Frequently Asked Questions

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Invest with Confidence

Every day, people in Asheville and Buncombe County benefit from opportunities provided by our Community Investment Fund. Your gifts and investments create opportunities for those in our community that state and federal support alone cannot provide. However, the scope of our work has changed in the past few years from merely being a pass-through fundraising organization to one that makes real community impact so we realize you may have some questions. We hold our funded community partners responsible for high standards and we hope you will do the same for us.

You'll find the answers to common questions on this page. However, if you don't find what you're looking for, please fill out this online form or give us a call at (828) 255-0696.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What does United Way do?

United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is dedicated to uniting people, improving lives and strengthening our community. How do we do that? We connect people to ways they can give, advocate and volunteer. We anchor all our work around the issues of Education, Income and Health and use 4 key strategies to make change possible:

  • Education, Income and Health Grants to Nonprofit Programs. Last year we provided more that 2.4 million dollars in funding for area programs. 
  • Middle School Success - anchored support for middle school students, their families and their communities. With our partners, we are building hubs of suport in three pilot schools: Enka, Erwin and Asheville Middle.
  • NC 2-1-1 connects people to the health and human services they need. This is a free service, for speakers of all languages, and is available 24/7/365.
  • and finally we mobilize the power of volunteers to support the efforts of our local nonprofit community and our own initiatives.

We have the vision to make our community—one of the best places to live on the planet—a better place to live for ALL of its residents. By bringing together local partner agencies, nonprofits, area businesses, government, volunteers and experts to focus on key issues, we are well positioned to make lasting change.

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I only give local. Isn’t United Way a national organization?

United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is 100% local. In fact all United Ways across the United States are local organizations run by local volunteers and staff. For each of those 1,100 independent organizations, United Way Worldwide serves as a trade association. It is similar to a teachers association, plumbers association or medical association. United Way Worldwide provides us with training opportunities, research information and national advertising. For these services we pay them a membership fee. United Way Worldwide has no administrative control over United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, nor do we control what they do. We are NOT a local chapter of a national organization; we are an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit. United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County is, and has been since 1921, a local organization.

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Why should I give to United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County instead of directly to an agency of my choice?

Actually, we think you should do both. It is easy to make a gift to any nonprofit from their website. But for those that find it easier to use payroll deduction, we offer a convenient way for donors to designate a gift to a specific agency. Just remember, when you give directly to United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County's Community Investment Fund, you are supporting our four strategies: grants to more than 80 nonprofit programs, support for middle school youth, their families and community, connecting people in crisis to the health and human resources they need through our 24/7 information and referral line and mobilizing the power of volunteers to improve conditions for our community. Because of our position within the community, and the partnerships we've built over the years, we are able to accomplish things that others just can't do. When you just designate, you aren't fueling the true power of our organization.

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Who decides where the money goes?

People like you, right here in Buncombe County! More than 200 community volunteers, experts, and agency representatives, work together to identify community needs, reduce duplication of services, and close gaps in services as they invest donors’ gifts in the areas of education, income, and health in Buncombe County. For an overview of the process, see "How Funding Decisions are Made."

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Where is your agency list?

Every donor has the option to designate their gift to ANY 501(c)3 nongovernmental organization, whether based in Asheville and Buncombe County or halfway across the globe. Since you do not need a sanctioned list from us, creating one is unnecessary.

Donations to our Community Investment Fund go directly to funding our four strategies, including grants to other nonprofit programs here in Buncombe County. These funded partners go through an extensive application process and report their results each year, which are reviewed by experts in the fields of education, income and health. This process allows us to measure impact and ensure the greatest return on investment. Giving to the Community Investment Fund builds a stronger Asheville and Buncombe County. Click here to see a list of currently funded programs.

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Are volunteers at United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County paid?

No, our volunteers are donating their own time and energy to help with our events, campaigns and committees.

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Are United Way contributions tax-deductible?

Yes, if you itemize. However, there are certain limitations. Donors should consult with their financial advisor for details.

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Where can I volunteer?

You can start by visiting the volunteer section of our website. We have opportunities available for individuals and groups with local agencies and within United Way. Hands On Asheville-Buncombe is the volunteer center of United Way and lists more than 260 different opportunities each month in its database, which has a variety of filters to find a volunteer experience that matches your interests and schedule.

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How do designated donations affect funding levels?

Donor designated contributions have no effect on the amount of funding received by a participating organization through the allocation process. The allocation of funds to participating agencies is decided by a group of volunteers each year.

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Why doesn’t United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County fund organizations that help animals or the environment?

United Way raises and distributes funds to programs that help solve human problems in the areas of education, income and health. There are people in this community who are hungry, homeless, disabled, illiterate, battered and neglected. While we regret that there are animals who are also mistreated and environmental issues that need attention, these are not the focus of our mission. As a United Way donor, however, you can designate your gift to any 501(c)3 nongovernmental organization in the world.

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My boss coerced me into giving to United Way. What should I do?

We strongly urge employers to be sensitive to the highly personal nature of charitable giving. If you feel you are, or have been, a victim of coercive tactics to require you to give, please notify the campaign coordinator at your company or your supervisor. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your concerns at your company, please call David Baliey at (828) 236-3769. The call will remain confidential. We will happily and discreetly return money, speak with your company’s officers or take whatever steps necessary to ensure that coercion does not play a part in your company’s campaign.

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