About United Way Greater Los Angeles

FAQs

Mission and Purpose | Donation Efficacy | Leadership and Interest Groups

Mission and Purpose

Q: What is United Way of Greater Los Angeles?

A: We’re a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Los Angeles County. Our national movement includes over 1,300 United Way community organizations. Each is independent, separately incorporated, and governed by local volunteers. 

Q: Why should I be concerned about the poverty crisis?

A: Poverty threatens our businesses, our economy and the future of our community. It traps young people in low-wage jobs. It breeds community instability and a poorly-equipped workforce. Extreme pPoverty presents people with impossible choices that too often lead to homelessness or incarceration. leaves people sleeping beneath overpasses and leads them to prison. Ending it will create a higher quality of life for all of us.

Q: Why is UWGLA uniquely qualified to lead the movement to end poverty in Los Angeles County?

A: We have decades of cross-sector partnerships all across the county. By coordinating our the efforts with those of our partners of L.A.’s vigorous anti-poverty coalition, we can build the strategic and programmatic groundwork for lasting change.

Q: Why is UWGLA involved in advocacy work?

A: Real and sustained change requires more than money. By focusing on local and state public policy, we fight poverty’s root causes and the systems that sustain them. We advocated for a successful LAUSD resolution that won smaller classes and smaller schools for almost 700,000 students. We pushed for access to college prep classes at two major school districts, benefiting almost 800,000 students. Achievements like these compound as students enter the workforce, leading to higher wages and expanded opportunities.

Donation Efficacy

Q: How much of my donation will go back to my community?

A: Wherever you live in Los Angeles County, pockets of poverty and homelessness are not far away. Our programs cover five regions of Greater Los Angeles including Antelope Valley, Harbor/Southeast, Los Angeles, San Fernando and San Gabriel. Within those regions, we prioritize the areas of greatest need and the places where we can do the most effective work.

Q: Why should I combine all my charitable giving through UWGLA?

A: You care about ending poverty and empowering the less fortunate. We provide you with a convenient service by directing your gifts to the most effective charities. The impact of every dollar travels farther than you ever thought possible, aAnd when you give a small donation er amount with each every paycheck, you can contribute swiftly adds up to more than you might could imagine giving be able to in a one-time gift. We handle the administrative details of your charitable giving. By contributing to your company’s United Way campaign, you’re also helping your company realize its charitable goals and philanthropic leadership in the community.

Q: How do UWGLA operating costs compare to other similar organizations?

A: According to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, a nonprofit’s overhead should not exceed 35%. United Way of Greater Los Angeles maintains an overhead of just 16.4% and merits a four-star rating on Charity Navigator. 

Q: What are UWGLA’s administrative fees?

A: No administration fee applies to donations to our Creating Pathways Out of Poverty plan. Designated donations to any specific charity other than United Way (such as the Red Cross or Children’s Hospital) require a fee. Standard administrative fees are 8% for eWay electronic processing and 9% for all other processing, with a maximum fee of $500.00 per year, per donor. These fees help cover the cost of our internal controls and infrastructure needed to provide the highest level of quality assurance to our donors. 

Q: How do I receive documentation of my gift for tax purposes?

A: Nonprofit organizations are required to provide receipts for all gifts of $250 or more. If you make a gift of $100 or more, United Way of Greater Los Angeles automatically sends a confirmation of your gift to your home or work address. Some companies decline to share donor information with us, so we are not able to thank all donors.

For gifts under $100 or to prove full payment on a payroll deduction contribution, an end-of-year pay stub may be used or a confirmation can be requested from your local United Way or designated agency. Additionally, a tax letter is sent in January for all Paid-in-Full (i.e.; cash, check, credit card, etc) gifts greater than $250 received at one time during the prior year. As per IRS Guidelines, gifts in amounts less than $250 will not receive tax letters, even if the cumulative total is greater than $250. 

Q: How does an organization qualify to be one of United Way’s partners?

A: The organization must be a local 501c3 nonprofit. We evaluate proposals from interested organizations based on how they serve our three impact areas: housing, education and financial stability. Independently, two evaluators rate organizations in the following areas:

  • Successful track record and fiscal soundness
  • Program design and goals
  • Appropriate outreach to the target population
  • Scale of results
  • Geographic reach
  • Culturally and linguistically accessible
  • High quality organizational management and operations

Q: Do problems at other United Ways affect United Way of Greater Los Angeles?

A: No. United Way organizations are all autonomous and managed by local volunteers. United Way of Greater Los Angeles is audited annually by Ernst & Young to ensure that it continues to adhere to all established accounting practices and standards.

Leadership and Interest Groups

Q: Who is a leadership?

A: Leadership-level supporters demonstrate passionate dedication to creating pathways out of poverty with a gift of $1,000 a year and by staying actively engaged in improving the quality of life for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Q: Who are Women Leaders?

A: Women Leaders bring together exceptional women dedicated to ending poverty through housing, education and jobs. Members have unique opportunities to connect with other influential women, to develop professionally and make direct community impacts. Women Leaders give $2,500 or more to United Way’s Creating Pathways out of Poverty plan per year.

Q: What is the Tocqueville Society?

A: The Tocqueville Society has been at the forefront of L.A.’s philanthropic community for over 20 years. This exclusive group is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by investing in long-term solutions. Tocqueville members donate $10,000 annually and enjoy special benefits including an invitation to our Tocqueville Society gala and networking events such as seminars on current affairs.

Please note that there is a special cost recovery charge at the Tocqueville level; if you designate more than $5,000 of your gift to specific charities, there will be a $500 cost recovery charge for administrative services, but if you leave at least $5,000 to the Creating Pathways Out of Poverty Plan there is no processing or designation fee.