What does United Way of Larimer County do?

United Way helps local children and families succeed in school, work, and life by tackling the source of community challenges and driving change that lasts.

We’re building a movement to change more lives and strengthen our community in three key ways:

Uniting people and organizations
Our community is full of people with a passion to help others and make things better. United Way brings together people and organizations from across Larimer County, including nonprofits, schools, businesses, government, community leaders, volunteers, and donors, to solve problems together. Together, we’re aligning scarce resources, sharpening strategies, and creating results that work better for everyone, especially children and families in need.

Helping children and families succeed
Every year, thousands of our Larimer County neighbors benefit from United Way’s innovative partnerships, including Be Ready, Kids on Track, and Working Families Thrive, and our life-changing programs, like 2-1-1, Colorado Reading Corps, and WomenGive. Together, we’re helping local children succeed in school, supporting families to become financially stable and self-sufficient, connecting people with food and shelter, and much more. By looking at the whole picture and addressing underlying causes, we are helping more of our neighbors create a future filled with promise and opportunity.

Empowering people to act
In Larimer County, we don’t sit on the sidelines while our fellow community members struggle. That’s why thousands of donors, advocates, and volunteers have already joined our movement to change lives and strengthen our community, and we’re growing stronger every day. There is something for everyone, including opportunities to donate, volunteer, or spread the word. Your support of United Way is an easy, reliable, and strategic way to make a difference, not just today but for years to come. No matter how big or small – your support makes a difference.

What does Live Larimer United mean?

LIVE LARIMER UNITED is our call to action for the entire community. It’s about working together to solve problems and strengthen our community. Together, we can achieve more than any single person or organization could do alone.

Thousands of our Larimer County neighbors have already joined our movement to change lives and cut poverty, and we’re growing stronger every day. There is something for everyone, including opportunities to donate, volunteer, and spread the word. Great things happen when we LIVE LARIMER UNITED.

Why Give to United Way of Larimer County?

Making a gift to United Way is the most effective way to help our whole community and create long-term, lasting change. We look at the whole picture of complex problems facing children and families impacted by poverty in Larimer County and tackle the source, not just the symptoms, of community challenges.

What if we catch kids before they fall behind? What if every young person had an equal shot at opportunity? What if every parent could build a better life for their children? That’s the future we envision for Larimer County.

We go beyond short-term solutions to create lasting change that helps people today and builds stronger foundations for tomorrow. The long-term effects of these efforts benefit all of us – from safer and healthier communities to a stronger workforce contributing to the local economy. When you support United Way, you are helping to ensure that each generation is better equipped than the last to seize the opportunities for tomorrow, and with your support, Larimer County remains a great place to live, work and play for years to come.

What If I Can't Afford to Give?

Every dollar makes a difference in supporting United Way’s vision for Larimer County. Even the smallest gift can make an impact when leveraged in conjunction with those of other community members.

United Way makes it easy to give – either via a one-time gift in the form of cash, check or credit card or a recurring gift through automatic bank withdrawal or payroll deduction. For more information about gift options, please click here. Remember, no gift is too small. A little bit goes a long way.

If you would prefer to further United Way’s mission with a donation of time, rather than dollars, please click here to find the right volunteer opportunity for you.

Why should I give to United Way instead of directly to an agency?

There are dozens of reputable nonprofit organizations in Larimer County doing great work in the community. In fact, United Way partners with more than 70 of them. What makes the work that we’re doing different is that we are working to address the complex and multi-faceted issues facing children and families today – at the source. We’re looking to address the root causes of poverty, and we’re uniting people and organizations across the county to accomplish this goal.

Your direct contribution to United Way’s Community Impact Fund will leverage your dollar to have the most impact and truly increase your power to change. However, United Way of Larimer County continues to honor donor choice, and every donor also has the option to designate their gift to a particular program or nonprofit organization.

What is the community impact fund?

Your gift to United Way of Larimer County’s Community Impact Fund supports the community-wide movement to reduce poverty and increase prosperity so that everyone in Larimer County has the opportunity for a better life. The Community Impact Fund supports United Way’s strategic partnerships with nonprofits, schools, businesses, government, and community leaders. Together, we’re aligning scarce resources, sharpening strategies, and creating results that work better for everyone, especially children and families in need.

United Way’s Community Impact Fund allows our organization to drive positive, lasting change in our community and is the most powerful way to invest your contribution to provide opportunities for everyone in our community to have a better life. Through the Community Impact Fund, your investment is combined with the gifts of others to have the maximum impact possible, cutting poverty and increasing prosperity in Larimer County.

What Are Community Impact Partners?

At United Way, we realize that in order to create long-term, systematic change that will change lives in our community, we must engage strategic partners working on a variety of levels. We unite people and organizations from across Larimer County, including nonprofits, schools, businesses, government, community leaders, volunteers and donors, to solve problems together.

We invite organizations in Larimer County to join in strategic collaboration to achieve a common purpose by sharing responsibilities, risks, and rewards as a Community Impact Partner. Through these innovative partnerships, we are making a difference for thousands of Larimer County children and families each year. Together, we’re aligning scarce resources, sharpening strategies, and creating results that work better for everyone.

