Metro United Way Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

 

OVERVIEW

What does Metro United Way do?

Metro United Way focuses on addressing the underlying causes of community issues in order to impact long-term sustainable change. We do this by fully embracing our organizational mission and vision:

Our mission is to improve lives and our community by engaging people to give, advocate and volunteer. Our vision is a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives.

Everything we do is dedicated to advancing the common good in our community by creating opportunities for a better life for all. A community of connected individuals, all people, united and working together for the benefit of all, is at the heart of what Metro United Way represents. We focus on education, which positively affects the other two building blocks of a good quality of life – financial stability and health. Because we all win when a child succeeds in school, when a neighborhood turns around, when families have good health and workers have solid jobs.

We believe that a quality education leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement and good health.

By addressing these influences, Metro United Way strives to achieve our strategically developed Community Aspirations that will ensure:

  • All children enter kindergarten ready to learn
  • All youth will complete high school on time prepared for college, work and life
  • Parents and caregivers have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to maintain family stability and help their children succeed
  • We sustain a network of services to address basic needs.

Today we stand at a unique threshold of opportunity for our community; our Mayor has chosen Metro United Way to be the community-wide convener in transforming Early Care and Education, based on our significant work in early childhood education and including our most recent achievements with our Excellence Academy early learning centers.

We want to mobilize not only dollars, but also people’s time, talents and expertise to achieve lasting results on priority community issues. We know that the measure of Metro United Way’s success is ultimately in the ways we are impacting the community, connecting people across the region and in improving the foundation of our community.

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GENERAL

I hear Metro United Way is changing – why are you changing and what does that mean?

Metro United Way advances the common good in the community by creating opportunities for a better life for all. For nearly 100 years, we have mobilized the caring power of our community by supporting agencies that provide services to strengthen individuals and families as well as addressing basic human needs. Because of this rich history, Metro United Way has been in the unique position of being able to witness the changing needs of our community and identify the underlying causes of the problems we face. This is why we focus our attention on the building blocks of a quality life: education, financial stability and health.

Everything we do at Metro United Way is driven by our mission and vision. And today, while we remain committed to support a network of programs that address the basic needs of our community, we are determined to provide the leadership to change the odds for success for many of our children and youth who face harsh realities and obstacles on their journey to achieve their fullest potential. With that in mind, we are refining our priorities to reflect what our work and our research have shown: to effectively change community conditions, we must start with children and education. And in order to ensure children can enter kindergarten ready to succeed, we have to make sure families have the knowledge, skills and abilities to sustain a healthy environment for children to grow in which requires a more collaborative approach.

How will this change benefit the community?

Metro United Way wants to strengthen our investment in our community in measurable, tangible results; our goals and outcomes are focused on community priorities. We want donors to see that they are making a difference, and that there is a tangible return on their investment. Metro United Way is committed to investing our limited resources where they will produce results that have the greatest impact on community-wide priorities.

These priorities are too big for any single organization to tackle and instead require effective collaboration with the entire community. At Metro United Way we mobilize local partners including businesses, community leaders, public officials and community residents to take coordinated actions towards solving our community's problems.

This collective impact strategy focuses on bringing together individuals and organizations of all types to establish a common vision and tackle the issues our communities are facing today and seek additional partners who can align with our shared vision and goals.

How will this change affect Metro United Way funded programs?

The good news for our partner agencies is that there can be long-term benefits from Metro United Way’s transformation to community impact; we are committed to funding the highest quality programs needed to address our priority areas and the needs of our community. Many of our local agency partners have already been working for years to maintain or improve the quality of their programs as well as to better align them with the community’s critical issues; agency staff are often the experts on the issues that we are working to impact, and the services that many of the agencies provide will be needed to create the long-lasting changes we seek.

We will achieve our bold goals by building a network of collaborative partnerships with other leaders in our community who have shared visions and goals - and the power to make long term sustainable change happen. Metro United Way’s collective impact approach will create a more coordinated, systemic approach that helps us achieve significantly better results than we can achieve alone.

Who runs Metro United Way?

