Mission: United Way of Central New York is here to help people in Onondaga County, to make things better in this community, and to take care of what matters. Our vision is to ... (More)

United Way of Central New York is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1994, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.unitedway-cny.org/

 980 James Street
Syracuse NY 13203 

  315-428-2211


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Good

This charity's score is 89.97, earning it a 3-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2020, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

83.4%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

7.9%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

8.6%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

42.4%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.08


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

0.67 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

-4.22%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Nancy Kern Eaton, President

$124,432 (1.63% of Total Expenses)


Current CEO and Board Chair can be found in the Leadership & Adaptability report below.

Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Community Chest, United Way, etc. (BMF activity code: 600)


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


United Way of Central New York reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

Revenue declined by 3%. We received a PPP loan and it has been forgiven. We did not lay off any staff members. We did encourage our donors to give to a fund we created in partnership with the CNY Community Foundation and others that raised $1.8M. The fiscal agent for the funds was the CNY Community Foundation. While some of our workplace campaigns were down, many leadership donors increased their giving as they saw the role we were playing in the community's pandemic relief efforts.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

We actually increased programming during COVID, playing key roles in pandemic relief efforts. We jointly raised $1.8M with the CNY Community Foundation and others that supported human service agencies experiencing increased costs due to pandemic. We coordinated volunteers to deliver meals to 2K residents who could not leave home, supported special food assistance to city families and special safe summer youth programs, among many other activities. We secured 250K masks and bottles of hand sanitizer which were distributed throughout the city. We continued all of our regular programming as well.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

We had most staff working remotely, though we were essential and remained open to the public. We continued to run all financial operations and continued to provide support to our funded programs and agencies. We provided community education programs via zoom and connected with more people. We kept people informed about resources available (like a special phone number for people to call if they needed meal delivery) and also about services in the community. We played instrumental roles in bringing people together to solve problems they arose, such as difficulties in addressing safety issues by code enforcement. We convened city staff and legal services agencies to develop a plan that led to new levels of collaboration. We also supported a new program that created 8 new certified food pantries in underserved neighborhoods. Our grant-funded programs all continued during the pandemic, including our Continuum of Care and VITA programs.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

We facilitated a new system of coordination between the city and legal services agencies that continues. The 8 new food pantries have formed a collaborative that coordinates efforts. The COVID-19 Community Support Fund collaboration continues to meet with city and county representation, to monitor emerging needs like housing, food, and more. This has been extremely valuable in working together to develop plans for meeting highest priority needs. We continue to offer virtual educational events for community members so they are aware of emerging needs. We convened a work group to address the rising mental health crisis and have partnered in a Wellness Wednesdays series for community members on dealing with mental health and overall wellness. The series will continue. We also launched a CNY Equity site and educational series that offered a 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge followed by a 12-week series. Over 3500 people registered and participated. That work continues.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
11/1/20212020 89.97
9/1/20202019 89.17
8/1/20192018 92.26
7/1/20192018 90.81

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

12/1/20182017 90.77
6/1/20172016 84.00
7/1/20162015 86.84
6/1/20162014 85.07
Rating Version: 2.0
10/1/20152014 84.57
6/1/20142013 87.68
3/1/20132012 95.17
5/1/20122011 95.11
9/20/20112010 95.22
Rating Version: 1.0
4/1/20112010 93.25
11/24/20102009 69.40
2/1/20092008 71.00
4/1/20082007 70.57
3/1/20072006 67.19
3/1/20062005 63.87
12/1/20042003 87.15

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

United Way of Central New York cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Do you work at United Way of Central New York? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



United Way of Central New York reported its three largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$3,232,824

Spent in most recent FY

51%

Percent of program expenses


COMMUNITY PROGRAM FUND:UNITED WAY'S COMMUNITY PROGRAM FUND CURRENTLY PROVIDES FUNDING TO 87 PROGRAMS AT 33 LOCAL AGENCIES THAT PASSED OUR FISCAL AND MANAGEMENT REVIEW. FUNDS ARE INVESTED IN THE FOLLOW ... (More)


$895,056

Spent in most recent FY

14%

Percent of program expenses


GREATER SYRACUSE HOPE:UNITED WAY COORDINATES THIS GRANT FROM GOVERNOR CUOMO AS ONE OF THE 16 EMPIRE STATE POVERTY REDUCTION INITIATIVE CITIES. BY WORKING IN A PARTNERSHIP WITH A WIDE ARRAY OF COMMUNIT ... (More)


