Citing declining revenue, groups leave the United Way of the National Capital Area to establish Community1st – America’s Charities of Greater Washington, DC
Higher Achievement, House of Ruth, Whitman-Walker Clinic, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, WETA, and 16 other Washington area charities have created a new federation, Community1st – America’s Charities of Greater Washington, DC, with a mission to increase charitable giving through workplace campaigns. The charities are dropping their membership in the United Way and partnering with America’s Charities, which has helped many area employers run their workplace campaigns in the aftermath of the United Way scandal in 2002, raising over $40 million in employee-giving locally.
Founding members of Community1st include some of the area’s best known charities (complete list below) that together provide well over $167.5 million in services to area residents.
Since 2002, United Way of the National Capital Area [UWNCA] has changed its focus from promoting giving to individual charities to raising funds for its own community impact grant program, aggregating dollars and distributing money to charities that meet their criteria.
“Community1st will promote designated giving, because that’s what employees want,” said Don Sodo, President and CEO of America’s Charities. “Campaign experience and research over many years show that employees prefer to designate their gift to the charities of their choice, rather than give it to another organization for re-granting. The core principle of workplace giving is to trust donors to make a personal giving decision without attempting to steer their gift to a specific charity. ”
America’s Charities will be the workplace giving arm for Community1st charities and the fiscal agent for employee giving campaigns. The organization was founded in 1980 and participates in workplace campaigns nationwide.
The America’s Charities model focuses on their Big Five Best Practices, including:
- Customized Campaigns…every employer has its own unique campaign
- Designated Giving…because that’s how most employees want to give
- State-of-the-Art Technology…more information about participating charities and time and cost saving for employers
- Lower Cost…ranging from 0-6%, with charities receiving much more of every employee’s gift
- Trust, Transparency and Customer Service….values that America’s Charities has lived by since 1980
“America’s Charities has distributed 98% of over $40 million raised since 2002. This should rightfully raise questions about the preferred way to run campaigns,” said Sodo. “Although our average campaign cost is 6%, area companies have covered most of this cost, allowing us to distribute an average of 98% of donor funds each year. Over that same period since 2002, United Way has typically retained 10-12% of every employee’s gift…and sometime even 100%, without distributing it to their designated charity.”
The launch of Community1st-America’s Charities of Greater Washington, DC, was announced yesterday just prior to America’s Charities annual “Thank You” luncheon for area employers at the J. W. Marriott. Award recipients include ExxonMobil, AARP, The MITRE Corporation, and the CFC of the National Capital Area. The luncheon program was emceed by Kelly Gibson of Washington Gas.
The founding members of Community1st-America’s Charities are: A Wider Circle, Anacostia Watershed Society, Black Student Fund, Capital Hospice, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, Inc., District of Columbia College Success Foundation, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Fairfax Area Christian Emergency and Transitional Services, Inc. (FACETS), Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Higher Achievement Program, Inc., House of Ruth, Lorton Community Action Center (LCAC), Make-A-Wish Foundation® of the Mid-Atlantic, Inc., Rebuilding Together Alexandria, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC, Inc., The Shepherd’s Table, Inc., Signature Theatre, Inc., The Wellness Community – Greater Washington, DC, WETA (Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association), Whitman-Walker Clinic, and Youth for Tomorrow – New Life
About Higher Achievement
Higher Achievement is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing academic skills, behaviors, and attitudes in academically motivated and underserved middle-school children for the purpose of improving grades and performance on standardized tests. The program also boosts school attendance and increases educational opportunities by giving participants the tools to attend and succeed in rigorous high school classes. Founded in 1975, Higher Achievement currently operates five achievement centers and serves more than 400 students in Washington, DC, and Alexandria, VA, each year. Higher Achievement is a national demonstration model for academic achievement during OST and is committed to making academic excellence a valued goal in underserved communities. For more information, please visit us online at www.higherachievement.org.
Recent Awards include:
- 2007-2008 Catalogue for Philanthropy
- 2006 Johns Hopkins University – Excellence in Summer Learning Award
- 2005 Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management
- 2005 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder Award
- 2006 CharityWorks Partner
- 2005 Excel Leadership Award – Honorable Mention
- Accenture/NPower Award for Innovation in Technology