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Frequently Asked Questions

What does United Way do?

United Way of Elgin fights for every person in our community to ensure children enter kindergarten ready to learn, students graduate from high school, families have access to nutritious food, seniors live safely in their own homes and everyone is supported during times of crisis. We do this by assessing community conditions, investing in focused community impact goals and measuring results to create long-term change.

Where does the money go?

Yoiur contributions fund large scale collaborations, individual agencies and specific programs focused on the most significant community needs in the areas of education, health and financial stability in Elgin. For a complete list of United way's currently funded programs visit

How is United Way different from other nonprofit organizations?

No other single organization meets the broad range of needs addressed by United Way. United Way goes beyond fundraising by reseaching the needs of the community and bringing the right resources and people together to solve tough local issues. It works with business, government, and partner agencies to develop regional health and human service policies and strategies. It funds programs that are meeting people's needs today, and we are working on innovative solutions for lasting change.

How can I be sure my contributions is well managed and well spent?

United Way is committed to results-based accountibilty and validation of our partners agencies through a rigorous vetting process. Knowledgeable, well-trained volunteers and experts from across our community carefully screen and select the programs funded by your contribution. The recommendations for funding are then reviewed and approved by our volunteers Board of Directors. United Way then monitors the performance of funded programs and reports results to donors. Visit to learn more.

What else does United Way do besides fund agencies?

United Way brings together community stakeholders, contributors, and agency partners to create collaborative and innovative approaches to help solve community issues. United Way also coordinates or particpates in a variety of initiatives such as Dolly Parton's Imgination Library, Elgin Partnership for Early Learning, Alignment Collaborative for Education, Kane County Fit for Kids, Project Backpack and more.

I already give directly to a charity.

First, thank you for giving. United Way looks at the big picture - assessing community conditions, investing in focused goals and measuring results to create long-term change. By giving through United Way, you are supporting the greatest needs in the Elgin area. Together we can accomplish more than anyone can alone.

Times are tight, I don't have money to spare.

Every gift to United Way, no matter its size, provides vital services to people in our community. When you give, you join thousands of generous local donors in creating life-changing opportunities. You may find that giving a small amount each pay period through payroll deduction allows you to make a pledge that fits your budget.

I feel pressured into giving.

Giving is a personal matter and decision. Neither United Way nor its volunteers believe people should be forced to give--it defeats the very idea of voluntary giving. United Way counts on people to give becaue they understand the critical needs of our community and because they want to improve people's lives. Only you can determine whether you want to give at this time.

I don't live in the Elgin area.

In today's world, people often have ties to more than one community. Each United Way serves a particular geographic region and is committed to fostering the health and vibrancy of that area. Through United Way's donor choice program, you have the option of designating your gift back to the community in which you libe or you can spilt your gift to make a difference in both communities.

I don't use United Way services so I don't benefit from giving.

It takes everyone working to create a strong, vibrant community. We all win when children succeed in school, families are financially stable and our neighbors are healthly. Job loss, illness, accidents, disabilities, family problems and the problems of growing up and growing old know no boundaries. Your gift helps ensure that United Way services are available when they're needed. In fact, you or a family memeber may have already used a United Way-funded prgram without realizing it..

Why isn't my favorite non-profit funded by United Way?

In some cases, an agency may be doing great work, but its programs do not align with United Way's community impact goals. In other cases, the agency may not meet our rigorous criteria for performance and accountibility.

Will the money I give to United Way go outside the community?

No. Money raised in Elgin stays here, unless you (the donor) request it be sent to another United Way.

Is my gift tax-deductible?

Yes, United Way of Elgin is a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation. Donations to United Way are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by an individual's or corporation's circumstances.

Are there other ways I can contribute to United Way?

There are three other ways to contribute: You can give. You can advocate. You can volunteer. Or you can do a combination of all three! To volunteer, visit to see available opportunties.

Why give to United Way?

You are making an investmant that benefits the entire community, not just one program, issue, or population, which leads to a stronger, more sustainable palce to live and work. United Way provides expert managment of donor investments and leverages your contribution by combining it with others to strategically invest in results-driven programs and initiatives to maximize the impact we have in the community. It is easy and convenient. With online pledging and payroll deduction, it is easy to give back in a way that matters to you. Spreading your giving throughout the year makes it easier to increase your giving while staying within your budget.

How do people get help from United Way?

A list of programs and our partner agencies can be found on our website. People looking for assistance can also visit for more services. And, in the fall of 2018, look for Kane Co. 2-1-1 to launch.

How much of the money raised by United Way goes to agency programs and services?

More than 80¢ of every dollar donated to United Way of Elgin supports programs and services. Less than 20¢ is used for fundraising costs and adminstration - making it one of the lowest overhead costs of any major nonprofit organization. United Way of Elgin can be this efficient because community support keeps costs to a bare minimum - including extensive use of volunteer leadership.