Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mission and vision of Metro United Way? 

Mission: To improve lives and our community by engaging people to give, advocate, and volunteer.
Vision: A community whose people achieve their full potential through education, financial independence and health.

What does Metro United Way do? 

Because systemic community challenges are most often rooted in multiple causes, Metro United Way harnesses the power of donors, volunteers, thought leaders, experts, other nonprofits and government at all levels to ensure positive, sustainable change. We’re the change agent that fuels our spirit of unity by building lasting, transformative opportunities for all.

We unite and empower communities in our seven-county region by advancing equity and sharing opportunities for all.

See community need data, why our work is important to our community’s success, and outcomes from this past year:

To help others better understand what it is that we do on a daily basis, we developed an “Impact Tracker.” It’s updated every two weeks so check it out! View our IMPACT TRACKER:

Impact Tracker

What is the Investment Redesign?

MUW has moved away from a “historical funding model” to one of transformational impact to accelerate needed change in our community. We called this 3-year plan our “investment redesign.” It entailed an exhaustive process to identify our communities’ most pressing needs so that we can help solve them. During this extensive qualitative and quantitative analyses, we listened to voices of multiple stakeholders across our seven-county region and poured into the results of numerous studies that have been conducted to assess how our community fares across many measures of success.

From this, the message was clear – a great majority of our community’s residents have not experienced the same levels of educational and wealth opportunities and achievement, dramatically impeding their ability to thrive. In short, this process moves us from investing in nonprofits to investing in issues – especially around closing the education and wealth gaps that exist and were exacerbated by the pandemic.

As we continue to shift to focusing on our community’s most pressing needs and the root causes of them, we recognize there is still immediate need in our seven-county region. We also implemented a health and basic needs strategy to address these urgent needs, in addition to strategies around educational success and wealth attainment.

What does this new impact model mean for historical funding or partnerships? 

We used to make investments in nonprofits rooted in a historic model that didn’t drive transformational outcomes. Today, we are a change organization and have a strategic plan to address key drivers of inequities and invest where the need is the greatest to address systemic community challenges and ensure positive, sustainable change. While we have phased out our historical funding to nonprofit partners, we have opened up several investment opportunities to any nonprofit in our seven-county region.

We are working to create a culture of trust-based philanthropy that addresses inherent power imbalances, dismantles systemic racism and accelerates strategic investments. This new model addresses systemic, root cause issues. By prioritizing ideas, impact and functional capabilities over administrative reporting capacities, Metro United Way effectively advances equity, targets systemic racism, addresses power imbalances, grows investment and builds mutually accountable relationships within the community, relying on community outcomes as a whole instead of individual organizational or programmatic results.


Our vision and mission reflect our fundamental belief that all people belong and deserve fairness, justice, and inclusivity. Our strength comes from our diversity and we celebrate the visible and invisible qualities that make each person unique, including race, gender, age, sexuality, ability, religion, national origin, gender identity, and other identities. We commit to aligning our culture and business practices to be a beacon of diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and belonging for all people.

Within our community, we know that a great majority of Black and Brown residents have not experienced the same levels of educational and wealth opportunities and achievement, dramatically impeding their ability to thrive – which affects us all. We all win when every child succeeds in school, when under-resourced neighborhoods turn around, when families have good health and when workers have solid jobs.

We passionately believe in the humanity and potential of all and have a fundamental belief that all people belong. We strive to unite the community behind that belief to address systemic community challenges and ensure positive, sustainable change. After all, the measure of a community’s success doesn’t lie in those who already have opportunities to thrive but in those still fighting for them.

Some of the specific diversity, equity, and inclusion work that MUW leads:

  • Racial Wealth Gap Simulations – engagement event that takes people and organizations on a historical journey to wealth building in America, pausing on 13 federal policies that most powerfully accelerated or impeded progress based on race
  • Beyond Buzzwords – speaker series on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Black L.O.V.E. (Live. Own. Vote. Excel) – investments/partnerships with Black-led organizations
  • Public Policy agenda – systemic change and lasting impact require a pairing of powerful programming and transformative policy making
  • United Neighborhoods – a resident-driven, place-based approach focused on specific neighborhoods within our 7-county region
  • FundBLACKFounders – an innovative approach to creating pathways of poverty to prosperity by investing in Black entrepreneurs with financial and social capital.
  • Ensuring our staff, board, volunteer structure, governance, investment design and partners, events, purchasing, trainings – all reflect DEI

What is MUW’s work around public policy?

MUW recognizes that systemic change and lasting impact require a pairing of powerful programming and transformative policy making. Elected officials and administrative leaders are critical partners in promoting equity and opportunity for all people in the areas of education, economic mobility, and health, and as such, Metro United Way actively engages in public policy efforts. The range of issues affecting our priorities is vast. To be effective, Metro United Way has a targeted public policy agenda that has relevancy across our seven-county and two-state region.

Additional FAQs

Q: What is Metro United Way’s service area?

A: We serve seven counties in Kentucky and Indiana — Bullitt, Jefferson, Oldham, and Shelby counties in Kentucky and Clark, Floyd, and Harrison in Indiana.