United Way Worldwide is the national voluntary membership organization of nearly 1,800 independent local United Way organizations across the world and each is a separate, independent organization.

All Metro United Way decisions are made locally by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of business and community leaders. We are also supported by over 10,000 other volunteers in a variety of programs and activities. A professional staff of approximately 60 employees at Metro United Way supports the volunteers.

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JOINING METRO UNITED WAY

What can I do to help?

Our goals at Metro United Way are ambitious, and we need you to be a part of the change. It starts with recognizing that we’re all in this together. And then acting on that knowledge to be engaged and support each other in meaningful ways. You can give. You can advocate. You can volunteer. Because when we are all working together toward a common purpose, we truly LIVE UNITED. Come join us!

Give – Your gift to Metro United Way powerfully demonstrates your commitment to our community. Imagine what a difference we can make when people from all across our community realize how we are connected and can make a better life for all. Metro United Way mobilizes the caring power of our community to get things done and your donation makes an impact.

Become a member of our Red Feather Society by endowing your annual gift or including Metro United Way in your will or estate plans, naming Metro United Way as a beneficiary to your life insurance policy, or by making an outright gift to the Metro United Way Endowment Fund. Continue your support for Metro United Way work and our community for years to come through the Red Feather Society and leave a legacy.

Visit metrounitedway.org/donate to show your support.

Advocate – What does it mean to LIVE UNITED?

It means recognizing that whether or not I know a child, it matters if that child grows up to be a contributing member of this community. High dropout rates affect the wellbeing of our entire community.

It means understanding that when any part of this community is struggling financially, it affects prosperity for all.

It means seeing that we are all interconnected and that we can work together to address the conditions that contribute to problems in our community.

Because you have a stake in our community, you have a stake in all these things and a responsibility to do your part. You can use your voice and your vote to speak up for issues surrounding education, financial stability and healthy lives.

Learn more about advocacy opportunities to share your voice by visiting our website at metrounitedway.org/advocate.

Volunteer - Metro United Way plays an active and important role in getting things done all across our community by getting commitments in time, money and expertise; we recruit people to the cause, get commitments for action, and connect expertise and systems with the resources that get things done for long-term, sustainable change. It takes all of us, working together to reach our mutual goals that our community will progress and our children will have a better future.

Visit metrounitedway.org/volunteer for a list of local volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups to lend a hand and make a difference.

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DONATING

Why should I give to Metro United Way?

By contributing to Metro United Way, you are joining with others across our community to strengthen the building blocks of a good quality of life – education, financial stability and healthy lives. A donation to Metro United Way helps to advance the common good for everyone in our community because we all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. It takes everyone in the community working together to create opportunities for a better tomorrow, and this is what it means to LIVE UNITED.

Last year, 52,988 donors contributed $26.2 million in generous gifts that helped make sure:

  • The Excellence Academy continued to strengthen the skills of preschool teachers to ensure more of our children enter kindergarten ready to learn. Our Excellence Academy children are 2x more likely to be ready for kindergarten than their like peers.
  • Over 1,200 children received quality child care and 88% of those tracked demonstrated developmental progress.
  • Families of 1,535 families participated in the Ages and Stages Questionnaires program to measure development, with 95% of parents saying the information was helpful.
  • Over 20,000 youth benefitted from quality out-of-school time programs, and 95% of the sites that participated in Youth Program Quality Improvement in 2015/2016 improved their quality score in at least one of the four domains.
  • 18,853 people received free tax preparation services and financial stability services through a MUW funded Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
  • 103,174 people were assisted by Metro United Way's 2-1-1 information and referral service to find the resources they needed.

Hundreds of thousands of people took a step toward a better life last year. Be a part of the change; LIVE UNITED.

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

One gift through Metro United Way helps more people in more ways than a gift to a single agency. By donating to Metro United Way, you support our work to achieve our vision of a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives.

You may be able to double your gift to your favorite agency if you qualify for matching funds either through your company or through one of MUW’s challenge grants offered for various levels of giving.

There are critical issues in our community that cannot be solved by a single agency alone. MUW’s coordinated planning and leadership around our shared vision ensures that your gift will be used effectively to meet our area's most critical needs as a whole and address the underlying causes of problems for long-term results.

