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Frequently Asked Questions

Char-Em United Way Frequently Asked Questions

What is Char-Em United Way?

Char-Em United Way is a local, nonprofit organization that focuses resources to solve the most critical human needs in our community.  It has been a proven partner in Charlevoix and Emmet Counties for nearly 70  years.

Who runs Char-Em United Way?

It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  Local volunteers oversee every aspect of the organization.  The Board monitors United Way’s operation and requires that it run in accordance with fiscally sound and accepted practices.  United Way’s accountability ensures that funds are prudently managed.  An annual financial audit is conducted by an outside CPA firm. 

What requirements must United Way funded partner agencies meet?

  • Non-profit health or human service agency serving Charlevoix or Emmet County.
  • Document cost-effective delivery of high-priority programs and services.
  • Demonstrate sound financial and administrative management practices.
  • Comply with all applicable laws.
  • Demonstrate impact through measurable outcomes - in other words, get results.

What is this year’s Campaign Goal?

$425,000. The Frey Foundation has offered to match new and increased gifts totalling $30,000.

Where does the money go? What is United Way’s overhead?

What’s Raised Here, Stays Here - 98.5% stays in our community.  This year, we are investing over $288,000 in local agencies.  Other funds support our initiatives — Education Support, Imagination Library, Literacy Corps, Volunteer Connections, Day of Caring, Benefits Access, 2-1-1 and more. Administrative and fundraising costs are less than 15% of our budget. 

Why should I give if I haven’t been helped?

A growing number of our most vulnerable residents - abused women and children, our elderly, homeless families, those with handicaps and mentally ill - cannot help themselves.  There is a great need in our community for the services offered by the United Way partner agencies.  You never know when a family member, neighbor, friend or even you may need the services provided by a United Way partner agency. 

If I designate to a specific agency, do they really get the money?

Yes, we pass on designated gifts. Our Funded Partners receive the full designation, less an allowance for pledge loss.  Non-partner agencies are charged a modest fee for fundraising and processing expense, based on actual costs.  However, we discourage donors from designating. We want to give our Citizen Review Panels the greatest flexibility in making investments which best meet community needs.

What is Char-Em United Way’s relationship with United Way Worldwide?

Like approximately 1,200 local United Ways across the country, our local United Way is separately incorporated and is locally governed. United Way supports United Way Worldwide through membership investments of 1% of donations. In return, Char-Em United Way receives national services that include staff training, community research information, campaign products, advertising and consultation.

What is the difference between a United Way and a United Fund?

United Fund is a group of people raising funds for local organizations, but do not have the same strict standards as a United Way.  It isn’t a member of United Way Worldwide.

How will my personal information be used?

United Way collects donor information so we can appropriately thank and recognize donors. Any donor wishing to remain anonymous can indicate this on our pledge form. All requests for confidentiality are honored and no personal information is ever shared with any outside entity.