Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is United Way?
  2. Who does United Way help?
  3. Where does United Way make an impact?
  4. How long has United Way been in Omaha?
  5. How does United Way help?
  6. What programs does United Way fund?
  7. What makes United Way unique?
  8. How is United Way of the Midlands connected to other United Ways?
  9. How can I donate?
  10. How can I start a campaign in my workplace?
  11. Can I have an electronic campaign at my company?
  12. What is leadership giving?
  13. Can I designate my gift?
  14. Who can I designate my gift to?
  15. Does United Way have a foundation?
  16. What is United Way’s overhead rate?
  17. How can I get help now?
  18. How are United Way and 2-1-1 connected?
  19. How can I volunteer with United Way?
  20. What is Day of Caring?
  21. Is United Way on social media?
  22. I have more questions…

 

What is United Way?

With deep local roots in community service, United Way of the Midlands has served the Omaha-Council Bluff community for over 94 years. Working on behalf of thousands of donors, UWM's focus is to serve those living in poverty-helping people improve their lives and move toward financial stability. We invest in programs that demonstrate national evidence-based best practices in the following areas:

  • Food Security
  • Health and mental health services
  • Safe and stable housing
  • Domestic violence and sexual assault services
  • Educational supports that reinforce and enhance academic and social/emotional learning
  • Programs that help people get and keep stable jobs

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Who does United Way help?

United Way of the Midlands helps the most vulnerable members of our community – individuals living in or at risk of poverty. In our metro, there are over 107,000 people living in poverty – that means for a family of four they are living on less than $25,000 annually.

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Where does United Way make an impact?

United Way funded programs operate in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro. All Community Care Fund dollars stay in our community, helping our neighbors fulfill their needs to lead healthy, independent lives. Our 2-1-1 Call Center impacts the whole state of Nebraska and eight counties in southwest Iowa.

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How long has United Way been in Omaha?

Originally called the Omaha Community Chest, the first campaign was held in 1923. Over the years, our name has changed but we have continued to work alongside the Omaha-Council Bluffs community to ensure our most vulnerable neighbors have services available to help in times of need. Read more about our history.

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How does United Way help?

United Way connects the nonprofit, business and public sectors to strengthen our community.

  • We identify community needs, service gaps and opportunities to improve life in our region.
  • We inspire individuals and organizations to give their time and finances to support these needs.
  • We convene organizations with related programs to facilitate collaboration and information sharing – ultimately strengthening the network of services available to community members.
  • We invest in a broad variety of effective community programs, and monitor their progress over time.

We research promising practices, measure program performance, and share our learnings.

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What programs does United Way fund?

The Community Investment Review Team (CIRT) Process, and UWM’s role as funder, remains the key channel through which we address poverty. UWM’s community impact team of subject matter experts, along with our analytics and performance team facilitate this volunteer-led effort.

CIRT volunteers evaluate proposals for impact, efficiencies, collaboration and other factors. Their discernment resulted in a 2016-2018 investment portfolio that maintains a broad community-wide view and recognizes that challenges are interconnected.

UWM serves the most vulnerable members of our community with continued, multi-year support in the following areas:

•             Food Security and Supports

•             Safety, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Supports

•             Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing

•             Health Care and Mental Health Access

•             Academic Interventions, Mentoring, Out of School Time

•             Employment Skills Development and Training to Foster Income Stability

For a full list of funded programs, click here.

United Way of the Midlands offers direct services such as the 2-1-1 Information and Referral phone line. Community Health Charities of Nebraska is a campaign contract partner, with 18 member health agencies.

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What makes United Way unique?

As a community-wide organization, United Way leverage its unique attributes to serve as a funder, educator, data aggregator, innovator, and convener.

  • United Way inspires neighbors to help neighbors. Donors and volunteers are drawn to the collective spirit of United Way, and the belief that we all have a stake in strengthening our community.
  • United Way leverages its analytics and performance measurement capability to ensure dollars are invested wisely and the expected results of that investment are achieved. In a dynamic landscape, we remain the most effective organization to mobilize the caring power in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area.

United Way has embedded knowledge that allows us to see opportunities and needs, and then mobilize people and resources to improve collaboration and reduce duplication. The community depends on UWM to remain aligned with community needs, responsive to feedback and engaged across sectors. We listen to the community, share insights and enhance our collective understanding of community needs. 

Continue to our website to read more about the funding process.

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How is United Way of the Midlands connected to other United Ways?

United Ways across the country are locally-governed by a Board of Directors in their service areas and set their own policies.

