United Way of the Bay Area

Rating: 4.29 stars   17 reviews

Issues: Human Services, Philanthropy, Economic Development

Location: 550 Kearny Street, Suite 1000 San Francisco CA 94108 USA

Mission: To be the catalyst that enables people to strengthen their communities by investing in one another.
Results: Closely aligned with our mission, we have a bold goal to cut the number of Bay Area families living in poverty in half by the year 2020. In the last fiscal year, UWBA served over a quarter-million Bay Area residents. Some highlights of our impact include: Since 2003, Earn It! Keep It! Save It! has returned over $495 million in tax refunds to low-income Bay Area families, and filed 477,000 tax returns. In fiscal year 2014 alone, SparkPoint Centers served over 6,173 participants with approximately 45% engaging in a range of intensive services. Over 71% of these clients have made progress in economic mobility experiencing at least a 5% increase in income, credit score, savings or a decrease in debt. Since its inception in January 2009, the SparkPoint Initiative has served over 15,000 participants. In 2014, the Summer Jobs+ Initiative, a partnership between MatchBridge, the City of San Francisco and community-based organizations, placed 7,600 youth in jobs and internships and has connected more than 18,500 youth to jobs since its launch in 2012. Over the past year, UWBA and its partner Call Centers in nine Bay Area counties responded to 184,078 calls, granting vital assistance to callers such as access to food and shelter. Last year, we launched our first SparkPoint Community School that brings economic services -- job training and placement, financial coaching, etc. -- to families at schools that are serving people in poverty with health clinics and after-school and summer academic programs.
Target demographics: Our work assists low-income families and individuals, with a particular focus on critical populations such as at-risk youth, single parent families, immigrants, and men and boys of color which we know are disproportionately affected by poverty.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 250,000 individuals in the Bay Area struggling to make ends meet.
Geographic areas served: Seven counties in the San Francisco Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano.
Programs: Our core poverty-fighting programs focus on three key drivers of economic success – jobs, education and basic needs – and have touched the lives of over 500,000 members of our community over the last 4 years. Through our critical program platforms, we have connected struggling Bay Area residents to food and shelter, helped people get jobs, and ensured that youth can succeed in school and in the workplace. United Way of the Bay Area programs include SparkPoint, 211, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, MatchBridge and Community Schools. Learn more about these programs at www.uwba.org.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

Called 211. Asked for help finding Asian senior residential care and nice person jumped to conclusion tht I meant Chinese-speaking. :( Gave me a referral which I called three times with no result.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

None

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Hello: We are very sorry that you did not have a good experience with our 211 Call Center. We always strive to provide excellent customer service, and train our staff to be culturally sensitive. Any time we receive an opportunity to improve our service we take it seriously and act upon it. Please feel free to contact the 211 Call Center Manager and help us address your concerns and needs. Since January, 2013, the 211 Call Center has provided services to over 11,000 individuals needing a variety of services.

Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the great privileged to serve on the Board of this fantastic organization. From the leadership to the staff, the United Way of the Bay Area exemplifies dedication to helping the community. The United Way of the Bay Area is also looked to throughout the region as a thought leader in philanthropy, as exemplified by the SparkPoint program. No other organization I am aware of matches the level of impact on its community as the United Way of the Bay Area.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have had the great pleasure of being involved with the United Way of the Bay Area for nearly 6 years--first as a volunteer, then as a member of the Emerging Leaders group, and now as a member of the Board of Directors. I am continually amazed by the dedication and professionalism of the entire organization top to bottom, who are committed to being not just a participant--but a leader--in helping those most in need in our communities.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 4 stars  

UWBA is truly a stellar and innovative organization by all accounts. They are the lead organization pulling together key stakeholders in the Bay Area (public, private, not for profit, etc.) to join together and collectively cut poverty in half by 2020! The collective impact will be game changing.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I joined United Way of the Bay Area's Board this year after three years of serving on one of its campaign cabinets. I support United Way at the leadership donor level because its mission to reduce poverty among Bay Area families is consistent with my own personal community service goal, I am very impresed with the professionalism and quality of United Way's management, and United Way is innovating to make a difference through its programs like Sparkpoint and Make it Be.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I joined UWBA three years ago based on its ambitious goal to cut poverty in half by 2020. This United Way is unique in its approach to community service and reflects the community it serves as a cutting edge, innovative organization. Our efforts to transcend the norms of the not for profit sector and challenge partners in the public, private and not for profit sector to join us and evaluate collective approachesand shared impact strategies could truly change the face of the health and human services arena in the US. That's why I come to work here every day!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been a contributor and volunteer for UWBA for almost two decades; a board member for four years. I have been witness to an increased focus, remarkable transparency, and what I consider world-class management. The leadership team that is in place is exceptional. The decisions made are focused on the Bay Area community, and there is a laser-like focus on alleviating poverty. There are few other NGO institutions that are as broadly trusted and have the capacity to provide the "backbone" needed to bring the appropriate services to bear to achieve their "audacious goal". These attributes are not costless; to understand and appreciate the NEED to spend appropriately on overhead, I recommend the following, excellently presented article: Tom Tierney interview:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203611404577046171703664012.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet_bot
Charity Navigator does an exceptional job of providing a broad brush look at charities; some, like the UWBA, require a deeper look to truly understand their value and critical community focus and need.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing up close how it impacts the lives of those who need the help most!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

figure out how to get their message out to a broader audience.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Alleviate poverty in the Bay Area!

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Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I sit on the steering committee/board for Emerging Leaders and the experience has been wonderful. I have met several interesting and intelligent people through Emerging Leaders. Every one is focused on bettering the Bay Area through various efforts from mentoring youth, book drives for schools, clothing drives, as well as many other campaigns. It is impressive that those that are involved all have full time jobs and still take time out of their day to help make the Bay Area better. This only illustrates the ease to get behind an organization that is professional and dedicated in it's focus to reduce poverty in the Bay Area.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I serve on the emerging leaders board and feel like it's an amazing experience to be able to see all of the arms of the United Way Bay Area in action. As a board member of this very professionally diverse steering committee I can bring my expertise in certain fields to the table (as do others) and the result is a committee that is able to initiate and grow a large variety of programs with the ultimate goal of cutting poverty. These can range from programs for youth mentorship to donation drives to job search programs for adults and many more. The United Way Bay Area gives me an opportunity to not only volunteer my time in a one on one format but also for me to influence the effectiveness of dollars donated, which I believe is unlike most charities. All United Way staff that I've encountered have been very professional and qualified, but more importantly are extremely dedicated toward their mutual cause.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

It's been my extreme pleasure to be affiliated with the United Way of the Bay Area for the past ten years initially on an advisory board and later as a member of the board of directors. The board members, volunteers and staff of this agency are among the kindest, most caring and generous persons I've ever known. The agency's vision for this region is to cut poverty in half by 2020 and everyone is focused on achieving that bold, audacious goal. I'm proud to serve shoulder to shoulder with these wonderful people who are determined to improve the lives of so many people and make our region an even better place to live.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

As a new board member it is great to see that UWBA is an organization that is taking courageous steps to achieve the bold goal of cutting poverty in half by 2025. The dedication and talent of the staff is amazing. I have been involved in the SparkPoint initiative and can see first hand how such an organization can impact the lives of families and communities in ways thought not possible.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?