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United Way Bay Area

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Federated Giving Programs, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Philanthropy

Mission: To be the catalyst that enables people to strengthen their communities by investing in one another.

Results: Some highlights of our impact include: Since 2003, Earn It! Keep It! Save It! has returned over $575 million in tax refunds to low-income Bay Area families. In fiscal year 2016 alone, SparkPoint Centers served over 5,686 participants with approximately 45% engaging in a range of intensive services. Over80% 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, SparkPoint has served over 22,000 participants. In 2016, the Summer Jobs+ Initiative, a partnership between MatchBridge, the City of San Francisco, and community-based organizations, placed 7,937 youth in jobs and internships. Over the past year, 211 Bay Area in nine Bay Area counties responded to 191,000 calls, granting vital assistance to callers such as access to food and shelter.

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: Eight counties in the San Francisco Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, 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.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Jack A.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first encountered UWBA through it's Matchbridge youth employment program. After graduating high school, I used Matchbridge to gain a part time position with UPS, while attending City College of San Francisco.
During the summer of my second year at CCSF, I participated in Matchbridge's Business Pathways Internship. It was a 10 week professional internship, and I was placed at Reed Smith LLP. It was a great way to gain professional experience and I also used it as a networking opportunity. I met Amalia Chamorro, the VP of Public Policy, and she has served as a mentor to me since then.
I transferred to UCLA from CCSF and graduated with BA in political science. I returned to the bay, and then worked for UWBA as the public policy intern. It was a great opportunity to deepen my relationship with Amalia, gain hands on experience with public policy, and build my professional network. I am now working as a case manager for a nonprofit program, The SPARK Initiative, but UWBA is still family to me.
I am still close with many of the staff at UWBA and now am a donor as well. I am part of the Emerging Leaders donor affinity group and volunteer regularly.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 1

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.

Comments ( 1 )

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msav 03/14/2013

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Review from CharityNavigator

Board Member

Rating: 4

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Stuart3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 4

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.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

2 nish

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the board for the United Way Bay Area late last year, and it's been an amazing experience thus far. To be honest, I didn't even know the difference between poverty and homelessness before getting involved, but that's precisely why I think their mission is so important. It's hard to believe that 1 in 5 families are in poverty in the Bay Area, crazy. To that extent, I've mostly spent my time working on the Make It Be (www.makeitbe.org) campaign, which is just getting off the ground. I consider myself extremely lucky to be living here, and find the United Way's initiatives to be meaningful, full of impact and most important, necessary.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

United Way has inspiring television ads which encourage people to get involved in making our communities better. What people may not realize is that the local United Way of the Bay Area has dynamic programs which not only connect people to vital services such as food and housing, but help people make important life shifts to lift themselves out of poverty.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

United Way of the Bay continually challenges itself to raise the bar to improve the lives of families in the Bay Area. They are currently doing an astonishing job of bringing together community partners to establish SparkPoint Centers in the seven counties they serve - one-stop centers where anyone can go for resources to establish financial stability for self and family. Incredible things are happening. Go to youtube.com and search for SparkPoint American Canyon and you will see first-person stories. United Way of the Bay Area has tightened and sharpened its focus for the 21st century. They are governed by a volunteer board of expert professionals and you can see who they are at www.uwba.org, as well as learn a lot more about their work and how you can help your neighbors, too.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

United Way of the Bay Area is a bloated bureaucracy of overpaid staff whose impact has declined over the past 20 years. I would strongly encourage the public to donate directly to the charity of their choice. United Way takes administrative charges from each donation then the charity also deducts a portion of the donation for administrative charges. Although United is masterful at Manipulating figures to understate their overhead, the combined impact of the United Way administrative costs and the administrative cost of the charity reduces donations as much as 40%.

Comments ( 1 )

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mstokes 06/08/2011

I encourage you to read our most recent annual report to better understand United Way's programs and impact: http://tinyurl.com/3gfrfhy. Based on our most recent audit (Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2010), our overhead is 19.65% - well within the Better Business Bureau guidelines of 35%. We keep our expenses low through a commitment to organizational efficiency, a high level of volunteer participation, in-kind services provided by our partners, and responsible investments. Our overhead expense supports United Way’s fundraising and volunteer programs, and enables us to distribute donor contributions to more than 2,200 nonprofit agencies throughout the Bay Area and United States.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 4

this is fantastic organization that has a broad scope in the bay are. not sure exactly what they do but they do a good job of it

Previous Stories
23

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This is a wonderful organization in the Bay Area with a broad scope of assistance. It was truly a pleasure working with them.