Frequently Asked Questions

Oshkosh Area United Way raises money through our annual campaign. We focus on Initiatives promoting positive health, education, and financial stability – things everyone can support. We award grants to local programs to maximize the impact of their services. This allows our partners to do more good work, while spending less time fundraising. That’s a win-win for those in need.

A gift to Oshkosh Area United Way is the simple solution. We magnify the impact of your gift by making sure your money is going to responsible programs that demonstrate measurable results right here in the Oshkosh area.

  • 1 in 3 people in the Oshkosh area benefit from united way supported programs
  • Children received 13,139 books to help strengthen their reading ability and readiness to learn
  • 61,152 meals were delivered to homebound seniors who also enjoyed the companionship of a volunteer
  • Over 12,000 calls were answered by United Way 2-1-1, connecting people to local health and human services
  • 1,471 children received free dental treatment and learned about preventative dental care
  • Supported 1,800 hours of homework and tutoring to help Oshkosh area students thrive

United Way knows how to drive lasting change. We are strategic community partners with in-depth knowledge of the communities we serve, the issues that affect them and the organizations and programs having the most impact. We bring the right parties together to address the big challenges facing individuals and families here in Oshkosh.

Based on both community need and significant research, investments are made in these categories:


In the Oshkosh area, there is a growing need to support mental health. We financially support programs that connect residents to health and human services, provide healing and crisis intervention, and promote positive social relationships.


Expanding and providing access to high quality child care and education is among the smartest investments we can make. We fund programs that provide parents and children with tools to encourage early childhood development and overall school and career readiness.

Financial Stability

Oshkosh Area United Way supports efforts to create financially-stable, self-sufficient households by supporting programs that improve skills to successfully gain employment, reduce transportation barriers, and provide basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.

Through a competitive grant process, United Way funds 34 programs focusing on the educational, financial and health needs of the most vulnerable people in Oshkosh. For a complete list of partners that receive funding to help improve lives in Oshkosh, visit:

Oshkosh Area United Way opens its grant process to the public annually. Applicants can request funding for any new or existing program that aims to strengthen childhood development (especially from birth to year three), provides steps to a living wage, or promotes positive mental health. These three issues have been identified as priorities for the Oshkosh area by community leaders and experts in their field.

A disciplined review committee of trained volunteers evaluates each grant application to ensure that the program works toward a collaborative, community goal and asks if customers are better off when the program works the way it should. This “citizen review process” is a key component of the volunteer-driven decision making procedure. We also perform a financial review of all applicants to ensure they are in good financial health. After the committee allocates dollars accordingly as a team, their recommendations go to the board of directors for approval.

We feel it is important that United Way dollars are used to invest in effective, meaningful, unduplicated services from funded partners. Funded partners demonstrate measurable result and are held accountable. Once funded, partners check in on a quarterly basis to ensure their projected goals are on track and the money is being used responsibly.

Your investment made directly to United Way (rather than to an agency) supports coordinated action, proven strategies and solutions at scale.  We focus on the programs that are making the biggest impact on the biggest issues right here in Oshkosh.

United Way operates at a high rate of efficiency. Only 14 cents of every dollar raised is invested into operating expense. This is competitive with the top 100 nonprofits in the U.S. and is well below the industry standard and recommendations from the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator. United Way keeps a close eye on expenses, while making sure we have the talent, expertise and systems to raise and invest resources for maximum impact.

No. Donations made to United Way’s Community Fund make the greatest difference and help the most people. United Way monitors results to ensure the programs are making an impact. You can be certain your money is well invested.

Over 99% of the dollars raised here stay here in the community. Less than1% goes to United Way Worldwide to provide services and support to our United Way and other local, independent United Ways. Oshkosh Area United Way has its own 501(c)(3) certification and is governed by a local board of directors.

No. Currently, Oshkosh Area United Way does not fund any Boy Scouts or Planned Parenthood programs. For a complete list of partners that receive funding to help improve lives in Oshkosh, visit:

Every United Way is local and independent, including your Oshkosh Area United Way. A volunteer board of directors comprised of industry professionals and leaders in the Oshkosh Area United Way makes decisions about investments for our region, and OAUW has never experienced any financial abuse. Over 25 years ago, a former United Way of America president, William Aramony, and two associates, were indicted for misusing funds. Neither United Way of America as an organization, nor any local United Ways, were charged with any wrongdoing in this matter. United Way instituted major governance and structural changes, and has become a model of accountability in the non-profit sector. Forbes magazine has since named United Way among the top five all-star charities for financial efficiency.

Oshkosh Area United Way