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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I invest in United Way of Elgin?

United Way of Elgin brings the expertise and strategic focus needed to create profound and positive change in our community. The strong relationships we share with businesses, government, nonprofits, talented volunteers and generous donors put United Way of Elgin in a unique position to bring people together to create innovative solutions to the toughest problems facing our community.

United Way of Elgin measures the progress we are making in the community because we are all about solid, tangible results that create lasting change. We are getting our youngest children ready for school, helping students to succeed in school and in life and meeting basic needs for the most vulnerable. When you invest your time or financial resources with United Way of Elgin, you change our community for the better in fundamental, lasting ways.

What guides United Way of Elgin's investment of donor dollars?

United Way of Elgin conducts research to assess the strengths and needs of our community. Knowledgeable, well-trained volunteers and issue experts work with United Way of Elgin staff to identify the best ways to solve the most pressing issues.

United Way of Elgin’s priorities are:

  • Success By 6/Creating Successful Early Learners - Increase the percentage of children who start kindergarten ready to succeed
  • Reading Success - Increase the percentage of children who are reading at grade level by the third grade
  • College and Career Readiness - Increase the percentage of students who are prepared to succeed in college or to begin a career
  • Safe and Stable Families - Empowering families to achieve their educational and developmental need

Our employees and their families are struggling. How can we ask them them to give?

Time and again, some of the most generous donors are those who themselves have needed a helping hand from our community. Everyone should be given an opportunity to express caring through charitable giving, to enjoy the emotional reward that comes from knowing he or she has helped our community become safer and stronger. Only the donor can determine whether he or she can afford to give at this time. Thanks to payroll deduction, even a small amount each pay period can add up over the year, and give the employee a real feeling of connection to our community.
While government dollars often combine with private dollars to fund services in our community, reductions in government funding can affect the ability of agency partners to maintain service levels and can increase the number of people needing help. Your gift to United Way can help prevent that from happening. United Way dollars also provide agencies with a base to leverage available government and foundation dollars.

How can I afford to give to United Way?

Even the most modest pledge can provide vital human care services to the people in our community who need help. Payroll deduction provides a convenient and affordable way to spread your gift over the upcoming year.

Who decides where the money goes?

Volunteers review teams make investment recommendations that are voted upon by the Board of Directors. Volunteers review program information including: alignment with United Way priority outcomes, organizational capacity and outcomes evaluation.

Why didn’t my friend get help when it was needed?

Usually, when someone can’t get help from an agency, it’s because limited funds necessitate long waiting lists or the agency doesn’t offer the specific services needed. Government-funded programs in our agencies may have income and/or residency requirements that make a family ineligible for that program. And, unfortunately, sometimes there simply isn’t a source where the person can receive help. For questions about a specific example, ask your United Way staff person for assistance.

If United Way is a volunteer organizations, why does it have paid staff?

Staff members provide support for volunteers, continuity in working toward long-term community solutions and handle administrative functions as well as referrals for service and volunteer opportunities.

Why should I give to United Way when its agency partners charge fees?

United Way works hard to make sure your dollars are spent as efficiently as possible. People who can afford to pay fully or partially for services are asked to do so on a sliding fee scale, making more contributed dollars available for those who cannot.

Why should I give to United Way? I live outside the area it serves.

United Way also has arrangements with nearby United Ways. If you live in a different community and want your money sent there, you can designate.