FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about your Centre County United Way


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Who runs the Centre County United Way?
The Centre County United Way (CCUW) is led by a board of directors, and hundreds of active volunteers who help the organization set goals, organize fundraising efforts, solicit gifts, and budget and distribute funds.

There are a paid staff of four who help to implement policies and procedures established to help assure the opportunity to access quality education, financial stability, and health programs.

As part of our mission, we are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and a unified approach to dealing with human service issues facing Centre County communities. If you are interested in joining our efforts as a volunteer committee member, please contact us today!

What are United Way funds used for?
To Support PROGRAMS.

Centre County United Way funds help provide vital services to the people of Centre County, through over 50 programs managed and run by our Partner Network Organizations. (for a list of these agencies please visit our Partner Agencies page)

On the average, the Centre County United Way (CCUW) supports only a small percentage of agency budgets, and in many instances, CCUW funds are used as “matching funds.” This means federal and state funds may be provided as a match or in some proportion to the amount of community dollars contributed. CCUW encourages agencies to become self-supporting so that the money collected from the community can be used to solve new and expanding problems within the community.

Who decides how the money is distributed?

Once the money is collected through the annual campaign, panels of 4-5 volunteers from the community meet with the agencies who have submitted an application for funding. They visit the program sites, discuss the outcomes reported, review financial information, make suggestions for improvements and determine a funding range they feel is appropriate for each funded program/agency.

This information is then given to the volunteer panel chair for each group. There are typically 12-13 panel chairs (volunteers who have served as panel members and have experience with the process). The panel chairs meet to determine the final allocation for each of the paratner agencies. The final allocation amounts must total the amount of funding available for distribution. Their recommendations are then reviewed by the Board of Directors for approval before funding can be distributed to the agencies.

Staff's involvement in this process is only to facilitate training, schedule the site visits and answer questions.

United Way staff does not determine how much each agency will receive.

If you would like to volunteer with the Funds Distribution Process please contact: Megan at megan@ccunitedway.org

Do my tax dollars take care of all those health and social needs?
No, They Don’t. Since the mid-30’s, federal tax dollars have been funneled to provide certain categories of help. Generally, these programs are direct sustenance programs, like food and shelter. CCUW supported agencies provide a range of services beyond sustenance; to keep families together or care for children at risk. In some cases, arrangements can be worked out between CCUW agencies and tax supported programs. For example, frequently CCUW dollars are matched with tax dollars to provide for human services.

Why should I contribute, if I don’t use the agencies?
To Help Your Neighbors

Because you are helping others who cannot afford to pay for services they or their families need. And because you may need the services of one of the agencies sometime in the future. 1 in 4 Centre County residents access our funded program services each year. It may not be you but it is most likely someone you know.

*Your contribution is like buying insurance against some personal mishap. It’s almost impossible to predict that we won’t need a few United Way agencies in our lifetime.

Why do some agencies charge fees? What if I can’t afford to pay?
The total costs of services provided by the CCUW agencies is more than twice the amount raised by the CCUW in the Annual Campaign. Thus, nearly all agencies charge for services on a sliding scale basis. Clients who can afford to pay – do so. Those who can afford to pay only part are charged a lower rate (with United Way dollars making up the difference); and others pay nothing. This preserves the self-respect of all.

Are United Way agencies just for the poor?
NO. Monies contributed to CCUW are distributed where they will do the most good for the entire community. Partner agencies’ services are aimed at helping all people, no matter what their income level. Perhaps you, a member in your family, or one of your neighbors or co-workers have benefited from the services provided with CCUW funding. CCUW funds agencies that provide day care to children of working parents, health and safety courses, adoption services, and youth leadership programs, in addition to emergency services like food and shelter.