Q: Who runs Metro United Way?

A: United Way is a volunteer-led organization. We are governed by a local board of directors composed of business and community leaders. Our community impact cabinet helps determine our investments in solutions to root cause issues. A staff team of about 65 works hand-in-hand with the board and dozens of other leadership and community volunteers.

Q: How is our United Way connected with others?

A: Metro United Way is an independent and self-governing member of the United Way Worldwide network. We meet annual membership requirements and receive benefits such as training, national advertising and public policy support, and the ability to draw on “best practices” of United Ways throughout the country.

Q: How can I get help?

A: Metro United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral service directs people looking for resources to help them face life challenges, often for the first time, to the appropriate service provider. 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can find help with everything from rent and utility payment assistance; transportation, tax preparation help; food, health, or medical needs; and more. For more information, please visit or simply call 2-1-1.

Other resources for you and your family can be found at along with resources for nonprofits and businesses in our community.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: Behind all our work, there are people like you who get involved in big and small — but always significant — ways to ensure a better future for their family and their community. You can give, advocate and volunteer to join us and Live United.


You can also join us at these events and signature volunteer opportunities:
Community Impact “Immies” Awards, Beyond Buzzwords, Racial Wealth Gap Simulation, Day of Action, The Greatest Give Back, Live United Day at the Capitol, Build-A-Bed




Q: Why should I give to Metro United Way?

A: Data shows that the need in our community is larger than the resources available. The Greater Louisville region’s nonprofit donations are in the bottom tier of our peer cities and we rank 5th in the country for concentrated poverty and have twice the eviction rate of the national average.

Metro United Way unites and empowers communities by harnessing the power of donors, volunteers, thought leaders, experts, other nonprofits and government at all levels to ensure positive, sustainable change across our seven-county region.

Your donation helps us change the social determinants of education, economic mobility, and health so that dreams do become reality for everyone.

Q: Why should I give to Metro United Way rather than to a single agency directly?

A: Metro United Way makes sure your money goes where it’s needed most. We offer donors the opportunity to support the entire community and maximize their giving – often by matches from generous companies and individuals in our community that aren’t available elsewhere. By giving to Metro United Way, you give us the power to attack the most pressing needs in the region, based on research, to create lasting changes. Knowing where the most pressing needs are is a strength of Metro United Way. Another advantage of investing in Metro United Way is the assurance that there is diligent monitoring to ensure your dollars are making the greatest impact.

Q: What if I already give to other organizations?

A: There are many wonderful organizations that we as individuals support: our schools, churches, environmental organizations, or personal charities of choice. At Metro United Way, we respect those commitments and ask you that you extend your charitable giving by investing in our work to strengthen the foundation of our community through education, economic mobility, and health.

Q: How can I be sure my gift is spent wisely?

A: Our volunteer leadership works hard with great thought, purpose and consideration to reach recommendations and gain approval from our board—a group that consists of a wide range of business and community leaders—of our investment plan. Ultimately, these decisions help us align strategic partnerships so that the community benefits while achieving the biggest impact for our dollars.

Metro United Way adheres to stringent standards of accounting and financial reporting set for voluntary health and human-service organizations. Our organization is audited by an external firm every year; our Audited Financials, IRS tax form 990 and Donor Bill of Rights may be reviewed on our website at

Q: Does my gift stay in my community?

A: Every dollar raised in your community stays in your community. We are making sure the dollars are working to help your neighbors, coworkers, family members, and in some cases the very individuals who donate and volunteer with us.

Q: What is overhead exactly? How much of the donations raised by Metro United Way go toward helping people?

A: Overhead is a term originally used to measure the various cost components of a product being manufactured. In the nonprofit world, it often refers to our management, administration and fundraising costs. It’s actually people – people that are passionate about issues that strengthen neighborhoods and that improve lives. Metro United Way has a very lean structure and maintains a very low overhead percentage.

Of each dollar donated by the public, approximately 18 cents is spent on the costs of administering the organization, including executive leadership and oversight, raising funds, and providing the appropriate stewardship of those funds. These costs are integral and necessary to Metro United Way’s overall mission of improving lives and our community. Approximately 79 cents out of every dollar raised goes directly to helping people. The remaining 3 cents represents uncollectible pledges, one of the lowest rates in our industry.

Our overhead rate is very low in comparison to most charities and falls far below the 35% overhead threshold suggested by the Better Business Bureau as acceptable. If you’d like additional details on our costs, you can review our Audited Financials and IRS 990 Form on our website or at




Q: What impact does Metro United Way make in the Greater Louisville region?

A: We envision a community in which everyone can access EDUCATION that inspires and equips, ECONOMIC MOBILITY that meets needs and builds futures, and HEALTH that provides strength and hope.

See community need data, why our work is important to our community’s success, outcomes from this past year:

Q: I know Metro United Way has been around a long time but what is it that you actually do?

A: We get this question a lot! So we developed an “Impact Tracker” to help others understand our daily work and what it is that we do. It’s updated every two weeks so check it out! View our IMPACT TRACKER:

Impact Tracker


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