Frequently Asked Questions


What is the history behind your organization?
United Way of East Central Iowa is a nonprofit organization and is the second largest United Way in Iowa.  UWECI was established in 1914 and began serving four nonprofits and now works with around 30 nonprofit partners to serve Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones and Linn counties to help meet the communities most critical needs in education, financial stability and health.  This video reviews the history of United Way of East Central Iowa throughout the past 100 years and reflects on United Way’s impact in the community for the future.

How is United Way of East Central Iowa advancing the common good?
Today, United Way is doing even more to advance the common good. UW works with a wide-range of community partners to assure our communities most critical needs are being addressed. UW focuses our investments and resources to tackle the root causes of problems to create positive, lasting changes.

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What happens to donations given to United Way’s Community Impact Fund?
Your donation to the Community Impact Fund will support programs in East Central Iowa that offer solutions to the community’s most critical needs. Partner agencies submit proposals for United Way funding. These proposals undergo a rigorous approval process.  Once funded, United Way staff members and trained volunteers closely monitor the programs to ensure that the money is invested wisely and the programs get the best results. United Way is committed to being a trusted steward of those dollars.
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Does my contribution stay in our local communities?
Yes. United Way initiatives  serve 124,000 people in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Jones and Linn and counties.
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What are my giving options?
There are several ways to contribute, such as: payroll deduction, cash/check, credit card, online giving, stocks/securities, and direct billing.
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How Does United Way of East Central Iowa Calculate Campaign Results?
United Way campaign results includes funds raised in full through the various campaigns conducted in our service area, as well as the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), which is conducted for federal employees.  We count employee payroll contributions, corporate gifts, sponsorships and individual donations.

The United Way of East Central Iowa does not count as contributions the value of volunteers’ time. Further, the United Way of East Central Iowa does not count in its revenue or campaign total funds that are raised outside of our service area by companies that are headquartered here.  Those funds are simply processed and forwarded. Gifts-in-kind, money from grants and contracts, designations to us from other United Way’s and interest are also NOT included in the campaign total.

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What is United Way of East Central Iowa’s Overhead?
No one number or percentage can define operating efficiency for charitable organizations. However, Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator, that works to evaluate the financial health of America’s largest charities, states that the most efficient charities spend less than 25% on fundraising and administrative fees.

United Way of East Central Iowa is proud that our overhead has consistently been between 10% and 13% over the past several years according to the calculation mandated by United Way of America.  Currently it is 12%.

For more click here.
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What is United Way of East Central Iowa’s Provision for Non-Payment of Pledges?
Whether because of corporate restructuring and downsizing, loss of employment, or any other reason, employees and companies who make commitments in the fall sometimes cannot maintain those commitments through the completion of the pledge payment cycle. Our experience is that we will lose, on average, three percent of those funds annually. We withhold that amount from the distributions we make to local programs so we do not expend more than we collect annually.
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Why does UWECI have operating costs?
In the business of community impact, UWECI incurs operating costs. As careful stewards of our donors’ investments in our community, UWECI operates our organization with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness. 87% of every dollar we receive is invested in local programs and initiatives that improve lives and deliver measurable results, making us one of the most efficient nonprofits in the nation.
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How is UWECI held accountable?
The most valuable asset we have is the trust and confidence of our donors and the community. UW has a volunteer committee of financial experts, which oversees our organization. We maintain high standards and each year hire an independent auditor, who ensures that our fundraising procedures remain the most efficient and cost-effective. We strive to meet the philanthropic goals of our donors.
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How do I know that my donation will help those who need it most?
Trained, knowledgeable community volunteers carefully invest United Way contributions in local programs. This group of dedicated volunteers ranges from community volunteers to business leaders. They carefully monitor community needs, meet with local health and human service agencies, review each agency’s requests for program funding and invest your contribution in programs that do the most good in helping people in need.
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What does United Way fund?
From programs that give kids the best start in life, to helping seniors remain independent, the Community Impact Fund supports health and human service programs that address three focus areas: education, income and health. Your investment supports our communities’ most critical needs.
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What happens to donations given through United Way’s donor designation?
While designations are an option, we strongly recommend investing in the Community Impact Fund, which produces measurable results, monitored by United Way. Any donations received for “donor designation” are passed directly on to the specified United Way partner agency or 501 (c) 3 organization. However, once we honor that request, we are not able to track or report what the recipient organization does with the donor’s gift.
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What happens to agencies that have had their funding decreased?
Agencies that will receive a decrease in their previous funding level will received  a transition funding planning in 2014-2015.  These funds will provide resources to the agency for 3-12 months so alternative resources can be found and the agency can develop plans for programs and staff.
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How do I find help if I need it?
With hundreds of community services available, it can be confusing to know where to turn for help. United Way 2-1-1, is an easy to remember phone number that connects individuals with human services and resources in the community. Accessible to everyone, at no cost, 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by dialing 2-1-1, or 1-866-469-2211. From a cell phone, dial 319-739-4211.
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How can I get involved as a community volunteer?
United Way of East Central Iowa in partnership with supporting sponsor Rockwell Collins, offers an online volunteer website called Corridor Volunteers. It’s an easy, one-stop website for getting connected with volunteer opportunities in the local, regional and statewide area that match individual’s interests.

Go to our volunteering site to find a broad ranges of volunteer opportunities to match the interests of all people – everything from mentoring a child and testing donated computer equipment to swinging a hammer and befriending an isolated older adult. For more information about volunteering, please contact Sue Driscoll, Volunteer Program Manager at (319) 398-5372 x22 or sdriscoll@uweci.org.
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What is Born Learning?
Born Learning is a public engagement campaign that helps parents; grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities. Click Here for fun and easy activities, tools, songs, tips, rhymes, lists and ideas to do with your child. For more information about Born Learning, please contact Leslie Wright at (319) 398-5372 x15 or lwright@uweci.org.
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Can I include United Way in my will, estate, planned giving?
Yes! Contact Lois Buntz at (319) 398-5372 or lbuntz@uweci.org.
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