Frequently Asked Questions

Who actually runs the United Way of Deschutes County?
Volunteers. The United Way of Deschutes County is independent and is governed by its own thirty-five member volunteer board of directors. Additional volunteers are responsible for the fundraising campaign, the allocations process and Days of Caring—our annual helping-hands event.

Why is the United Way the best way to give?
Giving through the United Way of Deschutes County is a convenient way to help people who really need help in our community and the Corporate Cornerstone program ensures more of every dollar you give will go directly to where it’s needed most. If you are giving via a payroll deduction plan, you support community programs and services on a regular basis without having to provide funds all at once. And the money raised stays right here in Deschutes County. The United Way of Deschutes County also provides results—so you can see your money at work. And you can rest assured that volunteers have invested time and effort in the process of making sure the United Way is doing the best job they can for the one-in-three who will seek help in Deschutes County.

What percent of contributions goes to the agencies funded by the United Way of Deschutes County?
The United Way of Deschutes County strives to keep administrative and fundraising costs as low as possible...around 20 percent. Thanks to our Corporate Cornerstone program, through which community minded partners direct their annual gift toward administrative expenses, more of individual contributions go directly to funding agency programs and services, currently 90%.

How many partner agencies does the United Way of Deschutes County fund and what is the focus?
The United Way of Deschutes County currently funds 20 partner agencies. These agencies focus on strenghening our community by providing prevention and development services and providing a community safety net by providing basic needs and crisis services.

What standards must partner agencies of the United Way of Deschutes County comply with in order to receive funding?
Each organization receiving funds from the United Way of Deschutes County must be a verifiable non-profit organization with a volunteer governing body; each must have its finances audited annually, provide a needed service at a reasonable cost, and have a policy of nondiscrimination, among other qualifications.

Who decides where the money goes once it is raised?
Volunteers—people like you—decide how much is distributed to each agency. A Request for Proposal Grant process is in place allowing any 
501(C)(3) tax exempt non-profit organization providing service in our region to apply for funds. The Community Impact Committee is responsible for the review of each agencies proposal. The Committee is comprised of volunteers representing all segments of our community; they work together to measure results, procedures, budgets and finances. The allocation of contributions to the United Way is a continuing review process to ensure that every dollar is spent wisely.

Can I choose a specific agency (ies) to receive my contribution?
Yes. Any 501(C)(3) non-profit organization can be designated. In addition to give to the cause you are passionate about, we encourage you to designate a portion to the Community Impact Fund—these dollars go to where they will make the most urgent impact in the community.

Besides raising funds, what activities does the United Way of Deschutes County engage in?
Research and assessment of community problems and needs; identification of emerging needs and promotion of new programs are all important to us. We also work behind the scenes to coordinate services and bring groups and resources together to find long-term solutions to issues affecting our community. We provide management and technical assistance to agencies.  We sponsor the Central Oregon 2-1-1 helpline and Tax-Aide a tax preparation assistance program for low income households. United Way is also serving as the backbone organization for the TRACEs initiative.  The TRACEs (Trauma, Resilience, and Adverse Childhood Experiences) project is a community wide initiative with the goal of dramatically improving the health and well-being of our community by addressing the issue of trauma, childhood trauma, and toxic stress, problems that we believe lie at the root of our region's most complex health issues.


Tell me more about Central Oregon 2-1-1.
2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects people to important community services and volunteer opportunities. This is the first number to call when you look for help; the service is free, confidential and available throughout Central Oregon. You can search for services online too!