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What does United Way do?

United Way improves lives. We raise money and awareness to support the Community Fund each fall.

The Community Fund allows us to:

  • Support critical programs and services at high-performing nonprofit organizations through an extensive grant making process.
  • Deliver services directly to people in need through our 211 call center, county service centers, and volunteer efforts.
  • Bring the community together to provide a safety net and advance strategic efforts to encourage upward mobility for all.


Where does the money go?

The dollars raised here for the Community Fund, stay here. In 2020 they supported 207,948 people in collaboration with 54 agencies and 87 nonprofit programs and additional United Way managed programs. Based on a 2021 Strategic Plan, United Way is focusing all efforts on our region’s safety net and opportunity for upward mobility.


Why should I give to United Way’s Community Fund, and not directly to an agency?

The power of your individual gift is multiplied when combined with thousands of others through The Community Fund.

The Community Fund is how our region comes together to fund critical nonprofit programs that help our communities thrive and to deliver services directly to people through 211, county service centers, and volunteer efforts. When you give to the Community Fund, your gift becomes part of a united effort to strengthen our entire community, to improve lives.

Each year, volunteers review applications, financial statements, and impact data through a comprehensive Community Investments process. Designated gifts – those gifts directed to a single organization – do not go through this process.

United Way is happy to direct donations of $50 or more to any health and human services 501(c)(3) nonprofit on your behalf. However, because designations run outside of our Community Investments grant allocation process, it requires a minimum $100 gift to the Community Fund first and a 5% processing fee applies to non-United Way funded agencies.


Why isn’t my favorite nonprofit funded by United Way?

In some cases, an agency may be doing great work, but it may not have programs that align with United Way’s community impact goals. In other cases, the agency may not meet United Way’s rigorous criteria for performance and accountability; they may also have not applied.

Is my gift tax-deductible?

Yes, United Way is a federally registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Donations to United Way are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by an individual’s or corporation’s circumstances.


What financial safeguards are in place at United Way?

United Way is committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency. The Finance Committee and Board of Directors review financial statements monthly to assess adherence to the budget. An independent accounting firm annually audits United Way. The Finance Committee and Board of Directors must review and approve the audit annually.


How does United Way pay for its events?

Annual events, such as Kick-off and Turkey Trot, boost morale and create synergy among the community. Nearly all the costs for these events are paid through ticket sales and generous corporate sponsorships. Additionally, the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust Fund and other revenue help offset operational costs such as campaign marketing materials, events, and administrative expenses.


What is the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust Fund?

Herschel V. Jenkins was one of the original founders of United Way of the Coastal Empire. A former publisher of the Savannah Morning News and the Savannah Evening Press, Jenkins was a community-building pioneer who believed in the importance of United Way of the Coastal Empire. In 1955, Mr. Jenkins set aside a trust that by 1997 had grown to $13 million. Income from that trust continues to be used for administrative and fundraising costs so that United Way can focus donated funds directly to the programs that help our community.


What are the other ways I can contribute?

There are many ways to contribute: give, volunteer, and engage. Looking to get involved? Visit or call (912) 651-7700 to get started.


What is United Way Worldwide?

United Way Worldwide is the leadership organization for a network of local, community-based United Ways in more than 40 countries and territories. Each United Way is autonomous, governed by its own board of directors. United Way Worldwide is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. United Way Worldwide does not set policies, nor does it govern local United Ways.

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