Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

We are grateful to have the type of open relationship with you- the people who make United Way of Murray-Calloway County possible- where you can freely share your questions and concerns. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision regarding where to give your hard-earned dollars and valuable time. We are humbled by the trust you have placed in us and continue to strive to be the organization this incredible community deserves. You are welcome to explore the following questions we frequently encounter about our work. If you have unresolved concerns or would like to learn more about a topic not covered here, please email unitedway@murray-ky.net.

How does United Way spend my donation? I’ve heard different stories about how charitable donations go to executive salaries rather than people in need. How is this handled at UWMCC?

Simply put, money raised here stays here to make the greatest possible impact in our community. Most pledges are not designated for a certain destination. Those dollars are allocated by United Way volunteers from Murray-Calloway County who spend hours vetting applicants, evaluating their effectiveness and efficiency. They review funding requests, analyze the needs of the community, and make informed decisions in allocating United Way dollars. A complete listing of United Way of Murray-Calloway County’s annual allocations can be found on our website at mccunitedway.org. Our fundraising and administrative percentage is 19%, well below the 25% and 35% guidelines established by the Better Business Bureau and IRS. That means 81 cents of every dollar goes directly to a program or service. Our local executive salary information is disclosed publicly on our IRS Form 990 which is also available on our website at mccunitedway.org.

How do I know that I can trust United Way of Murray-Calloway County?

UWMCC can provide a complete financial report prepared by an independent auditor and the standards in place for membership certification through United Way Worldwide upon request.

Does United Way of Murray-Calloway County fund Planned Parenthood?

UWMCC does NOT fund Planned Parenthood or any program that provides reproductive or family planning services.

I read stories and hear ads about the United Way that talk about different services that are offered here.

United Way of Murray-Calloway County is an independent and autonomous from all other United Ways. We are operated by our own board of directors and serve the people of Calloway County. Information you read or heard about United Ways in other communities does not reflect the operations of this one.

What is the difference in United Way Worldwide and United Way of Murray-Calloway County?

United Way Worldwide is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides training, support, and fundraising relationships for local United Ways like UWMCC. United Way of Murray-Calloway County, along with 1,800 independent United Ways across 41 countries, is a member of this network with our own 501c3 status, governance, and local practices. To be a member of the United Way network, UWMCC pays an annual fee as a percentage of funds raised each year and must meet stringent governance requirements verifying the quality of our operations. Our United Way Worldwide membership not only provides training, branding and strategic support for our small staff but UWW also negotiates relationships on our behalf with Fortune 500 Companies like Walmart, UPS, GM and other global brands that in turn allow us to raise funds on the local level.  Visit http://unitedway.org/contact-us/faqs for a list of frequently asked questions regarding our membership in United Way Worldwide.

Who decides which program receives United Way funding?

The community investment process is the method by which local community representatives volunteer to evaluate the proposals from programs seeking UWMCC funding. Each applicant is vetted by all members of the Grant Allocation Committee, a committee that includes donors and volunteers who live and work in our community and ultimately make a funding recommendation to UWMCC Board of Directors. Grant Allocation Committee members are recruited from across the county to ensure representation by all served by UWMCC and provide thorough understanding of local needs. Grant Allocation Committee members are thoroughly vetted for any conflicts of interest and may not be employed by any agency or program seeking funding. Each Grant Allocation Committee volunteer spends an average of 40 hours vetting and identifying the programs that best align with our work in Education, Financial Stability, and Health/Wellness needs.

How are applications reviewed?

Throughout the rigorous review process, Grant Allocation Committee members utilize an assessment tool to rate applications based on their quality, alignment with United Way’s funding priorities, and ability to demonstrate measurable results in their respective area of focus. A representative from each applicant program has the opportunity to answer questions and make a brief in-person presentation to the Allocation Committee during the review process. Programs are evaluated for their alignment with UWMCC Community Impact goals, financial and organizational management, capacity to achieve projected goals, ability to show measureable results, and the resources it takes to obtain those results.  Programs funded in the past will be evaluated on additional measures including compliance with annual Memorandum of Agreement, pursuit of supplemental funding sources, delivery of promised results, and support of the UWMCC partnership.  Written feedback is provided to all applicants to strengthen future applications.

Why wasn’t my favorite agency funded?

