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Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way?

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette is a local nonprofit organization working to cut childhood poverty in our region in half by 2025. When you make a donation to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, your gift will help kids and families living in poverty right here in our four counties (Clark, Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington).

Our organization is part of a network of approximately 1,800 United Ways across the world. Each United Way, including our own, operates as an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization and tackles issues specific to its region.

How can I make the most of my donation?

Every dollar counts, no matter the amount, and we appreciate whatever you are able to give. Payroll deduction is a great way to break down the cost of a gift into smaller amounts that will add up over the course of a year. For example, let’s say that you pledge to donate $10 per pay period and you’re paid twice a month. By year’s end, your gift will add up to $240. That could make a big difference in the life of a child living in poverty, and/or for the organization(s) of your choice.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Yes, it is! Our tax ID number is 93-0582124.

Does United Way of the Columbia-Willamette charge a processing fee on my donation?

No, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette does not charge any processing fees on your donation.

How can I find health and social services for me or my family?

Please contact our partner organization 211info. You can:

  • Dial “211” on your phone
  • Visit
  • Text your zip code to 898211

211info can refer you to local nonprofit and public resources for financial assistance, health, housing, childcare, food, legal services, and more.

How do I know that my dollars will be used wisely?-

United Way of the Columbia-Willamette is committed to using your donation effectively and responsibly.

Operating Costs: Charity evaluators recommend operating cost ratios between 17.5 and 35 percent. We finished our 2014 fiscal year with an operating cost ratio of 17.5 percent. This includes:

  • Administrative costs for management and general operations: 7.1 percent.
  • Fundraising expense: 10.4 percent. This helped more than 550 local businesses and organizations run  employee-giving campaigns.
  • Our operating costs are offset by support from our Cornerstone Program Partners, ensuring that your donation can have a bigger impact on United Way’s work to break the cycle of childhood poverty and/or  on other organization(s) that you select.

Recognition: Independent charity evaluators recognize us for financial accountability and transparency.

  • Charity Navigator: Highest rating of four stars for four years in a row. Only seven percent of  organizations rated by Charity Navigator receive four-star ratings for four consecutive years.
  • GuideStar: Gold level (highest rating). Only 10 percent of GuideStar nonprofits achieve the Gold level.
  • Better Business Bureau: We are a BBB accredited charity – the only accredited United Way in Oregon.

Can I give outside of my employer’s workplace campaign?

Yes, if you’re giving directly to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, you can donate in several ways.

You can give:

  • Online by clicking here;
  • By mailing a check to our offices at 619 SW 11th Ave, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97205; or
  • Through bequest, estate planning, stock, or securities. Call 503.228.9390 for more information.

Can I give to another nonprofit through my employer’s United Way workplace campaign?

Yes, we are happy to support philanthropy in our region by processing your donation to the 501c3 nonprofit organization(s) of your choice. We encourage you to consider an additional gift directly to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, which will improve the odds for kids and families living in poverty in our region.