At United Way, we know success is measured by how our mission is achieved — making measurable improvements in our communities. Setting high standards for ourselves and for our local partners is critical for that success.

Annually, all United Ways must certify their adherence to standards that include comprehensive requirements for financial reporting, governance, ethics, diversity and operations. Specifically, United Ways must meet the following:

Tax-Exempt Status — All United Ways must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as well as corresponding provisions of other applicable state, local or foreign laws or regulations.

Governance — United Ways are governed by active, responsible, and voluntary governing boards to ensure effective governance over the policies and financial resources of the organization. These boards are responsible for United Ways delivering on their mission to advance the common good.

Ethics — All United Ways follow locally adopted codes of ethics for volunteers and staff that include provisions for ethical management, publicity, fundraising practices and full and fair disclosure.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — United Ways have adopted policies/statements to ensure volunteers and staff broadly reflect the diversity of the community served. View our DEI statement.

Financial Accountability — United Ways undergo annual financial audits conducted by independent certified public accountants whose examination complies with generally accepted auditing standards. In addition, United Ways have developed comprehensive requirements for completion of audited financial statements to ensure consistency and transparency system-wide. These requirements are based on industry best practices and conform with generally accepted accounting principles.

Performance Excellence — Every three years, United Ways conduct self-assessments of their governance, financial management and impact in the community.

Public Reporting and Disclosure — United Ways must file the IRS Form 990 in a timely manner and will provide the IRS Form 990 on their website, at their offices, or upon request.

Legal — United Ways comply with all applicable local, state and federal operating and reporting requirements.