Despite a recent history of successful annual campaigns, funds raised by UWMCC are never enough to fully meet all granted requests from applicants. Over the past three years, UWMCC grants have only been able to meet 60-76% of total funding requests. UWMCC is committed to maximizing the impact of each dollar invested in funded programs but welcomes the opportunity to support agencies through other initiatives, including volunteerism and other local funding sources.  Programs that did not receive funding are encouraged to consult with UWMCC to learn from the Grant Allocation Committee’s feedback and apply for funding again in the future.

Why does United Way of Murray-Calloway County focus more deeply on specific issues?

Like most organizations, we are challenged to meet the needs of our community by effectively driving change with limited resources. By investing strategically in a streamlined set of priorities that align with our community’s goals and through focusing more deeply on fewer issue areas, we aim to make a more meaningful and measurable impact in the lives of the local residents we serve.  Increasingly, United Way will focus on bold, specific initiatives in the community, but again within the current priorities of education, health & wellness and income stability.

How is this process different from the past?

In the past, United Way of Murray-Calloway County awarded funds to as many good causes as possible. While these partnerships undoubtedly had a positive impact on the agencies serving our community and their clients, the many challenges facing our local families continued to persist. UWMCC has taken a more focused approach to reducing poverty through strategic partnerships that drive preventative efforts, and program support. Through transitioning to a Community Impact model of operations and funding, we not only want to make a more measurable and lasting difference in the region but also keep the problems we are trying to remedy from occurring in the first place. This shift has come with an increased emphasis on results and funded partners’ ability to work collaboratively to achieve outcomes determined through the years of Community Impact research. We report back to the community annually regarding steps taken to understand the communities’ aspirations and focus resources to achieve these local goals.

I can’t afford to give to United Way.

We are all feeling that there is less disposable income to give to charity during these uncertain economic times. The people who feel it most are the health and human service agencies. It’s a catch-22. There is less money being allocated to them, yet there are more people turning to them for assistance. We must examine our own situation and make a choice. Through the United Way campaign, we have the opportunity to spread our generosity throughout the entire year. By utilizing payroll deduction you can have a small amount taken each pay period. For as little as $1 a week, your generosity can greatly impact the lives of others. See real examples of how your gift goes to work in our community at http://www.unitedway@murray-ky.net.

I already give money to church or another charity.

Supporting your religious belief is important and reflects your personal religious convictions and your desire to help other people. But consider giving to United Way as a way to enhance your charitable portfolio. The benefits derived from our United Way gifts are virtually important to our entire community, just as our religious contributions are to our church community. You may also designate your gift to an issue you care about, such as Education, or a County served by a United Way.

It’s not our job to help people who just want a handout.

We agree that it’s important to give people the tools they need to support themselves. That’s why our nonprofit partners are held to high standards and must prove the long-terms results they create with the donations they receive. Most people who are impacted by our services need help through no fault of their own. We all know someone who has found themselves in a crisis after they were laid off from work, suffered an unexpected illness, or had their life uprooted by natural disaster. It’s important that we can help agencies that can help people get back on their feet since we’re all one stroke of bad luck away from needing a hand up. We aren’t just funding good causes, we’re funding change.

I don’t want to give because when I or someone I knew needed help, the United Way didn’t help at all.

United Way is not set up to provide direct services to individuals. We refer people to our funded partners and other community resources who specialize in working with clients. The agencies themselves determine eligibility and amount of aid given to those in need, usually in terms of government guidelines or established policies. United Way raises money for the programs that can help the most people as effectively as possible. They are listed on our website at http://www.unitedway@murray-ky.net. If you or anyone you know ever need help, feel free to contact us for referral programs that could support you during that difficult time.

UWMCC has a very nice office- is this where my donation went?

Operating on a lean budget is very important to us since this is what our donors deserve. For many years our team has operated out of a 3 room office in the Weaks Community Center. We pay a modest rent of $475/month that is well below market rate for the 1,730 square feet occupied by our team. Having additional rooms to host meetings allows our staff to operate more effectively, as we used to spend a significant amount of time looking for external meeting space and traveling off-site anytime we needed to host a meeting for more then 6-8 attendees. We have also been able to provide food at meetings and events on a more cost effective scale now that we are near a kitchen that can accommodate our needs. We welcome United Way partner agencies to use our meeting space and the place we proudly call the community’s home. Learn how to reserve the meeting room here by emailing unitedway@murray-ky.net.