What is Second Century Vision?

Second Century Vision is what we called the strategic direction guiding United Way of Greater Houston’s work and investments for our second century of service, beginning with the investments we made in April 2022. As of April 2022, what we have been calling Second Century Vision is now our work.

This work is all about creating opportunities for individuals and families who are experiencing ALICE or living on wages below the federal poverty threshold 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

As part of this work, United Way is introducing navigators, who will coach families and individuals as they create their unique financial stability plan and really help guide them along the way, making access to services easier and helping to break down barriers along the way. We are also building a technology platform to streamline coordination and access to services, and ultimately, strengthen our area’s whole social services network.

Who is ALICE?

We all know people who are experiencing 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, the year data was collected for the most recent ALICE report, 14% of households across Greater Houston were living on wages below the federal poverty threshold, and another 33% of households were working hard but unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

The ALICE threshold is determined by calculating the real local cost of things like housing, food, transportation, and health care. Figures are available for various 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/what-we-do/employed-but-in-need/.

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 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, and 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 has not funded Planned Parenthood. You can find a list of all the agencies whose services United Way of Greater Houston invests in here: unitedwayhouston.org/what-we-do/funded-partners.

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. 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: unitedwayhouston.org/what-we-do/funded-partners.

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 more than 1,100 community‐based United Ways all over the world 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.

What is the 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 2021, our HELPLINE specialists connected more than 1.1 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.