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What does United Way do?  

United Way works to ensure every individual in every community has the opportunity to thrive.  

United Way does this in three ways:   

  1. Inspires collective community giving  
  2. Supports nonprofits from volunteer connection to technical support  
  3. Convenes, studies, and acts on our communities’ most profound challenges  

United Way mobilizes the resources and relationships of thousands of business organizations, nonprofit agencies, community leaders, volunteers, and donors to address community impact at scale.   

Want to know more? Read more about United Way's work.   

Want to see United Way’s impact in action? Read their impact report and/or subscribe to their newsletter 

Does my donation stay in my community?  

100% of your donation stays local and supports the causes, organizations, and communities you are passionate about.   

Every United Way is a stand-alone entity locally governed with missions that are locally identified and directed; they are one of the most local national charities in terms of governing body and operations. United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes does pay United Way Worldwide around a 1% annual fee out of their operating budget, which in turn provides staff with support and training, branding and marketing resources, group rates on technology and services, and more—all resources that help better support the needs of our communities.   

How much of my donation goes to help local people and programs?  

100% of your donation goes back to the community. 92%* of your donation goes directly to your choice agency or program, and 8% supports all the backend services the nonprofit agency or program needs to continue its critical work.   

The 8%* United Way fee supports their work of collective giving, convening regional partners, crisis response coordination, and developing and expanding services available for local communities, including Volunteer United, Leadership Development Programs, and nonprofit resources.   

*For pledges made outside of Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Monroe, Wayne, and Wyoming counties, the processing and fundraising fees will be higher than those of pledges made within those counties. These rates are variable and calculated using an average of the previous year’s rates combined with the overall performance of the workplace giving campaign the prior year. The rate for 2024 will not be determined until July 2024, based on the figures received from 990 filings. In 2023, the combined fundraising and processing fee totaled 15.23% for these cases. That differs from the 8% fee retained for pledges made within the six-county region.

Additionally, please note that pledges are allocated to agencies on a quarterly basis throughout the year, not in one lump sum. Your pledge will be fulfilled to the agency you designated to on the fourth payout cycle of that year.

Should you have any questions related to this process, please contact Darlene Miller (Business Operations Controller) at or by phone at 585-242-6534.

I don’t have a lot to give. Can I make an impact?  

United Way’s average donor is $2 a week. That $2 a week gives a local child one week of after-school learning and provides two older adults with round-trip transportation to get safely to medical appointments, grocery shopping, social events, and more. There is power in individual action and collective giving. Your gift, combined with others, significantly impacts our community. 

What is the value of giving to United Way when I can give directly to an agency?  

Your gift to United Way touches 1 in 3 of our neighbors each year. Giving to United Way and United Way’s Community Impact Fund means that your gift will have the greatest local impact, combining with contributions from across our six-county region to support over 183 programs developing holistic, integrated solutions that address the complexities of people’s lives.    

How is United Way addressing the issue of systemic racism in our region?  

The entire team at United Way is deeply committed to their mission, to mobilize the goodwill and resources of the community so everyone can thrive. United Way believes that working to eradicate systemic and structural racism is a key part of this role. Learn more about United Way's commitment to equity  

I want to volunteer.  

United Way helps mobilize 15,000 volunteers each year. Learn more about United Way's volunteer opportunities  

I want to donate an item.  

Thank you for supporting our community with your donation! See if the item(s) you would like to donate are needed on the Community Wishbook.    

I want to request funding for my agency or program.  

A thriving region depends on thriving nonprofits. United Way has a range of grant opportunities available for nonprofit agencies. Learn more about United Way's impact-driven funding opportunities

I need help.  

Help is a phone call away with 211. 211 is available 24/7 to connect you with real-life people and resources. Learn more about where you can find help.