Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions
What does United Way do?

  • In short, United Way helps people.
  • United Way provides the tools and support for people in our community to live their best lives.
  • United Way partners with more than 170 local agencies and helps one in three of us in our 16-county region in Illinois and Missouri.
What is United Way of Greater St. Louis’ service area?

United Way of Greater St. Louis serves 16 counties in Illinois and Missouri with a population of nearly 3 million people.



In Illinois:

St. Clair

In Missouri:

St. Charles
St. Louis City
St. Louis

What is the administrative cost of United Way of Greater St. Louis?
  • Overhead costs of United Way of Greater St. Louis are less than 10 percent of total revenue, which is more than three times lower than some industry standards.
  • The quality standards developed by United Way of Greater St. Louis for our funded agencies recommend no more than 25 percent of total revenue go toward non-program costs.
  • Although United Way of Greater St. Louis is proud of its extremely low costs and high efficiency, this is only one way to evaluate the soundness of a nonprofit.   
Who oversees United Way of Greater St. Louis?

United Way of Greater St. Louis is a volunteer-directed organization. We are governed by a local volunteer board of directors who represent every sector and region that United Way serves. 

Why should I give to United Way?
  • Because you want to help people in the St. Louis region.
  • Because you want to be confident you’re investing in great organizations with great results.
  • Because you want your contribution to have the largest possible impact.
 Are United Way donations tax-deductible?
  • United Way of Greater St. Louis is a federally registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation.
  • As such, donations to United Way are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by an individual’s or corporation’s circumstances.
  • Donors who contribute $50 or more by check to United Way will receive an acknowledgment from United Way. A copy of the cancelled check and the acknowledgement together act as evidence of a donation for purpose of a tax return.
  • Those contributing through payroll deduction in their workplace should keep a copy of their signed pledge card and maintain their last pay stub of the tax year or Form W-2 from their employer that summarizes the amount withheld for United Way during their tax year.
  • In the event that goods or services of more than a nominal value are received in exchange for a gift (such as buying an auction item), only the donation in excess of the value of the good or service is considered to be tax deductible.
  • Donors are encouraged to consult their own tax professionals to determine the extent to which their donations are tax-deductible in their own circumstances.
How can I donate?
How can I become a Leadership Giver?
  • Leadership Givers donate an annual gift of $1,000 or more (about $19/week) to United Way of Greater St. Louis.
  •  Leadership Givers can donate at their company (and let us know you did so) or through our website (Convio).
  • Read more Leadership FAQs.
How can I volunteer?
  • Visit STLVolunteer to sign up for a wide variety of local volunteer projects.
  • Companies can also set up volunteer projects at STLVolunteer.
Agencies, Programs and Services
What agencies does United Way support?
Why does United Way support a system of agencies versus a single cause?
  • Instead of focusing on one single cause, United Way invests in a system of agencies that can meet the varied needs of people living in our region.
  • Issues people face tend to be complicated with no one single solution. A system of quality agencies ensures that we can holistically help an individual or family in need.
  • We know that the solution to one crisis can drive a solution to another. So we give great organizations what they need to make the biggest impact possible – independently and in partnership with each other.
How do I know that United Way partners use the funds responsibly?
  • United Way agencies are annually reviewed by hundreds of trained volunteers from all walks of life. (If you are interested in becoming one of these volunteers, please sign up at
  • United Way has developed a set of quality standards around the areas of finances, governance, programs and administration. Each agency is carefully reviewed with this criteria in mind.
What does United Way support beyond its partner agencies?
  • United Way of Greater St. Louis plays an important role in our community’s infrastructure. We work closely with business, government and nonprofit sectors to create partnerships, and ultimately solutions, on broad community issues.
  • United Way assesses the needs of our region.
  • United Way’s support of partner agencies goes beyond financial support by offering training, coaching and expert guidance.
  • United Way manages the region’s oldest and most comprehensive volunteer center.
  • United Way manages United Way 2-1-1, a 24/7/365 helpline for those in Missouri and in our service area of Illinois.
  • United Way provides community enhancement grants to member and non-member agencies to help with specific community populations and to address unmet needs.
  • United Way manages 100 Neediest Cases, Dollar More, Dollar Help, and other community programs.
Getting Help
How can I get help?
  • A great way to get started is to call United Way 2-1-1 (simply dial 2-1-1, like you would 4-1-1 or 9-1-1) or visit
  • United Way 2-1-1 is free, confidential and available 24/7/365.
How is our United Way connected to other cities?
  • United Way of Greater St. Louis is independent and self-governing.
  • The money you contribute stays here to help residents in our 16-county region.
  •  We are not connected to other United Ways except through “best practices” sharing with United Way of America in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Our local Board of Directors manages the fundraising and distribution of money raised here and assumes responsibility for the integrity and stewardship of our operations.