Frequently Asked Questions

What is United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas, and is it different from United Way Worldwide?

United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas is an independent, local, 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was established in 2011. Our independence allows us to focus our efforts on the needs of those in the counties we serve (Jasper, Newton, Crawford, Cherokee, and Labette) to strengthen the education, health, and financial stability for everyone in our communities. We are a member of the United Way Worldwide network, which provides cost saving services, support, advertising, and brand recognition. 

Who is the United Way's team comprised of?

United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas is governed by a local volunteer Board of Directors who represent all communities we serve. Meet the Board of Directors at

Day to day activities such as optimizing stewardship of all donations, managing direct programs and collaborations, volunteer activities, supporting agency partners, processing campaigns and planning special events are handed by a small professional staff located in our Joplin and Pittsburg offices. Meet our staff at

Where does my contribution go?

We serve both Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas, however, contributions stay local. Funds raised in Southwest Missouri stay in Southwest Missouri and funds raised in Southeast Kansas stay in Southeast Kansas. 

Community Impact Funding: Gifts are allocated to local programs through approved partner agencies that impact the greatest needs in our communities.

Annual contributions may be designated to an approved local United Way Agency Partner or Direct Program.  

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?

United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas has Community Investment Panels comprised of local volunteers who invest their time to visit and analyze each application including budgets, programs, outcomes, and efficiency in meeting local needs. Funds are approved by the Board of Directors based on annual fundraising and are distributed monthly to approved partner agency programs. 

What about the pressure to give?

United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas 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 or annual contribution?

There are many ways to stay engaged with United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas all year long. We offer programs like the Give 5 program for retirees and volunteer opportunities through our annual Day of Action as well as other programs and special events throughout the year which are great opportunities to help your communitiy and learn more about United Way's work.

What if I have additional questions?

United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas staff are happy to help with any questions you may have. For additional information, contact our offices in Joplin at 417.624.0153 or Pittsburg at 620.231.8140.