You never know when you or someone you know may need to utilize the compassionate network of services for basic needs supported by Metro United Way. Job loss, loss of a loved one, illness, accidents, disabilities, family problems, natural disasters, mental disorders and the problems of today can affect anyone, regardless of ethnicity, age or income level.

When you choose Metro United Way to manage your gift, you are guaranteed experience, accountability and effectiveness. Our management ensures that the work you support through Metro United Way adheres to sound fiscal policies and provides necessary results-oriented programs and services.

What if I already give to other organizations?

There are many 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, financial stability and health – the building blocks for a good quality of life.

A donation to Metro United Way doesn’t just change one or two lives – it changes the fabric of our community for the better. This is because our work focuses on advancing the common good by improving education, helping people achieve financial stability and promoting healthy lives. Engaging in these three root issues ensures your donation has a long-term ripple effect in our community.

How can I be sure my gift is spent wisely?

We know that the measure of Metro United Way is ultimately found in the ways we are impacting the quality of life for all of us – mobilizing the caring power of our community to support our education initiatives as well as the funded agency partners that provide services to strengthen individuals and families.

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 financial information page here.

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FUNDED AGENCY PARTNERS

How do agencies become funded agency partners?

Metro United Way realizes that we can have the great impact on our community by being much more strategic and deliberate in how we work. In order to advance the common good, we have to align our focus and resources on those areas that will lead to significant lasting change – education, financial stability and health – and to support our Community Aspirations:

  • All children will enter kindergarten ready to learn
  • All youth will complete high school on time prepared for college, work and life
  • Parents and caregivers will have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to maintain family stability and help their children succeed
  • We will sustain a network of services to address basic needs.

Metro United Way considers the following basic requirements and general criteria in considering applying agencies:

  • Proven results in our priority strategies for our three focus areas
  • Willingness to work collaboratively on common goals and quality improvement.
  • Qualifying nonprofit status under IRS Subsection 501(c)3
  • Comply with Metro United Way’s Agency Agreement, fundraising and marketing guidelines, and our diversity and inclusion policy
  • Availability of Metro United Way’s resources

As Metro United Way continues to further define our strategies to achieve our Community Aspirations, we connect with additional organizations with the passion, expertise and resources to help us achieve our goals. Interested organizations should contact Metro United Way.

How does Metro United Way make annual funding decisions?

At Metro United Way, we are more focused and outcome driven than ever before to achieve our vision of a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives. To help reach that goal, funding decisions are based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment with Metro United Way’s priorities
  • Quality, results and measurability
  • Stewardship of the dollars

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.

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IS METRO UNITED WAY INCLUSIVE OF ALL GROUPS?

Metro United Way values diversity in our community. Metro United Way will not discriminate based on race, color, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status or national origin in accordance with the law.

Metro United Way will reflect diversity in its organizational governance, volunteer structure, staffing, funding decisions and policies. Through our commitment to diversity, we will strive to be a role model in our community, joining with other organizations to strengthen an effective human service system that reaches out to all people in our seven-county community. Metro United Way’s Diversity Plan reflects its own commitment to diversity in its Board of Directors, volunteer governance and structure, staffing and purchasing.

Metro United Way requires funded agencies to practice without discrimination in accordance with the law. Metro United Way recognizes the unique mission of each agency it funds. Each agency receiving funding from Metro United Way agrees to:

  • Maintain status as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt, not-for-profit organization.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to model diversity and inclusion defined as follows:
    • Diversity: the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level. This includes work style, parental status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, national origin, language, age, religion, mental and physical abilities – and more.
    • Inclusion: a strategy to leverage diversity. Diversity always exists in social systems. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be created. In order to leverage diversity an environment must be created where people feel supported, listened to and able to do their personal best.
  • The MUW and Agency Boards of Directors, staff, volunteers and those served by the Agency, will strive to reflect the many faces and walks of life which proudly make up our regional community.
  • Maintain all financial information in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States.
  • Meet all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau Charity Review.
  • Communicate openly on matters of common concern or mutual interest.
  • Indemnify, hold harmless and defend the other party (its officers, employees, agents, representatives, volunteers and assigns) against any and all claims, costs (including reasonable attorney’s fees), demands, causes of action, suits, injuries, damages of any kind whatsoever, loss or death resulting from that party’s negligence, misconduct, malicious actions, or omissions while carrying out the requirements of this agreement.

