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February 25, 2016

Where does $1 to United Way of Palm Beach County go?

by Anne Paddock

United Way of Palm Beach County (UWPBC) is just one of 35 United Way chapters in Florida and one of 1,256 chapters in the United States, but this South Florida chapter office raised more than $15.3 million last year and distributed $11.4 million (75%) in grants to both local, state, and national organizations.

Focusing on education, income, and health, each local United Way office/chapter acts as a community oversight committee by collecting revenue and making grants to other non-profit organizations that provide needed services or goods.

UWPBC is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that is required to submit an IRS Form 990 annually which reveals important financial information about the organization including revenue, expenses, grants, key employee compensation, assets, liabilities, and more. The 2013 IRS Form 990 (which covers the year ending June 30, 2014) reveals the following with regards to the financial activities of the organization.

UWPBC raised $15.3 million primarily from two sources: $12.6 million (82%) from contributions and campaigns and $2.2 million (14%) from government grants with the remaining funds ($0.5 million or 4% ) from designation fees and investment income).

$3.8 million (25% of revenue) was spent on expenses (excluding depreciation) in the following categories:

  • $2,549,742 (17% of revenue) on compensation, pension plans, benefits, and payroll taxes including $461,638 on the CEO and CFO positions.
  • $496,243 (3% of revenue) on office expenses, occupancy, and insurance.
  • $326,940 (2% of revenue) on management, legal, accounting and other services.
  • $139,738 (1% of revenue) on travel, conferences, conventions, meetings, and fundraising.
  • $139,669 (1% of revenue) on bank fees and interest.
  • $112,185 (1% of revenue) on an affiliate.

$11.4 million was distributed to other non-profits organizations, including 208 organizations that received more than $5,000 with the ten largest recipients allocated $3.4 million (or 30% of grants) being:

  • $595,403:  The ARC of Palm Beach County
  • $440,769:  211 PB Treasure Coast
  • $377,330:  Housing/Community Partnerships Inc.
  • $346,721:  Adopt-a-Family of the Palm Beaches
  • $324,378:  United Way (9 affiliates both inside and outside Palm Beach County)
  • $312,694:  The Lord’s Place, Inc.
  • $293,189:  The Area Agency on Aging of PB/Treasure Coast, Inc.
  • $257,038:  Community Health Charities
  • $232,815:  United Cerebral Palsy of Broward, PB, and Mid-Coast Counties
  • $231,415:   Palm Beach County Food Bank

To summarize, $1 in revenue was allocated as follows:

$1.00:  Revenue

-$0.17:  Compensation, benefits, pension plans, and payroll taxes

-$0.03:  Office expenses, occupancy, and insurance

-$0.02:  Management, accounting, legal, and other services

-$0.01:  Travel, conferences, meetings, conventions, meetings, and fundraising

-$0.01:  Bank fees and interest

-$0.01:  Payment to an affiliate

-$0.25:  Subtotal

$0.75:  Amount Remaining

-$0.75:  Funds distributed to more than 208 non-profit organizations

The bottom line is that 75 cents of every dollar was spent in grants to other organizations. UWPBC uses 25 cents of every dollar to cover their functional expenses as an agency that collects and distributes funds to other 501 (c) (3) organizations. These organizations also have administrative, program service, and fundraising expenses which means the 75 cents is further diluted because there are two layers of overhead expenses – those of the United Way local office (UWPBC) and those of the agency in which grants were distributed. A $1 contribution will go further if given directly to one of the 208 organizations listed on the Form 990 because only one layer of overhead expenses will be deducted from every dollar. However, to fully understand where the money flows, the 990 of the receiving organization also has to be analyzed.

As of year-end, UWPBC had $15.1 million in total assets, $8.7 million of which is in publicly traded securities and cash followed by $2.3 million in land buildings, and equipment, $3.1 million in pledges receivable, and $1 million in beneficial interest in trust, accounts receivable, and prepaid expenses.

Liabilities total $5.9 million, of which $5 million are grants payable and $0.9 million are deferred revenue, accrued expenses, accounts payable and other liabilities, leaving net assets at $9.2 million at year-end.

If you want your charitable dollars to go further, go to Schedule I, Part 2 of the IRS Form 990 and give directly to one of the organizations listed.

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