Every day, United Way of Central Carolinas harnesses the power of collective giving to fight against the community’s most daunting social challenges and support children, families and neighbors in need.


By giving to United Way, you help foster effective programs and initiatives that improve the lives of people across the Charlotte region. Learn more about what we do and the impact of your donation with answers to these frequently asked questions about United Way.






What does United Way do?


Through a unique position at the center of the nonprofit, government, philanthropic and business communities, we engage nearly 400,000 people each year to help create change. We provide opportunities for individuals to contribute their personal passions, best ideas and unique strengths to innovative work that will leave a lasting mark on people’s lives.


We also act as a convener, facilitator and advocate in the community – whether that be through affordable housing conversations, the county’s early childhood initiative, working with local shelter partners or utilizing NC 2-1-1 as an entry point for homeless individuals and families.



How is United Way different from other nonprofits?


United Way of Central Carolinas knows how to drive lasting change. With more than 85 years of experience, we are strategic community leaders who have in-depth knowledge of the communities we serve, the challenges that affect them and the organizations having the most impact.


We bring the right parties together from across the region and within neighborhoods to address the big challenges facing individuals, families and communities.



What is economic mobility and why is it so important?


Every member of our community deserves the chance to achieve their potential, but the hard truth is that children born in poverty in our region have virtually no chance of escaping it.


Just a few years ago, Charlotte-Mecklenburg was ranked 50th out of 50 among the largest U.S. cities in economic mobility. As a leader in the health and human services system, we evolved our strategy to change the odds for children and families across our region.



Why should I donate to United Way?


By allowing United Way of Central Carolinas to put your donation to work supporting proven programs in communities of need, you’re helping improve lives for individuals and families. Donating to (not through) United Way supports coordinated action and lasting solutions.



Where does my money go?


Based on both community need and significant research, investments are made across our five-county region (Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Anson, Mooresville-Lake Norman area) in these service categories:




*Financial Stability

*Basic Needs



Does my money stay local?


Yes, it absolutely does! When you make a donation to United Way of Central Carolinas, it goes to support 100 agencies that work across our five-county footprint.



Can I give to another charity with my United Way donation?


A designated gift to a 501(c)3 organization or another United Way is optional but must be a minimum of $250. Gifts designated to other agencies are not monitored by United Way and require a deduction of administrative fees, where applicable.



Why should I give to United Way instead of giving directly to organizations I am passionate about?


We believe in collective giving for collective impact. Working with our network of more than 100 partners across a five-county region, we have the scale to drive impact because we do what no one agency can do alone, which is get donors’ dollars where they are needed most.


Our partnerships and collaborations allow us to take on big challenges such as early childhood education, mental health services, access to medical care and financial stability.



What is United Way’s overhead rate?


United Way of Central Carolinas’ overhead rate is 17%. This is competitive with the top 100 nonprofits in the U.S. and is well below the industry standard and recommendations from the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator. United Way keeps a close eye on expenses, while making sure we have the talent, expertise and systems to raise and invest resources for maximum impact.


Learn more about our strategy and how you can join us to Live United.