United Way FAQ's

We are a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that brings people together to help solve issues that affect our entire community. We partner with other local nonprofits, businesses, government, and other community stakeholders to make a lasting impact in the lives of residents of Lee and Harnett Counties. Together, we are building a tomorrow that is better than yesterday.

First and foremost, we are LOCAL. We are governed by a local board of directors, our staff is local, and our service area consists of Lee County and Harnett County in central North Carolina. But we are also part of a network of local United Ways under the umbrella of United Way Worldwide, which provides support services to local United Ways.

In 1887, a Denver woman, a priest, two ministers, and a rabbi recognized the need to work together in new ways to help their community. They created an organization to collect funds that would benefit 22 local charities, raising $21,700; this was the forerunner of the modern United Way. United Way of Lee County was formed in 1960.

United Way helps people build pathways out of poverty, so that they can be self-sufficient and provide for their families. We provide lots of community services, too. People who need help with food, housing, utilities, and much more can check out NC 211, our information and referral service, and volunteers can go to VolunteerUnited.net to find local volunteer opportunities. United Way has a partnership with SingleCare/FamilyWize to provide free discount prescription cards to anyone who would like one; click here for more information or to download a card.


United Way of Lee County serves both Lee and Harnett counties in central North Carolina. Our office is located in Sanford, NC.

It is the policy of United Way of Lee County that donations are used to support programs in Lee and Harnett County only, unless the donor specifically requests that the donation be sent elsewhere. So you can rest assured that what you give here stays here to help neighbors right here at home.

Yes. Our United Way accepts designations of $50 or more to any 501(c)(3) organization, whether it is local or not. However, we encourage donors to make undesignated gifts in order to help the most people right here at home.

An undesignated gift allows you to help more people than a gift to a single agency ever could. Because community problems are interrelated, and because families often need help with more than one issue, a gift to United Way’s Community Impact Fund is the best and most efficient way to meet these needs.

Volunteers like you! Each spring, local volunteers serve on Community Investment Teams, which thoroughly review funding applications and make funding recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors. The Board (also all volunteers) makes final funding decisions. If you're interested in serving on a Community Investment Team, click the Contact Us button at the top of the page and let us know!

Through our United Way programs and our partnerships with other local nonprofits, we impact thousands of people in our community each year. These are some of the ways that United Way and our community partners are making a difference:

  • Over 1,400 victims of domestic violence provided with shelter and supportive counseling services
  • 62 families experiencing homelessness had shelter, case management, and help finding permanent homes of their own
  • Over 25,000 residents helped with food and other emergency assistance
  • 406 local volunteer needs were met by people just like you!