Frequently Asked Questions

United Way of Southwest Alabama / Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is United Way?

United Way is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) agency that brings people and communities together to advance the common good. We partner with local nonprofits, businesses, government and social service agencies to address our community’s most pressing needs.

Our mission is to improve the quality of life in the community. Our vision is to strengthen communities by focusing on uniting and mobilizing resources in support of the building blocks for a better life: education, health, financial stability, and essentials.

Are United Way partner programs just for the poor?

Contributed dollars are allocated where they will provide a better life for everyone. Programs are aimed at helping all people, although some may be restricted by income or other criteria.

What are the advantages of giving through United Way?

Giving to United Way is an easy, effective, efficient means to meet your charitable goals. United Way is in the business of advancing the common good by focusing on the basics we all need for a good life. No other organizations provide sustainable funding to support a block of health and human service partners. United Way is the collective power of people working toward long-term solutions that improve lives and community conditions.

How can people make donations to UWSWA?

Donating through payroll deduction at your workplace is one of the easiest ways to give. A pledge can also be made directly United Way of Southwest Alabama by calling 251-433-3624. United Way of Southwest Alabama also accepts contributions in the form of willed bequests or planned gifts. Donors should contact their financial advisor for details.

Can I designate my gift?

Yes. Donors may designate all or a portion of their gift to one of the four building blocks, partner programs, or another United Way. Partners are encouraged to acknowledge designated gifts when possible. When a contribution is designated, the gift is limited to help only the agencies and programs receiving that designation, instead of all the programs and/or Community Impact issues that United Way supports.

An undesignated gift takes advantage of United Way’s thorough, research-based program selection that gets the money to the issues and areas that need it most. This allows you to help the most people and do the most good for our entire community.

Does my contribution leave the community?

Dollars raised for the general United Way campaign stay in the counties served by UWSWA to benefit our community. Currently, UWSWA serves Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile, and Washington counties.

The only funds that leave our community are those designated to other United Ways and one percent of the dollars raised that goes toward United Way national/state dues. Funds raised through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and the Alabama State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (ASECC) are dedicated to designated local, state, national, and international agencies.

Who decides how funds are distributed?

A team of more than 40 volunteers, representing all areas of our community, ensure partners meet strict accountability standards and review applications for funding.

After selection, these programs are rigorously monitored to ensure they produce positive, measurable results. Every two years, all of our programs go through an open and competitive review process to ensure that the most effective programs in our community are receiving support.

What are the benefits of giving to United Way?

You’ve probably been helped by a United way funded program without even knowing it because we support such a wide variety of organizations. Your gift ensures that services like emergency shelter or disaster assistance will be available if you ever need them. Many people give because there are a number of people in our community who are unable to afford the help they need.

Where can I go for help?

United Way 2-1-1 can connect you to local community resources – from job training programs and childcare to counseling services and financial assistance. Staffed by trained professionals, this free, confidential help line is available 24-7.

Just dial 2-1-1 from any land line. Cell phone users can call 1-888-421-1266. This service is also available online.

United Way 101

  • United Way of Southwest Alabama fights for the health, education, financial stability, and access to life’s basic essentials for every person in every community we serve.
  • We serve Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile, and Washington counties
  • More than 500,000 individuals are helped by United Way and our partner agencies each year
  • We partner with 45 local nonprofit agencies and fund more than 96 programs that best align with our communities’ most critical needs and have the highest performance outcomes to propel us to our goal of a better community for everyone

Need Help?

Since its creation in 2007, United Way’s 2-1-1 Help Line has been the nation’s premier referral resource for people who are seeking health and human services information.

Locally, through a UWSWA partnership with Lifelines Counseling Services, trained and caring call specialists provide direct access to free and confidential referrals to community services for individuals seeking assistance.

2-1-1 OR
TOLL FREE 1-888-421-1266