Changing Landscape of Philanthropy: How and Why United Way Continues to Thrive in Our Region

By Linda Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania

So much has changed since I started my career with United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania in 1998. As the years passed, our communities have grown and the needs of our region have shifted. But, as a member of our fundraising team, I can tell you that there’s one thing that has always remained the same: our desire to help.

In a world of crowd-sourced philanthropy, tens of thousands of donors trust United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania with their charitable contributions every year because we have a proven track record of fiscal responsibility and transparency. Whether a donor is giving $10,000 or $10, we want them to understand the impact of that gift and how United Way is able to leverage their dollars to do the most good.

With need on the rise and donors more engaged than ever before, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania has evolved to meet the challenge. Let’s take a look at how and why United Way continues to thrive in our region.

Donors and community members lead the way

United Way leads a movement to tackle systemic issues that impact our community. We leverage our expertise and data to identify the greatest needs and find opportunities to drive impact. United Way is truly the only nonprofit that brings together people and resources from every sector – volunteers, advocates, donors, partner agencies, government foundations, corporate partners and more – to develop innovative solutions, to foster collaboration or to further fund initiatives that are already working. The true value of United Way is our ability to convene our region’s changemakers and uplift their work.

Data informs action

The ability to identify our region’s greatest needs isn’t the only reason we rely on data. Especially as technology has increased the prevalence of digital life and online giving, we’ve utilized data tracking to analyze program effectiveness, donor behavior and trends that help us prepare for what’s coming next. United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s most recent annual report, financials and more are available online, along with awards and evaluations from Charity Navigator and Candid.

The team cares

There is something deeply special about the people in our SWPA community. We’re proud and willing to lend a hand to our neighbors. That same heart and passion fuels the United Way team every single day. It’s not something you find in every workplace. I am extremely proud to be part of a team that is so successful and so committed to the work. From the CEO to our seasonal receptionist, absolutely everyone on our team is willing to go above and beyond to serve our region.

Speaking for myself, I feel so incredibly lucky to come to work every day and know that we make a difference in people’s lives. In the years and decades to come, I have no doubt that United Way will still be driving change in our region with the same fervor we do today. Our commitment will remain steadfast. Our work will remain united. Join us at