6 Things You Probably Don't Know About United Way
Written by Valley of the Sun United Way
Published on Jun 22, 2015
You’ve probably seen “LIVE UNITED” on t-shirts around town—may have seen the Valley of the Sun United Way logo in ads beside a photo of Arizona Cardinals Defensive End and education champion, Calais Campbell.
You may already be one of the thousands of volunteers and partners who serve the needs of children, families and individuals throughout the Valley, but here are some things that might surprise you:
The Human Services Campus in Phoenix, operated by several United Way partners, offers the only mailbox in the U.S. serving people experiencing homelessness. This helps them stay connected to family and friends, and receive correspondence regarding benefits, social security, medical insurance, legal counsel, doctor appointments—all of the resources needed to regain health and stability.
United Way’s low administrative cost—less than 10 percent in comparison to the average 15 percent reported by large non-profits—makes us one of the most efficient non-profits in the country.* About 90 percent of revenue is directly invested in community initiatives which transform individual lives and impact entire communities.
The cost of keeping someone homeless—in temporary shelters, emergency rooms, hospitals, police and jails—is about $40,000 a year, as opposed to the $17,000 cost of providing stability housing first, along with wrap-around services.
Adopting the “Housing First” model over the traditional approach to address homelessness has not only led to Phoenix becoming the first city in the nation to end chronic homelessness among our veteran population, it also saves our community a great deal of money.
Phoenix’ first permanent supportive housing community at Encanto Pointe had the following impact on residents in its first six months:
a. Self-reported drug and alcohol abuse dropped from 71 to 20 percent
b. Active participation in substance abuse treatment increased from 14 to 40 percent
c. Those receiving treatment for mental illness increased from 19 to 50 percent
d. Victims of violent attacks within the past 6 months dropped from 29 percent to zero
Every gift to United Way makes a huge difference; $2 a week assists food banks in purchasing more than 624 meals for individuals experiencing financial difficulties.
Last year alone, United Way distributed 15,000 WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks to students so they can focus on learning and not worry about when they’ll eat next.
Spread the word! Be a United Way advocate and share some of the many ways our partners and donors make a difference every day.
*According to Charity Navigator, a trusted authority on non-profits ratings, reports the benchmark “maximum” overhead is 35%, with the average overhead rate for the top large nonprofits at more than 15%. (2013)2003 McKinsey & Company Study as reported by the Association of Fundraising Professionals