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. The scope of our work has changed in the past few years from a 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, Financial Stability and Health, using 4 Key Strategies:

  • We provide funding to nonprofit programs impacting the education, financial stability, and health within our community. Last year we provided nearly 2 million dollars in funding for area programs. 
  • We anchor support for middle school students, their families, and communities through Community Schools. With our partners, we are building hubs of support in four communities at Enka, Erwin, Owen and Asheville Middle Schools.
  • We connect people to the health and human services they need through NC 2-1-1. This is a free service, for speakers of all languages, and is available 24/7/365.
  • We mobilize the power of volunteers to support the efforts of our local nonprofit community and our own initiatives through Hands On Asheville-Buncombe.

By bringing together local partner agencies, nonprofits, area businesses, government, and volunteers to focus on key issues, we are well positioned to make lasting change. Together we can realize a vision of making our community a stronger, more equitable place to live for all.

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I only give locally. 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. 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 support the local nonprofits you find valuable in as many ways as you're able and comfortable as well as our organization.

When you give to United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County:

  • You are helping fund grants to local nonprofit programs
  • You are supporting middle school youth, their families and community through Community Schools
  • You are connecting people in crisis to the health and human resources they need through our 24/7 information and referral line  NC 2-1-1
  • You are mobilizing the power of volunteers to improve conditions for our community through Hands On Asheville-Buncombe

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Who decides where the money goes?

We follow individual donor requests at the time your gift is made. Our staff, subject-matter experts, and agency representatives work together to identify and meet community needs. Donors gifts are then vested in the areas of education, financial stability, 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 nonprofits 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 the 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 agencies.

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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 hundreds of 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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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 our Campaign Director Kevin Montgomery at (828) 239-1047. The call will remain confidential. We will happily and discreetly return the 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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