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United Way 101

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 "What is United Way?"

United Way is a local organization that helps people right here in our community. 

Our mission statement sums up the broad range of our work: “To bring people and resources together to create positive change and lasting impact in our community.” Working with a diverse group of community partners we promote giving, advocating and volunteering to advance the common good in Champaign County.

What does that mean?

United Way's work is year-round. We work in many ways:

  • Community Goals: We track progress made towards our four Community Goals: Community Basics, Education, Health & Well-Being, and Financial Stability. We monitor our goals to ensure we are are responsive to the community's highest needs. We conduct community surveys every few years to gauge the pressing issues in our community.
  • Program Funding: We fund a network of 67 high-quality programs provided by 37 non-profit agencies that work toward our Community Goals. These programs recieve funding on a 2-year cycle and are extensively reviewed by a team of community volunteers. These programs have a history of delivering results.
  • Fundraising: United Way conducts an annual campaign to raise money for our Community Impact Fund, which provides the money for the 67 programs we fund. When we fundraise, we spread our message to the employees of over 250 companies. Giving is always voluntary.
  • Community Impact Fund: For those individuals and families in crisis or with chronic challenges we know there is not a single agency that can meet their needs. Multiple services provided through a variety of agencies are necessary to achieve our Community Goals.  United Way's Community Impact Fund assures that a full spectrum of services will be funded.
  • Advocating: We meet with lawmakers on bills important to our community. Specifically, in the past we have urged the state to make prompt payment to all non-profit agencies. We also work to spread awareness of our goals to our neighbors and everyone we meet.
  • Community Volunteerism: We work to promote volunteerism within our community. We host volunteer days, as well as promote CUVolunteer.org, a website where volunteers can find opportunities. We run a program for Emerging Community Leaders that engages young professionals in volunteerism and trains them to sit on the boards of non-profit organizations.
  • Partner at the Table: United Way sits in on roundtables such as the Council for Service Providers to the Homeless, Champaign County Health Care Consumers, and various other consortiums that work towards creating a stronger county. By being present at these meetings, United Way builds relationships within the community. We work together to create a better Champaign County.

We believe that together we can create results that no one can accomplish alone. When you give to United Way, you can feel confident that your gift is being put to work locally and with careful thought. When everyone gives a little, we can make a lot of change.