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Frequently Asked Questions

United Way’s mission is to unite organizations and individuals to make our community a better place to live by:

  • Identifying the needs of our families, children and disadvantaged
  • Encouraging the community’s participation in not-for-profit responses
  • Stimulating the community’s financial generosity
  • Acknowledging the efforts and accomplishments of our community
  • Evaluating the results of our efforts

What does United Way do?

United Way of Illinois Valley is a volunteer-led organization that invests in critical health and human service programs, coordinates community initiatives to improve lives and strengthen communities. In other words, United Way is a community-in-action organization. From completing community assessments to launching special initiatives, from mobilizing resources to funding programs, United Way addresses the most pressing human care issues facing each community we serve and invests in our community to create lasting change. At United Way, we identify needs through our community assessment, working closely with community leaders, health and human service experts, and volunteers. And generally only have $1 for every $2 of request, we prioritize where the needs are the greatest. Then we find and support the programs that best address those critical needs or coordinate the services that will. Investing in United Way helps more than one person, one issue, or one charity. Your support builds communities that help people survive.

Where does my money go?

Your contribution to United Way, combined with those of other individuals throughout our community, is invested right here in the Illinois Valley supporting programs and initiatives that – help people in crisis: by providing emergency support to individuals and families in need of short term assistance, food and shelter. When there is an emergency in the Illinois Valley, a United Way funded agency is there to meet the needs of those facing personal and family disasters. Give kids the opportunity to grow, learn, and succeed: through early childhood education, foster care, and youth engagement programs, from after school activities to tutoring ad personal development projects. United Way helps to keep kids safe, healthy, and ready to learn, on their way to graduation, avoiding gangs, drugs and other at risk behavior. Enable a self sufficient lifestyle for individuals and families: providing people with the tools they need to attain and maintain independence-things like specialized job training, substance abuse counseling, programs to help with mental and physical illness and programs for the weak, elderly and disabled. United Way funds and coordinates a broad range of health and human service programs and initiatives that make an impact than no one person or program could possible deliver alone.

Who makes the decisions on how United Way funding is distributed?

Dedicated community volunteers who serve on the committees that represent the various aspects of United Way community research and activities make funding decisions that are approved by the United Way of Illinois Valley’s, all-volunteer, Board of Directors. To make these decisions, it takes many hours and careful deliberation among our Community Investment volunteers. Conducted by an average of 30 volunteers who want to make a lasting, positive difference through out the Illinois Valley, the process includes:
Community Assessment-identifying community issues, prioritizing critical health and human service needs in each community throughout the Illinois Valley;
Community Investment-evaluating the critical human service priorities and determining coordinated funding strategies that address the needs of the community to create positive change;
Program Evaluation-conducting annual program reviews to ensure financial integrity and program effectiveness;
Community Outreach- building awareness of effective programs and working with community partners to leverage success and broad scale initiatives.

Can I designate my donations to a specific agency?

You can give to United Way or through United Way. Give to United Way and you are investing in the programs and initiatives that improve lives and build a stronger community. Your donation along with that of hundreds of other United Way donors, supports community programs that create sustained, measurable changes that cannot be achieved by one organization alone. A donation to United Way has the power to create real change in the community. It is the most effective and efficient manner for people to give back to their communities because you help more than one person, one charity, or one issue…you strengthen a community.

What kind of tax documents or receipts for my charitable contributions can I expect from United Way?

If you give a one time gift of $250 or ore, you will receive a tax destructibility statement directly from United Way. According to the IRS, this statement is required for payroll deduction gifts. Your year-end pay check states your gift total.

Why is United Way the most effective way to give back to the community?

United Way plays a unique role in the community which cannot be duplicated by any other human service player. United Way ensures financial integrity of each partner agency and tracks the progress of each program investment to ensure effective and efficient service delivery. With this knowledge and our relationships with key community leaders, corporations, donors, and volunteers, we can assemble all the key players to address pressing health and human service issues and coordinate community initiatives to create workable solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities.

Why United Way?

United Way recognizes that you have many options when deciding where to direct your charitable donations. However, if you are interested in making a positive lasting impact on the community where you live and work, then there is no better choice than United Way. Through knowledge of community needs and relationships with corporations and community leaders, and health and human service experts, United Way coordinates efforts and invests resources where they are needed most to create lasting change right here in the Illinois Valley. Your contribution, magnified by the gifts of others will help to build safer, better and healthier communities throughout the region.

Finding Help

When you are in a difficult situation, asking for help can sometimes feel very overwhelming. That is why at the United Way we not only partner with many local agencies, but we also help to provide guidance to those who are in need of resources.

Get Involved

United Way of the Illinois Valley offers a number of volunteer opportunities.  A great way to get started is by meeting our board and learning about who we are as a group!


Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of what it means to live united and advance the common good. To achieve our vision of building a stronger, more equitable Illinois Valley region, we must be a diverse and inclusive organization, committed to working against racism and toward racial equity in everything we do.