FAQs

What is Second Century Vision?

Second Century Vision is the strategic direction guiding United Way of Greater Houston’s work and investments for our second century of service, beginning with the investments we will make in April 2022. Second Century Vision is all about creating opportunities for individuals and families who are ALICE or living in poverty to thrive through integrated strategies focused on:

  • Financial stability programs
  • Early childhood and youth development programs
  • Physical and behavioral health care programs
  • All supported by a foundation of basic needs assistance and support for those escaping violent situations

To continue to do great things in our community and serve our mission, United Way, as would any good business, must constantly reassess its purpose and impact. After studying market conditions, community needs, the Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey, 211 data,  and the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report, United Way determined that its strategic focus should be reframed to create the opportunity for individuals and families in our community to thrive.

With Second Century Vision, we’ll be working with partners to ensure that families are able to create their own customized plans based on their goals and that we are there to coordinate programs, connect clients with different services, and make getting the support that is going to help them ultimately achieve financial stability and a sustainable quality of life more seamless and straightforward. We know that truly creating opportunities for people to thrive means working to close the opportunity gap, which we know is wider for people of color, and working to create greater equity in our community, so we are focused on work that makes headway against racism and underrepresentation.

Learn more about Second Century Vision at unitedwayhouston.org/scv. 

Who is ALICE?

We all know people who are ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE workers educate our children, keep us healthy, and make our quality of life possible, yet do not earn enough to support their own families. ALICE households are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, which have long‐term consequences not only for ALICE, but for us all. In 2018, 47% of Greater Houston’s two million households struggled to make ends meet. While 14% of these households were living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), another 33% — twice as many — were ALICE. These households earned above the FPL, but not enough to afford basic household necessities. The ALICE threshold is determined by calculating the real local cost of things like housing, food, transportation, and health care. Figures are available for a variety of household compositions and for every county in Texas at unitedforalice.org/household‐budgets/Texas.

Learn more about ALICE in United Way of Greater Houston’s four‐county service area at unitedwayhouston.org/alice.  

Who governs United Way of Greater Houston?

United Way of Greater Houston is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees made up of local business and community leaders. The United Way Board determines policy and oversees every aspect of the organization.

Is my gift to United Way tax deductible?

Your United Way gift is deductible on Schedule A of the Form 1040 if you choose to itemize deductions. Please consult your tax advisor regarding IRS rules that may apply in your individual situation.

What geographic area does United Way of Greater Houston serve?

Our service area includes Harris*, Fort Bend, Montgomery, and Waller counties.
*Excludes zip codes 77520, 77521, 77522, 77532 that are assigned to United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County.

How do I know my gift is being well spent? 

United Way of Greater Houston operates efficiently, effectively, and with a commitment to transparency and measurable results. Our community investments are backed by research, made by trained volunteers, and ensured by good stewardship. Our operating expenses vary from year to year but are always well below the Better Business Bureau’s 35 percent guideline for nonprofits. 

Does United Way of Greater Houston support Planned Parenthood?

United Way of Greater Houston does not fund Planned Parenthood. There are 1,100+ community-based United Ways across the country and each is separately incorporated and independently governed by local volunteers. Funding decisions are made by each community-based United Way. Click here for a list of all of the agencies whose services United Way of Greater Houston invests in, as well as our grantees. 

What is the difference between United Ways across the country?

Contributions made in our area stay here and decisions about which programs to invest in and which partnerships to pursue are made here in our local community by unpaid volunteers. There are nearly 1,800 community‐based United Ways all over the world (1,100+ in the U.S.) and each is separately incorporated and independently governed by local volunteers each addressing the local needs of their communities. Many of these organizations are similar in their mission and structure, but some are very different United Way of Greater Houston pays a membership contribution for the rights to use the United Way name and logo, and to support broader community impact goals through United Way Worldwide. United Way Worldwide owns the brand; the international organization sets national goals around education, financial stability, and health; and provides training and development services along with public policy support to local United Ways. These membership dues are less than 1 percent of each dollar contributed.

Does United Way of Greater Houston support the Boy Scouts?

Yes. United Way of Greater Houston invests in both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts because they provide quality programs that have been proven to make a difference in the lives of young people.

There are 1,100+ community-based United Ways across the country and each is separately incorporated and independently governed by local volunteers. Funding decisions are made by each community-based United Way. You can find a list of all of the agencies whose services United Way of Greater Houston invests in, as well as our grantees, here: https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/about/agencies/.

What is 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE?

211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is a free, confidential helpline operated by United Way of Greater Houston 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Our trained HELPLINE specialists offer the most up-to-date resources available and provide assistance in more than 150 languages. 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is the largest helpline of its kind in the country and is one of our community’s most powerful resources for addressing social service needs. In 2020, our HELPLINE specialists connected more than 1.4 million people with help. If you or someone you know needs help, dial 211.

Who should I contact if I have a question about United Way of Greater Houston?

If you have any questions regarding United Way of Greater Houston, please call us at 713-685-2300 or email unitedwayofgreaterhouston@unitedwayhouston.org.