Our Accountability

Our Accountability

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United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore (UWLES) continues to hold a Platinum Seal with Candid/Guidestar, and is a recognized Four-Star organization with Charity Navigator, demonstrating our commitment to transparency.

UWLES is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, founded in Wicomico County, MD in 1944 by five local community leaders.  We are governed by a 100% local Board of Directors.  As an independent nonprofit, our fundraising and our impact are focused locally across Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

We completed our United Way Worldwide (UWW) 2023 Membership filings and are in good standing as a network member.   UWW has no governing authority over UWLES operations, fundraising, programs or community investments.  United Ways share branding, best practices and the impact focus areas of Health, Education, Financial Stability and Emergency related needs.  We are proud to collaborate with United Way Worldwide colleagues and are an active member of the Maryland Association of United Ways.


Voluntary Giving Policy

An individual’s choice of whether or not to contribute, as well as how much to contribute, is at the very basis of the United Way philosophy. The following principles outline United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore’s commitment to voluntary giving.

  • Any use of pressure or coercion is unethical, and does far more harm to our organization and those we serve than any short-term gains it may produce.
  • While 100% participation can be a fun statistic to celebrate, ask that donors participate to help make a difference, not as part of a quota.
  • Contributing to United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore should be presented as an opportunity to help the community.
  • The most effective workplace campaigns are the result of employee education about United Way and its partners. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, and how is it different from United Way Worldwide?
UWLES is an independent, local, 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  Our independence allows us to focus our efforts on the needs of the counties we serve (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester) to strengthen Health, Education and Financial Stability for all neighbors. United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore (UWLES) is a member of the United Way Worldwide network, which provides critical cost saving services, support, advertising and brand recognition. 

Who is the United Way’s team comprised of?
UWLES is governed by a local volunteer Board of Directors who represent all communities served on the Eastern Shore. Meet the 2023-2024 Board of Directors at www.uwles.org/team

Day to day activities such as fundraising, optimizing stewardship of all donations, supporting volunteer activities, supporting agency partners, processing campaign pledges, recruiting and training volunteers, and planning special events are handled by a small professional staff located in the Salisbury office. Meet the UWLES Staff at www.uwles.org/team

Where does my contribution go? 

  • Community Impact Funding, gifts are allocated to local programs through approved partner agencies and supports UWLES’ direct programs and community initiatives.
  • Annual contributions may be designated to an approved local United Way Agency Partner or Direct Program ($50 minimum gift per designation). 
  • A benefit of being a member of United Way Worldwide is that we have a reciprocal program, allowing our donors to contribute to any other United Way, and allowing those not living locally to donate to us. 

How does United Way decide how much to distribute to each agency?
UWLES has a Community Impact Committee comprised of local volunteers who invest over 1,100 hours annually to visit and analyze each agency’s application including budgets, programs, and efficiency in meeting local needs. Funds are approved by the Board of Directors based on annual campaign fundraising and are distributed monthly to approved partner agency programs.

What is United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore’s administrative rate?
United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore’s administrative rate is 22% which is far below the 25% standard to which we hold our non-profit partners, as well as the national average of 35%. For a copy of our annual 990, visit our website or our Guidestar page where UWLES maintains a Platinum Seal of Transparency for non-profits.

What about the pressure to give?
UWLES does not condone pressuring anyone to give. The decision to give is a personal one and no one should ever be pressured or coerced into giving. 

How can I be involved beyond my Workplace Campaign?
There are many ways to stay engaged with UWLES all year long.  We offer Affinity Groups such as Emerging Leaders, Women United, and volunteer opportunities which can be found through the Get Connected Volunteer Center at www.shoregetconnected.org. Additionally, retirement and planned giving options are available. Also, there are a number of special events throughout the year which are great opportunities to learn more about United Way’s work while having fun.  And don’t forget to engage with us on social media!

What if I have additional questions?
UWLES staff are happy to help with any questions you may have. For additional information call the office at 410-742-5143 or visit our website at www.uwles.org.