Because United Way organizations have a community-wide perspective, UWM connects with United Way organizations around the country to share learnings, experiences and insights. United Way Worldwide often facilitates information sharing and aggregates data from the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways around the world. UWW is an international service association created to serve independent, local United Ways by providing necessary services such as training for staff and volunteers, national publicity, campaign materials and program and service data. United Way Worldwide does not set policy for United Way of the Midlands or any of the other locally-governed United Ways across the country. Read more about United Way Worldwide.

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How can I donate?

Donors can make online gifts through our online pledging system (click here to donate now). Many donors also give through a workplace campaign, either through a paper pledge card or electronically through our online or texting platforms. Click here to browse our Ways to Give section.

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How can I start a campaign in my workplace?

We’re happy to work with you and have a variety of flexible options for you to share your enthusiasm for United Way and promote philanthropic giving in your workplace – thank you for being a champion for our community!

First, contact a member of our campaign department to get started. You’ll find their contact info here. Next, you’ll want to gather pledge cards, posters, and other promotional materials. You’ll find these materials (and more) at our Campaign HQ. Click here to browse the Campaign HQ section.

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Can I have an electronic campaign at my company?

Yes, United Way of the Midlands operates local and national campaigns on electronic pledging systems. For more information on starting an electronic campaign, contact the Director of Donor Engagement at (402) 522-7906.

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What is leadership giving?

United Way’s leadership giving programs recognize local donors who have given $1,000 per year or more. The Bridgebuilder Society recognizes donors with yearly gifts of $1,000 - $9,999 and the Tocqueville Society recognizes yearly gifts of $10,000 or more. United Way of the Midlands is proud to recognize over 2,900 Bridebuilder Society members and over 250 Tocqueville Society members each year. Read more.

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Can I designate my gift?

Yes, United Way donors can designate to an agency of their choice outside of the United Way of the Midlands Community Care Fund. When a donor designates a gift to a specific United Way agency, those dollars will be distributed and reported separately from the amount allocated annually through the United Way of the Midlands Community Care Fund. Click here to read the 2016 Designation Guidelines.

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Who can I designate my gift to?

Yes, United Way donors can designate to an agency of their choice outside of the United Way of the Midlands Community Care Fund. When a donor designates a gift to a specific United Way agency, those dollars will be distributed and reported separately from the amount allocated annually through the United Way of the Midlands Community Care Fund. Click here to read the 2016 Designation Guidelines.

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Does United Way have a foundation?

No, the United Way of the Midlands Foundation was formed in 2003 to provide the flexibility and future capacity required to allow United Way of the Midlands to continue addressing the changing human care needs in our community. The endowment has grown from under $3 million in 2008 to nearly $7 million today, with over $3 million in confirmed expectancies. Read more about the Foundation.

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What is United Way’s overhead rate?

United Way maximizes the value of your contribution by keeping costs at a minimum, so 88.4%* of your gift goes directly to the programs and services selected by community volunteers for investment. If you chose to designate your gift, 88.4% goes to the chosen organization. Read more about United Way’s financials.
*Updated September 2016

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How can I get help now?

If you’re in need of assistance, 2-1-1 is the one stop call when you’re looking for a particular service. If you're in need of food pantries, counseling, utility assistance, or other health and human services, talk to an information and referral specialist who has the community's most extensive human service database at their fingertips. 2-1-1 is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call is free and confidential. Read more about the help available.

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How are United Way and 2-1-1 connected?

United Way of the Midlands operates the 2-1-1 Call Center, providing information and referral services for the full state of Nebraska and eight counties in Iowa (Pottawattamie, Harrison, Mills, Shelby, Cass, Montgomery, Fremont and Page). United Way of the Midlands works alongside the Nebraska 2-1-1 Coalition to ensure this service is available to all Nebraskans. The coalition includes the State of Nebraska, the Nebraska Public Service Commission, Nebraska's United Way organizations, University of Nebraska's Public Policy Center, regional and county health departments, and others. Read more about 2-1-1.

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How can I volunteer with United Way?

United Way of the Midlands works with local nonprofits to identify meaningful volunteer opportunities for a variety of interests and time commitments. Projects range from a one-time hourly project, such as painting a house or clerical work, to a continuous commitment, such as mentoring or tutoring. Click here to browse all available volunteer opportunities.

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What is Day of Caring?

Day of Caring is an annual day of volunteerism, pairing hundreds of volunteers with dozens of project in the Omaha metro area. This special day of service was created in 2001 to promote the spirit and value of volunteerism in the Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie County area. Click here for more information on Day of Caring.

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Is United Way on social media?

United Way is on Facebook and Twitter, and we’d love for you to follow us!
Facebook: www.facebook.com/unitedwaymidlands
Twitter: www.twitter.com/unitedwayomaha

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I have more questions…

If you have more questions, email communitystrong@uwmidlands.org or call our main number at 402.342.8232 to be connected to someone who can provide an answer.

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