United Way and social media myths


SIDNEY — Annually this time of year, social medial posts are shared with inaccurate and false information on why a donor should or should not support a particular organization.

“There are many “Fake News” claims that we will address,” said Scott Barr, Shelby County United Way executive director.

Myth 1: United Way is an international organization with no local control or oversight. This is blatantly inaccurate. There are just under 1,800 local United Way organizations in the word with 1,200 in the United States. Each organization is their own local 501 c 3 organization with a local board of directors. Each independent organization sets their own budget, identifies and implements new community wide initiatives, and funds local organizations driving impact in their communities.

Myth 2: Only a low percent of the money raised locally stays in the community. Again, this is a completely false statement. 99 percent of all dollars stay in the community where raised. One percent goes to United Way Worldwide for brand licensing and ongoing support and best practices. Local agencies are awarded monies annually and receive quarterly allocations throughout the year. Just last week a quarterly allocation of $238,249.50 was direct deposited to 28 different local agencies. Additionally, small grants are awarded monthly based on submissions and eligibility to local applicants. Our IRS 990 is on our website and Schedule I lists all local recipients and the amount they were funded.

Myth 3: Shelby County United Way funds Planned Parenthood. Again, this is completely false. Shelby County United Way has never funded Planned Parenthood. We fund local organizations delivering impact for Shelby County residents. We live in a conservative community and our board of directors properly reflect the community. We fund the best organizations and hold them accountable for the funds they receive, from local nonprofit organizations and the library, to faith based organizations and law enforcement. Our programming is local and impactful. Last year, ten faith based organizations in Shelby County were awarded over $391,000.

FACT: Shelby County United Way monies stay local, 99 percent. We partner with companies and donors for impact in our community. We create volunteer opportunities with our partner agencies and through our initiatives to further support positive change. We follow best in class standards on how the organization operates, including having a local board WITH term limits, have a change in board officers annually, having an audit completed by a local firm annually, and rated as a high performing organization by Charity Navigator (Visit charitynavigator.org and search Shelby County United Way). Over the past two years the board has reduced the operating budget by nine percent so more dollars can be invested into the community. For 61 years, the Shelby County United Way has made a difference locally in the lives of our residents. Don’t believe the social media hype. Stop by, visit www.shelbycountyunitedway.org or call 937-492-2101 for the facts.

Through the fourth week, the campaign totals are $313,144. Donors can make payroll contributions with participating employers or make a one time or reoccurring donation by visiting www.shelbycountyunitedway.org or text SHELBY to 40403. Checks can be made payable to Shelby County United Way and mailed to P.O. Box 751, Sidney.

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