Metro United Way's network of agencies embraces both special constituencies and broader community needs.  In fact, when you support Metro United Way, your donation touches two out of three people in our community at some point in their lives, through the programs of over 100 local organizations.  That’s a truly diverse population.  These programs help kids succeed, build strong families, promote health and independence and strengthen neighborhoods. 

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FINANCIAL

How does Metro United Way keep costs low?

For a building to be stable for the long term, it needs a solid foundation. The same is true in our community, and Metro United Way believes the building blocks for a solid quality of life are a strong public education system, economic stability and quality health care.

To help make this happen, we have over 10,000 volunteers who do everything from raising funds to researching community needs and making funding decisions; their engagement with Metro United Way helps stretch your contribution, so more dollars go to support our goals and help more people. Of each dollar raised by Metro United Way, 17 cents goes to the cost of running the organization.

In fact, we’re one of the most cost-effective nonprofit organizations you can find anywhere, according to standards set by national charitable watchdog organizations. The Better Business Bureau suggests that charities with 35% overhead or lower are acceptable.

What is overhead exactly? How much of the donations raised by MUW go toward helping people?

Overhead refers to our management and administration and fundraising costs. Because of our large force of over 10,000 volunteer workers who do everything from raising funds to studying community needs and making funding decisions, Metro United Way has a very lean structure and maintains a very low overhead percentage. Of each dollar raised, 17 cents goes to the costs of administering the organization and running the annual campaign.

Therefore, approximately 83 cents out of every dollar raised goes directly to helping people. This is very low in comparison to most charities, and falls far below the 35% overhead threshold suggested by the Better Business Bureau as acceptable. For example, last year generous gifts to Metro United Way impacted our community as:

Education: When our children are ready for kindergarten and stay on track to graduation, they are better prepared for the future and contribute to our communities.

  • Our Excellence Academy program strengthens the skills of preschool teachers to ensure more of our children enter kindergarten ready to learn. 66% of our Excellence Academy children tested ready for kindergarten compared to 53% of like peers.
  • Over 1,400 children received quality child care in a safe environment that nurtures learning, and 87% of those tracked who attended for at least six months demonstrated developmental progress.
  • Families of 1,403 families participate in the Ages & Stages Questionnaires program to measure development, with over 95% of parents saying the information was helpful.
  • 29,500 youth benefited from quality out-of-school time programs and services to support their academic success.

Financial Stability: When families have the tools to be financially independent, neighborhoods become stronger, our schools improve and our businesses prosper.

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites helped nearly 11,000 families secure $6.7 million in earned income tax credit and over $17.5 million in total tax refunds, helping families become stronger and more financially stable.
  • Over 19,000 individuals were supported through counseling, family education and training to promote family stability and 94% of individuals tracked who were engaged in counseling made progress towards their goals.

Healthy Lives: When our needs are met, we are healthier, more financially stable, our kids do better in school and our communities thrive.

  • Over 113,000 people were provided assistance to meet their basic needs for food, healthcare, shelter and other daily essentials for health and wellbeing.
  • 86,494 people were assisted by Metro United Way's 2-1-1 "help" referral service to find the services they needed.

If you would like additional details on our overhead and other costs, you can review our Audited Financials and IRS 990 Form on our financial information page here or at guidestar.org.

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GET HELP

How can I get help?

We all need a little help from time to time and finding the right information quickly is vital. Metro United Way's 2-1-1 "help" referral service directs people looking for resources to help them face life challenges, often for the first time, to the appropriate service provider.

You can find help with everything from utility payment assistance, tax preparation help, food, health, or medical needs and more.

For more information, please visit our 2-1-1 page here, call us at 502-583-2821, or simply call 2-1-1.

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