenny.wilson@lamarcountyuw.org