$632,401

Spent in most recent FY

9%

Percent of program expenses


EARLY CHILDHOOD ALLIANCE:THE EARLY CHILDHOOD ALLIANCE (ECA), A CROSS-SECTOR COALITION LED BY MUNICIPAL, PHILANTHROPIC, BUSINESS, ACADEMIC, AND NONPROFIT LEADERS TO CRITICALLY ASSESS THE CURRENT EARLY  ... (More)


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by United Way of Central New York is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


Ignite the spirit of community collaboration, giving, and civic engagement to improve lives in Central New York.  


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


To be an innovative & collaborative human service organization that drives solutions to build a thriving community.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: Achieve greater impact by diversify and increasing revenue through enhanced options for giving, securing additional grants and contracts.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Two: Enhance support for working families (ALICE) through expanded collaborations and new initiatives. Bring together private partners to support high potential new programs like Financial Empowerment Ctr.

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Goal Three: Increase community involvement by growing our VolunteerCNY efforts; grow participation in CNY Council of Board Strong; continue CNY Equity work; continue new mentoring program for young people.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

We did the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge as a staff team before we created the public site. Our Board of Directors and leadership staff team did two DEI sessions with experienced facilitators. Staff members participated in virtual training offered by United Way Worldwide and others, focusing on professional development and training specific to job duties. We conduct monthly all-staff meetings and provide training and updates on community activities. Staff teams do a variety of internal trainings specific to their roles, such as the Resource Development team's daily morning meetings, as well as other departments holding similar meetings. Our staff has done cross-training activities around database work and other technology tools available to improve everyone's skills. We have internal staff DEI and Employee Recognition Committees that provide recommendations for desired trainings.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Through our Community Program Fund, we currently provide ongoing operating funding for 65 programs at 27 local agencies. We also are the home of several community initiatives that bring together a wide range of community stakeholders that include the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, Early Childhood Alliance, Housing & Homeless Coalition, 2-1-1 CNY, Work Train, and Syracuse Financial Empowerment Center. We also serve as the fiscal agent for government grants as they become available. Members of our team often speak at community events to provide updates on human needs and issues impacting the community. We support community building efforts by serving as the fiscal agent for emerging programs and efforts by grass roots organizations. coalitions. Our marketing efforts have expanded significantly and include video, social media sites, and growing community engagement. Advocacy efforts include child care, early childhood education, housing, and much more.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


Within a week after the pandemic began, we were able to get all of our staff the technology and equipment needed to work remotely, which many employees were not able to do before. We remained open throughout, with a small team on site at all times. All of our regular work continued as we added pandemic relief efforts to that workload. It was more important than ever to continue to fund the programs we support, as that network of services has been vital in pandemic response. Because of our close connections with public, private, and community partners, we have been actively involved in pandemic response and rebuilding efforts. The county executive asked us to register and deploy volunteers, which we did immediately. Our staff and volunteers assisted in food delivery, providing volunteers to other agencies, and continued monitoring of volunteer needs. We were in daily and then weekly contact with a variety of stakeholder groups to assist with basic needs. We secured the donation of 250K masks which were distributed to dozens of organizations. In the first month of the pandemic, we switched an in-person event to a virtual event seamlessly, and began offering regular virtual events that attract good participation. Our strong connections to the human service agencies allowed us to monitor needs and changing conditions and communicate those needs to others. The COVID-19 Community Support Fund provided $1.8M raised specifically to fund pandemic-related costs incurred by non-profit partners. The funder group, with county and city representation, continues to meet as we monitor emerging needs. Our involvement in convening and facilitating collaborations has grown significantly since the pandemic began, including a new mental health series launched in partnership with CenterState CEO, Contact Communtiy Services, St. Joseph's Hospital and Upstate Medical University. We continue to highlight emerging needs and community opportunities for support of those in need.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Nancy Kern Eaton

President

Stephanie A. Crockett

Chair

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

Not Currently Scored

United Way of Central New York is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.


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Culture & Community Report

Unscored

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback


Constituent Feedback and Listening Practice data are not available for this organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We award every nonprofit that completes the Candid survey full credit for this Beacon, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Although the data is not evaluated for quality at this time, future iterations of this Beacon will include third party or other data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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