In addition to being invested in a Larimer County where everyone has the chance to succeed, those organizations regarded as Community Impact Partners have met high standards of efficiency and accountability and have demonstrated that they are financially sound and ethically governed.

Currently, more than 70 organizations have joined in our strategic vision for Larimer County. 

How Does United Way Distribute Funding?

United Way invests a diverse stream of funding into the community to address the complex problems faced by children and families impacted by poverty in Larimer County. We accomplish this by directing donor-designated gifts, grant funding, and other programmatic spending to more than 70 Community Impact Partners.

More specifically, our organization awarded approximately 30 organizations, beginning in 2014, with funding through a collaborative grant process. These organizations will receive funding through 2017 to join other community leaders in collaborative efforts to drive outcomes around the following goal areas:

  • School Readiness
  • Youth Success
  • High School Graduation and Post-Secondary Success
  • Employment and Job Training
  • Financial Capability

Additionally, United Way of Larimer County is dedicated to supporting organizations that stabilize people in crisis. We also distribute grant funding annually to address current community conditions on a short-term basis in order to meet basic needs while helping children and families succeed.

How Are Grant Fundig Decisions Made?

United Way of Larimer County convenes impact council volunteers to make funding recommendations to the Community Impact Committee. Knowledgeable volunteers and experts from our community serve on United Way’s Community Impact Committee to carefully screen and select the collaborative efforts and programs funded by your contributions. These volunteers take into account all of the funding streams going to a particular organization, including donor designations and other direct support, when making their decision in order to best leverage available resources and serve community needs. Their recommendations are then reviewed and approved by United Way’s Board of Directors.

How Much of my donation goes to support the community?

A group of community business leaders, called Cornerstone Partners, earmark their corporate gifts to help cover the large majority of United Way’s administrative and fundraising costs. Because of their generosity, 96.5 cents of every dollar you give will be directed to the specific fund, program or agency of your choice. Less than four cents of every dollar is used to help pay for the remainder of United Way’s administrative and processing costs not covered by our Cornerstone Partners.

The 3.5 percent amount reserved to cover administrative costs is considerably lower than the average administrative cost assessments by other nonprofits in our community and across the county. There are many articles and studies on the topic, which identify the average administrative cost as a range between 10 and 20 percent. We are grateful to the generous support of our Cornerstone Partners who enable us to keep that percentage on the very low end of the spectrum.

We understand that providing support of administrative costs is not what donors are seeking to achieve with their charitable gifts. We appreciate that donors typically understand that there are costs associated with doing business of any kind, including fundraising, gift processing, communications and the necessary financial and technical systems to make sure their gifts are managed well. Our initiatives, programs and other community impact work simply could not happen without a talented, dedicated and creative staff and the infrastructure to support them.

What Are your overhead/administrative costs?

According to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, a nonprofit’s overhead should not exceed 35 percent. United Way of Larimer County is well below that with an overhead of 12.5 percent. Other similar nonprofits average approximately 18 percent. United Way of Larimer County’s generous Cornerstone Partners cover the majority of our administrative and fundraising costs, which allows your donation to have the most impact in our community.

In addition, United Way of Larimer County has been awarded the highest rating by Charity Navigator, the country’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities. The prestigious four-star rating is given to nonprofits that practice exceptional governance, fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency in fulfilling their mission. According to Charity Navigator, approximately 25 percent of the charities they evaluate have received the highest rating, indicating that United Way of Larimer County outperforms most other charities in America.

Does my gift stay in Larimer County?

Yes! United Way of Larimer County is an independently incorporated 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is governed by a local Board of Directors, made up of business and community leaders from throughout Larimer County. All funding decisions are made locally based on the best interests of our community.

In addition, United Way is committed to full transparency and accountability to our donors, partners and community and performs an annual audit process. To see a copy of our audited financial statements and IRS Form 990, click here.

Will I receive a receipt for my donation?

United Way issues a thank you letter for each gift (no matter the size). This letter is to acknowledge your gift and does not serve as a receipt for tax purposes.

Please retain a copy of your pledge form, which can be substantiated by your pay stub for gifts up to $250. United Way will send tax receipts to donors who contributed verifiable cash equivalent amounts of $250 or more and did not receive goods or services by January 31 of the following year. Cash equivalent payment methods include cash, check, automatic bank withdrawal, stock, credit card, and some payroll. In order for United Way to issue a tax receipt to a donor for payroll gifts, payments must be accompanied by employee detail from the employer.

A tax receipt cannot be issued for special event or sponsorship contributions. United Way cannot verify that the donor did not receive any goods or services in return for a contribution.

Donors may request a tax receipt any time by contacting United Way at 970-407-7000.

Why didn't united way help me (or my friend, family member, neighbor) when I needed it?

United Way’s role is a community change agent. We work with many community members that provide direct financial assistance and other support to individuals.  The best way to learn about these resources available to families and individuals directly is by calling our 2-1-1 help number. This is a three-digit number like 9-1-1 but for access to health and human services rather than emergency personnel. Calling 2-1-1 (970-407-7066) will connect you with a trained resource and referral specialist who will be able to identify the available resources to assist with most situations.  You can also search the 2-1-1 database online.

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