Frequently Asked Questions

What Is United Way?

United Way of the Virginia Peninsula is a nonprofit that partners with local nonprofits, businesses, donors, and social service agencies to address our community’s most pressing needs. 

Why is there a United Way?

For more than 90 years, United Way has been uniquely positioned to respond to our community's most pressing needs. When someone faces a hardship, it usually takes the expertise of multiple agencies to find them the help they need - no one person or organization alone can solve the complex issues related to poverty. This is where United Way comes in - to bridge those resources, and find solutions to solve the entire issue. United Way's Community Assistance Network (CAN) provides ONE central advocacy and referral service for households in need across the Virginia Peninsula community.  

What is Community Impact?

Community Impact staff and volunteers evaluate our community's most pressing needs, and direct resources to the nonprofit organizations that have the most effective programs and services that lift our neighbors in need out of poverty. Everyone deserves opportunities to have a good life: a quality EDUCATION that leads to a stable job, enough FINANCIAL STABILITY to support yourself or your family, and good HEALTH. Community Impact is a cost-effective way to invest in a board range of services with a single contribution. United Way annually evaluates Community Impact funded partner agencies to monitor the effectiveness of their programs, track results, and identify ways to improve efficiency. 

Why let United Way invest my donation?

By allowing United Way to invest your donation, you are ensuring that your gifts, combined with those of others, are going to address the most critical needs in the community. Our partner agencies are doing incredibly impactful and necessary work to lift people out of poverty, addressing issues such as homelessness, hunger, and financial insecurity. 

How much should I give?

Only you decide how much you give! Your contribution - no matter how big or small - improves the lives of our neighbors in need and supports our mission to end poverty in our community. If you give $150 or more, you will receive a SmartCard, which contains a variety of reusable discounts from local businesses whose owners recognize the generosity of United Way donors. For a list of participating businesses, visit: United Way also recognizes leadership giving beginning at $1,000. Information about our leadership giving societies is available on our website at:  

I don’t use any of the agencies’ programs, so why should I give through United Way?

1 in 4 residents across our community either have benefitted from or will receive assistance from at least one of our partner agencies. Poverty is an issue that touches all of us. While you may not have school-age children, we all win when a child succeeds in school, when at-risk families become self-sufficient, and when all our neighbors have good health. 

How do agencies receive their designations?

Designations to agencies are provided separately from Community Impact funds distributed through agency programs. Designations are sent to nonprofits on a quarterly basis after the campaign year has been closed. 

Doesn’t the government take care of these health and human service problems?

Human service delivery is a shared responsibility of both the public and nonprofit sectors. Recent public sector budget cuts and increasing costs for food, housing, and transportation are resulting in even more people needing assistance. As a result, your gift through United Way is increasingly important because it stays in the community to address local needs.

Why should I give to United Way when I already give to my favorite charity?

Many of us have a favorite charity where we volunteer and that we support financially. A gift through United Way recognizes problems experienced by individuals, families, and neighborhoods that are rarely one-dimensional. Complex problems require creative solutions which frequently involve the expertise of multiple nonprofit organizations. When you support United Way, you are supporting our network of partner agencies providing comprehensive solutions to the complex issues surrounding poverty. If there is a specific nonprofit organization/501(c)3 that is important to you however, you are welcome to designate some or all of your gift to the agency(s) of your choice.

Who pays for United Way’s special events?

Events held to thank and inspire volunteers and donors are paid for primarily by sponsorships or ticket sales. Any additional costs are generously covered by United Way of the Virginia Peninsula's Board of Directors.

What is the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula’s relationship with United Way Worldwide?

United Way of the Virginia Peninsula is separate, a local organization governed by a local, volunteer Board of Directors. United Way Worldwide is a service association to which local United Ways may belong. 

If I stop working, what happens to my pledge?

Should you stop working, your payroll deduction pledge stops, too. Your pledge through United Way is made in good faith based upon your employment. When you start a new job, if your employer offers donating through payroll deduction, ask how to opt in to continue giving via payroll. If payroll giving is not offered, recurring monthly, quarterly, or annual gifts can be made via credit card through our website at If you are retiring, your gift can still be recognized in your former employer's workplace campaign if you wish, when you give through Contact United Way to learn about other ways to continue giving and volunteering. 

How do I find information about services when I need help?

If you need help with food, shelter, rent, utilities or other basic needs, call UWVP’s Community Assistance Network (CAN) at (757) 229-2222. CAN consists of a collective network of frontline direct-service organizations, providing the critical programs and services our at-risk neighbors need to overcome the cycle of poverty. Through this network, United Way of the Virginia Peninsula employs advocates who provide resource navigation and referral services to residents of our community facing poverty related crises.

Why does United Way want to know my birth date and email address?

United Way of the Virginia Peninsula is taking steps to thank and inform people about the results of their contributions. We want to keep you informed of the good work your donation is doing. We ask for your birth date to verify eligibility in our Emerging Leaders Society membership group. All of your information is kept confidential. United Way of the Virginia Peninsula does not sell or give away any personal information to outside organizations.

What cities and counties are served by the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula?

Currently, we serve Gloucester, Hampton, James City County, Mathews, Newport News, New Kent County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County.

How can I get involved?

Please visit our 'Get Involved' tab or give our office a call (757) 229-2222. We have lots of opportunities to plug you in!