Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does United Way of Greenville County do?

We bring people and resources together to build a Cycle of Success where all children start school prepared to learn and go on to graduate, well-educated graduates find good jobs and create stable homes, and children from stable homes continue the cycle because they start school on track and prepared for success.      

2. How is United Way of Greenville County different from other nonprofit organizations?

We have a unique ability to bring together the people and organizations from across the community who share in our vision and have the energy, expertise and resources to get the work done. We work side-by-side with the public, private and nonprofit sectors to tackle the root causes of key community issues in a holistic, sustainable way. We build on strategies that are known to be effective and rigorously evaluate our work.

3. Who makes investment decisions?

Deciding which programs receive United Way funding and managing those investments is placed in the capable hands of community volunteers and staff, who spend many hours determining  which portfolio of programs in which to invest. Decisions are based on those programs that demonstrate the ability to advance a cycle of success and positive community change. To ensure that contributions made by United Way donors are invested efficiently, effectively and strategically to improve lives and build a stronger community.

4. Who may receive program funding from United Way of Greenville County?

Any tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that conducts health or human service programs in Greenville County may apply. Programs are funded on a three-year cycle based on factors designed to ensure the greatest return on investment for the more than 35,000 donors who support United Way. Factors include: 1) Ability to achieve measureable and meaningful results; 2) Strategic alignment with United Way's priority issue areas; 3) Effective use of resources; and 4) Creating a Culture of continuous learning. The United Way Board of Trustees makes the final decisions on all allocations. The next funding cycle begins in July, 2016.

5. How many people were helped by United Way and its supporters in the past year?

Last year, more than 133,000 people benefited from the programs and initiatives your contributions make possible: more than 103,000 people received assistance with basic needs, a critical first step in being better prepared to begin a Cycle of Success; and nearly 29,000 people advanced along the Cycle of Success though measured improvement in one or more of three key areas: School Readiness, High School Graduation, or Financial Stability.

6. Does United Way of Greenville County have a formal financial audit procedure?

An annual audit of United Way's financial statements is conducted by an independent, certified public accountant whose examination complies with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), and in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Volunteer finance and audit committees monitor all aspects of the organization's finances and audit relationships to ensure  United Way adheres to the highest standards of financial accountability. In addition to an annual audit, United Way is in compliance with all state and  federal  laws.  Financials  are  posted  on  our  website, unitedwaygc.org.

7. What were the results of the 2015 United Way of Greenville County community campaign?

In 2015, we raised $16,755,895; more than 35,000 individuals contributed; and 621 companies participated in the campaign.

8. How much of the money raised by United Way of Greenville County is used for administrative purposes?

Only 15.5% is used for  fundraising and administration. United Way is this efficient because community support keeps costs to a minimum- including extensive volunteer leadership,  executives  "loaned"  by companies, in-kind public service advertising and more.

9. My spouse and I both work. Why should we both give?

United Way asks individuals to contribute according to salary and ability. If both spouses work, each is asked to consider participating in their company's workplace campaign. Even though they may work at different places, couples whose combined giving exceeds $1,000 are eligible for dual membership in The Palmetto Society (see no. 10).

10. What is the Palmetto Society?

Donors who contribute $1,000 or more are recognized as Palmetto Society members. There are many  opportunities  for  networking  through  a  variety of events, and through targeted initiatives for African American Leadership, Women's Leadership and Young Philanthropists.

11. What does "Fair Share" mean?

Fair Share (defined as 1% of salary or 1 hour of pay per month) was designed to ask each person for the same amount in proportion to his or her earnings. It is meant to be a guide to giving, not a requirement or recommendation.

12. If I give through payroll deduction, do I need to keep a copy of my pledge?

Yes. IRS regulations require individuals giving through payroll deductions to show a copy of their pledge form and documentation from their employer with their charitable deduction noted on it. This is required for anyone who itemizes charitable contributions on their income tax  return. United Way of Greenville County's printed pledge card includes a tear-off stub that provides the information required by the IRS. This stub of the printed pledge card, a copy of the entire printed form, or a printout of your pledge receipt if you contributed online should be kept for tax records.

13. Can I designate my United Way donation to specific agencies?

Yes, but keep in mind that United Way volunteers ensure that contributions are invested to help build a Cycle of Success in Greenville County (see no. 1). However, if a United Way-funded agency or other nonprofit health and human service 501(c)(3) organization is especially important to you, you can designate your gift by completing both a pledge card and a Donor Designation Form available from your campaign coordinator or the United Way office. A minimum designation of $25 is required. If you make an online contribution, you can designate your gift by following the instructions and completing the required information in the designation section.

14. Do donor designations to specific agencies affect  program investment decisions?

No. Program investment funding decisions (see nos. 3 and 4) are made by volunteers without knowledge of which agencies received donor-designated contributions. They are treated as separate streams of income with neither affecting the other. There is a fee of 15.5% for the processing of donor-designated  dollars. There is no fee for a designation to other United Ways in Upstate SC.

15. If I stop working or leave the company where I made my donation, what happens to my pledge?

Should you stop working, your payroll deduction pledge stops, too. Your pledge is made in good faith based upon your employment. When you start a new job, ask to sign up for payroll deduction again, or call us for further options.

