With so many charitable causes to give to, why should I give to United Way?

United Way is unique for several reasons.  First, our focus is local.  The money you contribute to United Way goes directly to addressing issues in the Columbia Gorge Community.  Second, when you give to United Way, you’re actually giving to many of the agencies that service our community, not just one.  That’s because our staff and volunteers from the community work hard to evaluate the local agencies each year and ensure that your contribution goes toward the areas of greatest need.  In short, United Way does the work to make sure your contribution makes a difference in the community in which you live.

What is the overhead of the United Way of the Columbia Gorge?

Overhead in non-profit, charitable organizations typically runs between 15 and 35%.  United Way of the Columbia Gorge’s overhead is at the low end of this range.  With the exception of a part-time Executive Director and a part-time bookkeeper (whose combined hours are 20-30 hours/week— not adding up to one full-time employee), our “staff” is made up entirely of volunteers from the community.  We do not currently pay for office space, keeping expenses to a minimum.  Furthermore, United Way of the Columbia Gorge is independently audited each year and held to strict operating parameters by the national United Way organization of which we are a member.

How do I know where my contribution ends up going?

After each new year, beginning in late January, United Way of the Columbia Gorge builds an allocations committee of representatives from all three councils.  This committee, along with UWCG staff, thoroughly reviews the needs and operations of local agencies to decide on how contributions should be allocated.  Once this work is completed and approved by our volunteer Board, we publish a summary that describes the agencies receiving contributions and how much each was funded.  This information may also be reviewed under PARTNER AGENCIES on this website.

I want my contribution to benefit my town, not the whole Gorge. Can I do this?

Yes!  The choice is yours.  You may specifically designate your contribution to be spent in one of the three sub-communities of the Gorge: Wasco/Sherman, Hood River, or Klickitat/Skamania.  Or, you may leave it to our allocations team, which is made up of volunteer community members from across the Gorge, to decide how your contribution can best benefit the Gorge at large.

I cannot afford to contribute much. Is it worth it?

Absolutely, yes! A contribution in any amount makes a difference– that is the power of the United Way.  No contribution is too small because it unites with other contributions to make a big difference in our Gorge Community.

Can I designate my contribution to go to a specific agency?

Yes.  You can designate your contribution to any 501(c)3 organization you feel passionate about supporting, or you can designate to the General Allocations Fund where the money will be allocated based on the greatest need.