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FAQ

Q: Why should I give to United Way when I don’t want any of my money going to one of its member agencies?
A: No problem. You may exclude any or as many specific agencies as you wish when you fill out your pledge card (it’s called “negative designation”). Likewise, you may designate some or all of your contribution to one or more specific agencies (“positive designation”). You can even designate part or all of your contribution to any health and human service agency—whether it is a United Way member agency or not.
Q: Why should I give to United Way when it will take some of my donation for administrative costs?
A: The United Way of Tompkins County’s administrative costs are, in fact, very low compared with many nonprofits. Because Cornell is a Cornerstone Contributor, 100 percent of the funds raised by the Tompkins County campaign are put to work locally*. Plus, member agencies are spared the extraordinary expense of creating fund-raising structures and staffs within their organizations.
Q: None of these agencies helps my family or me, so why should I support them?
A: No family or individual in Tompkins County is totally untouched by the work of United Way member agencies. Many of us benefit directly—and all indirectly. Our agencies promote self-sufficiency, education, youth development; they support children and families, senior citizens, and health and wellness. Also, many people, at some point in their lives, are unable to help themselves and they need our helping hand. Even though you or your family may not be clients of a particular agency, you can be sure someone where you work or someone where your children go to school or play is served by an agency, thereby enriching your life as well.
Q: I live in another county. Shouldn’t I just give my charitable contributions in my own county?
A: Your interest in helping people in your home community is appreciated. United Way has an arrangement with United Way agencies in surrounding counties. If you want your money sent to another area, just indicate your wishes on your pledge card and the United Way you designate will receive it. If you donate through payroll deduction, note that your pay stub will indicate that “UW Tompkins” is the recipient; however, the donations are sent to the county you specified on your donation form.
Q: Can I still contribute to the Boy Scouts of America, Baden-Powell Council?
A: Yes, even though the Baden-Powell Council is not a member organization, you may direct your donation specifically to this agency (or several other agencies) as you wish.
Q: Why should I give to the United Way when your member agencies charge fees?
A: Even though United Way raises a great amount of money, it never could raise enough to fully support all services for all people. Wouldn’t you want to pay for services if you could? That’s why those who can afford to pay for all or part of the services are asked to do so according to their ability.
Q: How will my donation to United Way be reported for income tax purposes?
A: Based on IRS Regulations, donors who make a one-time gift of $250.00 or more (either by cash, check, or credit card), or who give a gift of stock (any amount), will receive a letter from United Way Tompkins County regarding that gift for tax purposes. For gifts less than $250.00, donors should use their cancelled check or payroll stub as verification for tax purposes.
Q: Why does Cornell support United Way in lieu of other charitable organizations in Tompkins County?
A: This decision was in an effort to support the funding needs from as many of the local non-profit agencies that support members of the Cornell community and their families as practicable and to permit employees to make individual donations in an economical and efficient manner. The University has also chosen to support the United Way with a Cornerstone donation because of the importance of these United Way agency services to members of the Cornell community and wanting our employee dollars to go for services rather than the administrative costs of the United Way.
Q: Why doesn’t Cornell offer giving options to national and international causes?
A: It has the potential to pull away from local agencies. The United Way is one of the few organizations that targets employee campaigns in large measure because so many employees of local organizations take advantage of the services provided by the member agencies. There are few other umbrella groups that structure this mission.
Q: What’s the difference between a “Partner” and an “Affiliate”?
A: Partner Organizations are eligible for the UWTC Community Care Fund donations and the Shipherd Flexible Fund, in addition to other grants including funding from our Youth & Philanthropy Programs on a competitive basis. The organizations participate in a reqular financial and programmatic review by a team of community volunteers and agree to adhere and comply with all of United Way of Tompkins County’s policies and procedures. Affiliate Organizations can access the Shipherd Flexible Fund on a competitive basis along with other grants, including funding from our Youth and Philanthropy Programs. These agencies take part in an initial audit, site visit, and submit annual reports to United Way. Affiliate organizations agree to adhere and comply with all of United Way of Tompkins County’s policies and procedures.

*100% of your gift to United Way of Tompkins County’s Community Care Fund, two targeted impact areas of care, forty-three member organizations, special initiatives, or another United Way, will go directly to benefit those programs and services. All other designations are charged a nominal processing fee by United Way of Tompkins County, not to exceed 2% of the total gift amount.

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