UNITED WAY OF THE BLACK HILLS
  FAQs

What is United Way of the Black Hills?
United Way of the Black Hills organizes and implements an annual fundraising campaign to help support the budgets of 52 local nonprofit agencies. Currently, community-wide campaigns are conducted in Rapid City, Sturgis, Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Keystone, Hill City, Custer, Hot Springs, and Edgemont. To keep costs to a minimum, the United Way office, located in Rapid City, serves as the only administrative office for United Way of the Black Hills, and provides assistance to all participating communities. United Way also gives direct assistance to individuals through information and referral, and spearheads efforts to identify community needs, develops a community response to those needs, and promotes teamwork among local nonprofits
How long has our local United Way been in existence?
United Way of Rapid City was formed in 1945 out of concern by various business owners of the growing number of requests for donations. Business owners wanted to create a community fund which could help many worthy local agencies. They wanted a respected group of community-minded citizens to analyze problems in the Rapid City area, decide which agencies could best meet those problems, and then distribute the donations where they would do the most good. In 1945 this idea was put into practice, and more than $45,000 was raised and distributed to six local agencies. Today, thanks to tremendous community support, United Way of Rapid City has expanded to become United Way of the Black Hills with campaigns in Rapid City, Sturgis, Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Keystone, Hill City, Custer, Hot Springs, and Edgemont.
How does our United Way fit into the big picture? Is United Way of the Black Hills connected to other United Ways?
Every local United Way is independent from one another, and operates under the direction of a local board of directors. Money raised during the annual campaign stays in each local community. Each local board is responsible for giving donated dollars to the local agencies that can best meet the needs of each individual community. Local United Ways belong to United Way of America which gives them access to services such as marketing assistance, community problem solving, staff training and networking among other United Ways. Membership dues are less than 1/3 of one cent of every dollar raised.
What are the biggest advantages to giving to a local United Way?
There are many advantages to having a single community-wide fundraising effort. A portion of your single donation is given to each of the United Way member agencies that serve your community. This allows you to help people in many different ways. By coordinating fundraising efforts, each agency saves valuable time and money. Each agency United Way supports is then able to spend more of its time, energy and dollars doing what it does best - helping people.
How does United Way keep fundraising costs low?
We are very proud that our United Way operates throughout the year on only 15 cents of every dollar raised. Every year hundreds of people volunteer their time to the United Way campaign fund drive. This allows the whole community to help 52 local agencies, and only one fundraising office is needed to ensure that donated dollars are used where they are most needed. Local businesses also donate 'in kind' gifts that give United Way a significant savings on items such as campaign brochures, videos, advertising and more.
Who decides where the money goes?
When you contribute to United Way of the Black Hills, you can be assured that your donation is distributed wisely. The four United Way boards from each community, together with other knowledgeable community residents, decide which agencies will receive funds from the annual United Way campaign. These groups evaluate the needs of the community to determine which require the most urgent attention. They then interview all agencies applying for United Way funding, identify which ones will best address the needs of the community, analyze budgets and audit reports, and distribute funds accordingly.
What community problems is United Way currently targeting?
Lack of affordable housing, hunger, juvenile crime, child abuse, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, affordable child care, and family problems are among the many issues United Way is targeting. United Way of the Black Hills helps to support 52 of the area's most respected nonprofit agencies deal with many of the problems that exist throughout the Black Hills.
How can lower paid employees be expected to give?
Even a small amount each week can give an employee a sense of belonging to a larger community, of making a difference. United Way's fundraising campaign is successful because lots of people unite and give what they can. When lots of people give even a little, the results are amazing.
What is United Way's stand on pro-life or pro-choice?
Donations to United Way of the Black Hills are distributed exclusively to the agencies selected by each community board of directors. United Way leaders agree that United Way must be kept outside of the pro-choice/pro-life debate. It is essential that local groups and individuals recognize it would be harmful to the total community if groups on either side of this issue would attempt to use United Way to further its viewpoint.
Do United Way agencies charge fees for their services?
Agencies funded by United Way strive to assure quality, affordable services to all people regardless of income level. Many agencies charge fees based on a sliding scale. People who can afford to pay do so; those who cannot pay the fees are helped by that agency through United Way dollars.
Can I give to a specific United Way agency?
You can designate that your donation be given only to the organizations you choose. Contributions can be designated to one or more of the 52 agencies by writing the agency's name(s) on the pledge form. You may also designate that your contribution be directed only to the agencies that serve the Rapid City, Sturgis, Northern Hills, or Southern Hills areas.
How can I be sure my donation is well spent?
With one gift to United Way, you can support 52 local agencies and know that you are helping to solve some of our areas most pressing concerns. All programs and financial statements of United Way of the Black Hills member agencies are reviewed annually to ensure that donated dollars are used where it is needed most.
How can I become a leadership giver?
Every year United Way prints a directory of Leaders in Giving that highlights all company campaign results, and lists the name of any individual who donates $300 or more. This directory is distributed through the Rapid City Journal and its affliates, and in workplace campaigns throughout Rapid City, Sturgis, Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Keystone, Hill City, Custer, Hot Springs, and Edgemont. Hundreds of individuals and companies donate at the leadership level.
When does the campaign begin/end?
The Campaign Kickoff for all areas begins in September. Please refer to our calendar to see specific dates, times, and locations of each kickoff. The campaign formally ends December 31st.
When are the donations sent to the agencies?
Pledges collected by December 31 are sent to agencies on a monthly basis beginning in January.

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