Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way?

United Way is locally owned and operated. It is a volunteer driven nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting quality health and human service programs that make our community a stronger, better place for us all. United Way partners and collaborates with local agencies, organizations, civic groups and local government to find solutions that create lasting change to the highest priority problems in Washington County. United Way is committed to supporting programs and initiatives that help meet Basic Needs and provide access to meaningful Education, Financial Stability and good Health for every Washington County resident. 
United Way of Washington County is a volunteer-led local, human service charitable organization with a focus on Community Impact and Advancing the Common Good. We focus on Education, Financial Stability, and Health because these are the building blocks of a good quality of life and the pathway to opportunity. Changing situations will lead to improvement of our community's quality of life. No single nonprofit alone can effectively improve our community - United Way works across the county to leverage resources, businesses, experts and other service providers to advance the common good. The essence of a prepared workforce and stable economy rests on our collective success in the areas of education, financial stability and health.

Who runs United Way? Does it belong to any other company or agency?

United Way of Washington County, MD is local, independent and autonomous. We are managed locally and not by a parent or national organization. We are governed by a local Board of Directors comprised of individuals who live and/or work right here in Washington County. They all serve as volunteers without any compensation. Community leaders and business people donate their time and resources to the United Way in the effort to build stronger, healthier, and more sustainable community. We have a varied mix of leaders consisting of entrepreneurs, bankers, retirees, local government employees, media managers, and insurance/investment professionals. Additionally, operations are run by a small but mighty team of staff. 
To view our local leadership, please visit our Leadership page. 

What does the term "501(c)(3)" mean?

A 501(c)(3) is a qualified nonprofit agency, as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has tax-exempt status. Donors may deduct contributions to United Way.

What is the United Way Campaign?

United Way runs an annual workplace giving campaign in which donors make a monetary gift to the United Way of Washington County, MD to be granted to local nonprofit agencies in response to the community's most urgent social needs through Community Impact grants and investments. Donors also have an option to designate a portion or all of their contribution to any nonprofit of their choice.

There are so many charities these days. What makes United Way different?

United Way is a leader and catalyst for change. In our community, United Way looks for new approaches and dynamic ways to respond to problems that no single agency, donor, volunteer, nor sector of our community can do alone. United Way contributions are from community members, invested by community volunteers, and go to work within our local area. A gift to United Way Community Impact Fund will support a network of programs that address the highest priority needs in Washington County, MD. United Way has topped the  Forbe's 2020 Top Charity's List, meaning: of all the charities in the U.S., United Way ranks #1! Not only did United Way come in at #1, but we are also the single largest charity in the U.S. Additionally, United Way has been #1 since at least 2017, and has no plans to step down - that says something!

What are my donation options when I participate in my company’s United Way Campaign?

When you participate in your workplace giving campaign, you can choose to make a donation:
  • through a payroll deduction
  • by cash or check as a one-time amount
  • using any major credit card

How does the payroll deduction work?

When you choose to make your United Way donation through a payroll deduction, you give permission for a set amount that you determined by completing the pledge form to be taken out of your paycheck each pay period. You will make your own decision about the amount you give based on your particular financial situation and the significance you place on supporting your community. For many people, $3, $5, $10, or $20 deducted from each paycheck is not noticed. Even the equivalent of one hour’s pay per month is a generous and affordable gift and can make a significant impact in improving our community.

What if I can’t afford to give much?

Every person’s donation makes an impact, and when combined with others can add up to a life changing difference for someone in need. A little bit goes a long way for the programs supported and helps them focus on providing much needed services. If you wish to give of other resources, including your time and talents, you have many options. United Way is always looking for qualified volunteers to help with campaign and the investment process, special events, and office support, as well as for our annual Day of Caring. For volunteer opportunities, please contact us or visit our website and submit a volunteer form.

Where does the money go once United Way receives it?

Unless designated by the donor, money raised locally in Washington County stays in the county to benefit this community. United Way is focused on addressing issues found in three areas: education, income (or financial stability) and health. 

How are funding decisions made?

Each year, funding decisions are made through an extensive Community Investment process led by volunteers. Local health and human services agencies engage in a competitive grant process and submit funding requests annually that fall within our key focus areas of Education, Financial Stability, Health and Basic Needs. After volunteer-led committees review requests and compare requests with community needs, recommendations are made to the Board of Directors. Upon approval, dollars are distributed as annual grants for specific programs within agencies that address the most pressing needs in our community. 
United Way partners must meet strict standards of accountability in order to be considered for funding and are required to report quarterly on the efficiency of their programs. Donors are provided updates on these grant funded programs to show ROI including results, outcomes and impact. 

How does United Way determine how much money agencies receive?

United Way of Washington County gives back to local agencies through Community Impact Grant Funding. Grant funding for eligible organizations’ programs must focus in at least one of the following areas: Education, Financial Stability and Health. Additionally, the recipient organization(s) must work in partnership to achieve measurable, community-level changes in those areas. Grant requests are reviewed by volunteers. This meticulous process ensures that your donation is being used responsibly and efficiently to address the most urgent needs each year in the community. 

Can I designate my gift to another nonprofit agency?

United Way honors donor designations. If you choose to designate a pledge, please consider making an additional gift to United Way’s Community Impact Fund. The Community Impact Fund provides measurable outcomes that relate directly to the three focus areas of Education, Financial Stability and Health. A gift to United Way supports a network of local health and human service programs in Washington County, looking for the most effective solutions to community problems. It is important to note that if a donor chooses to designate their gift, United Way has no control over how designated funds are used by the agency. 
United Way raises funds for local programs that focus on problems we all are facing. And our combined fundraising efforts allow area agencies to focus more time on their primary purpose: helping people.  A gift to United Way is leveraged to its full potential to address the most pressing needs in our community and to support the most effective and efficient solutions to community problems. 

Who benefits from my gift?

EVERYONE. Your neighbors, co-workers, even your own family may have used United Way funded services. Emergency food, shelter and other programs are just the beginning. There are countless examples of people touched by United Way that add up to creating a healthy, vibrant, caring community that supports individuals, businesses and social and civic organizations.  Last year more than 21,000 individuals were impacted by United Way gifts to the Community Impact Fund.

How can I make a difference?

LIVE UNITED each and every day. Give 100%. Do something! Do anything to make a difference! A gift to the Community Impact Fund does make a targeted difference to those who need it most, but so does giving of your time and talents. There are many opportunities within our local community to get involved through volunteering, advocacy and education. Explore our website to find out more or email us at with any questions.