16. What if I live in another county?

United Way asks people to give where they work, but services can be used where they work or live. If you wish, you may designate your gift to United Way in the county where you live by completing a Donor Choice Form.

17. Someone I know didn't receive help from an agency supported by United Way. Why?

To find out why, we need to get the facts: names, dates, and all pertinent information. Then, call United Way at 864-467-3509 and we will fully explore the concern.

18. Why do some agencies charge for services?

Agencies supported by United Way serve all of us. If there is a fee for service, it is usually based on one's ability to pay, and represents another source of income for the agency. This is necessary because United Way cannot cover the full cost of every agency's operation.  

19. How does United Way support the Boy Scouts?

United Way of Greenville County funds Boy Scouts of America, Blue Ridge Council, at a level of approximately $129,000. This includes investment funding of $100,000 and donor-directed gifts of more than $29,000. United Way volunteers who guide investment decisions recommend investing in the Boy Scouts because youth benefit from participating in safe, structured life skills programs.

20. Does United Way of Greenville County support Planned Parenthood and agencies that promote abortion?

All funding decisions regarding programs and initiatives supported by United Way of Greenville County are made right here and led by a board of local volunteers. United Way of Greenville  County has no relationship with Planned Parenthood and does not fund Planned Parenthood. Additionally, none of the programs and initiatives funded by United Way of Greenville County promote, endorse, or make referrals on abortion.

21. What is the relationship between United Way of Greenville County & United Way Worldwide?

United Way of Greenville County is autonomous and managed by local volunteers. United Way Worldwide is a national training and service center serving local United Ways across the country. United Way of Greenville County pays membership dues to United Way Worldwide in return for services that include use of the United Way name and logo, market research, promotional items, national/NFL advertising, and training for staff. United Way Worldwide does not govern United Way of Greenville County. Led by a board of local volunteers, all funding and leadership decisions for United Way of Greenville County are made here. The $195,565 paid by United Way of Greenville County to United Way Worldwide for services are part of United Way of Greenville County's overall fundraising and administrative costs (see no. 8).

22. How does United Way pay for events and luncheons?

Volunteers are asked to pay for lunches. Local companies provide event sponsorships to offset the cost of recognition and cultivation events for donors.

23. How many individuals work at United Way?

United Way employs 53 people in a combination of full-time and part-time roles to provide leadership in fundraising, community planning and programs, grant writing, financial administration, communications, information & referral, and volunteer engagement. Staff also recruit and engage more than 1,300 volunteers during the year, effectively utilizing their expertise to further the mission and work of United Way. Specific questions should be directed to Ted Hendry, president of United Way of Greenville County at (864) 467-3333.

24. What is United Way 2-1-1?

2-1-1 is a 24/7 information and referral line. Callers speak with a counselor who provides free, confidential referrals to hundreds of local programs that assist with counseling, job training, emergency assistance and other needs. 2-1-1 is also the number to call to access United Way's VITA program (see no. 25). United Way 2-1-1 counselors responded to 17,398 calls in the past year.

25. Does United Way really provide free tax preparation services?

Yes. United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides free tax preparation services to people with a household income of $54,000 or less. This year, more than 10,300 returns were completed for Upstate taxpayers, generating $9.1 million in tax return dollars. VITA participants received $3.4 million in EITC, $1.4 million in Child Tax Credits and $205,000 in Education Credits, while collectively saving an estimated $2.1 million in tax preparation fees.

26. What is the OnTrack Greenville Middle Grades Success Initiative?

Fueled by a federal Social Innovation Fund grant, United Way of Greenville County, the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, the Riley Institute at Furman University and nonprofit partners have teamed up with Greenville County Schools to transform our community's ability to help middle school students stay on track, graduate and build a successful, thriving future. OnTrack Greenville is focused on implementing an Early Warning and Response System that provides structures to enhance the academic environment and customized interventions that identify, address, and eliminate barriers to success based on each student's unique needs. OnTrack Greenville is focused in the high-need schools serving students in the White Horse community: Berea, Lakeview and Tanglewood middle schools, and Greenville Early College. The three-year goals in the White Horse community include a 25 percent increase in math and English/language arts proficiency, a 75 percent reduction in chronic absenteeism and a 50 percent decrease in disciplinary referrals and suspensions. The long-term goal is to provide an effective model that can be expanded to other schools and other communities.

27. What is United Way Hands On Greenville and how can it help me get involved?

United Way Hands On Greenville links volunteers with rewarding opportunities and champions volunteerism and civic engagement. In the past year, we recruited 5,533 new volunteers, engaged 81 corporate partners and delivered 59,702 hours of service to the Upstate of South Carolina. By donating time to serve, Hands On Greenville volunteers made an economic contribution of $1,336,289. United Way Hands On Greenville offers opportunities to get involved through volunteerism year round. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, call  242-4224 or visit handsongreenville.org

28. Is there a way for me to get updates on United Way of Greenville County's work throughout the year?

To start, we suggest you visit unitedwaygc.org and sign up to get our quarterly newsletter. Also, like us on Facebook (facebook.com/unitedwaygc) and follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/UWGreenvilleSC)