Why United Way?

By choosing to support us you are choosing to make a difference in the lives of our community members. Whether it is helping a child learn to read or get through school, helping a parent get a job or receive financial assistance, or helping a senior get to a doctor’s appointment or get a healthy meal – it’s all thanks to you.

The difference you make is visible almost immediately. Last year alone:

  • 8,400 kids improved their GPA
  • 13,000 children were enrolled in high-quality child care
  • 26,000 kids were read to on a regular basis
  • 680 people secured a job
  • 118 people purchased a home
  • 9,400 people received free tax prep services
  • 1,600 seniors received transportation to their healthcare appointments
  • 2,900 people accessed home services
  • 3,500 people were prepared to keep themselves and their families safe

We’d love to see even better results this year, and with your help we can. Whether you choose to give, advocate or volunteer you will be making a positive impact in someone’s life. No matter what you choose, we will be grateful to have your involvement in any way.

Be a CASH Coach

CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope), a United Way initiative, has a wonderful volunteer opportunity available – we are in need of CASH Coaches! Cash Coaches are well-trained volunteers who work with people to address common financial concerns. We will teach you coaching skills and equip everyone with the financial tools and local resources needed to expand financial literacy throughout our community. Anyone can be a CASH Volunteer, no experience necessary!

Are you interested? Attend a free training session!


Time:  12 noon – 5pm



Tri-Main Building

2495 Main Street, Suite 260

Buffalo, 1421

Please RSVP by January 12th to Maggie Best by emailing her at Cash.coaches@uwbec.org or calling her at 716-887-2627. To learn more about CASH check out their website here.

Did we mention there will be food and giveaways to everyone involved? Hope to see you there!

Ways to Give This Holiday Season

The holidays are a wonderful time – spending time with our loved ones, enjoying great food and being thankful for everything we have. Many people in our community are struggling during the holidays, and there are many easy ways to help make a difference – and make your own holiday a little brighter at the same time.

Bills Tickets

Go to the Bills game on 12/4 or 12/18 for only $30 a ticket, and for each ticket sold the Bills will generously donate $10 to United Way!

Buy tickets here, and use promo code GPUW

Concert Tickets

This year we have partnered with the Niagara Holiday Market to offer discounted rates on some great concerts!

Elisabeth Von Trapp
December 6 & 7

BPO’s A Visit With St. Nick
December 17

Go here to purchase your tickets to any of these shows!

Enter unitedway in the promo code box and you’ll receive $5 off each ticket you purchase. Along with receiving a discount on tickets, for every ticket sold, Niagara Holiday Market will donate $5 to UWBEC.

Lloyd’s Taco Truck

You may have heard that Lloyd’s Taco Truck served lunch in our parking lot earlier this week, and donated 10% of their day’s profits to United Way.  The food was great and we are so grateful for their support! They have promised to come back – follow us on Twitter or “like” us on Facebook to see when they’ll be coming next!

Text Giving 

Giving is as easy as a text! Text TOYS to 20222 to give $10 to UWBEC to help make the holidays brighter for local families.*

*A one-time donation of $10.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Donor must be age 18+ and all donations must be authorized by the account holder (e.g. parents). By texting YES, the user agrees to the terms and conditions. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers.  Donations are collected for the benefit of the “United Way of Buffalo and Erie County” by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at http://www.hmgf.org/t. Message & Data Rate May Apply. You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to 20222; text HELP to 20222 for help. For our privacy policy and all other donor policies, visit http://www.uwbec.org/donorpolicies.

Have a great holiday season, and THANK YOU for everything you contribute to us and our community!

Report to the Community

Earlier this month, we gathered at the First Niagara Center Harbour Club for our annual Report to the Community, and we were very pleased to see more than 150 representatives from local companies, foundations, government, and nonprofit agencies there.

The event included an address by John Koelmel, president and CEO of First Niagara, who offered his perspective as a local business leader and a long-time United Way volunteer.  We also heard from United Way board chair and CEO of Merchants Insurance Bob Zak, Campaign chair and Regional Executive of National Grid Dennis Elsenbeck, and our president Michael Weiner; as well as a panel discussion facilitated by Steve Finch, United Way vice chair and GM Powertrain plant manager.

We are very excited about our accomplishments over the past year, and Bob Zak highlighted some of them. We raised $13.3 million, increased investments in community programs and eliminated our processing fee on donor designated contributions.

Michael Weiner went on to present an overview of some of the outcomes achieved by our funded programs over the past two years. Through programs in Education, 25,538 children were enrolled in high quality child care; 15,449 children improved their average daily attendance; and 15,737 youth improved their grade point average. In Income, 18,627 individuals utilized free income tax preparation services, 1,647 individuals secured employment, and 174 individuals purchased homes with the support of homebuyer education and matched savings programs. Outcomes achieved by programs in Health & Wellness include 1,080 at-risk mothers being enrolled in prenatal care or receiving other assistance to improve the health of their children; 11,386 children and youth avoiding institutionalization or foster placement; and 3,788 seniors receiving transportation to health professionals or grocery stores.

We are so very proud of what we achieved – and it would have been impossible to do without our Program Partners, our community, and YOU! Thank you to everyone that helped us have such a successful year!

WNY Holiday Partnership

Even though the snow is not yet flying, we are working hard as a proud partner in the WNY Holiday Partnership (WNYHP) – a collaborative of toy giveaway programs for the December holidays. Working together, the WNYHP members create one network where everyone can come together, without duplicate efforts and services, so that we can all maximize impact to help brighten the holidays for needy families.

Families who need help for the holidays can call 2-1-1 (simply pick up the phone and dial 2-1-1, or call 1-866-696-9211) to find out what they need to do to get help.  2-1-1 has all the information regarding the application process, including eligibility guidelines and where to go for assistance.  2-1-1 can also provide help for food and other needs and is available to call year round.

We are proud to partner with our fellow WNYHP  members:

2-1-1 WNY/CRS

Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo


Hamburg Youth Bureau

Ladies of Charity (Catholic Charities Parish Outreach)

Lancaster Youth Bureau

New Creation fellowship

Niagara County Partnership

Olmsted Center for Sight

Response to Love Center

The Buffalo News Neediest Fund

The Salvation Army (Buffalo, Lockport, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda & rural Service Units)

The USMC Toys for Tots program

The United Way of Niagara

Service Collaborative of WNY

By bringing together partners from different areas we can make the holidays brighter for thousands of our WNY neighbors. Please consider giving this year, or pass on this information to a family you know who is in need. Last year the WNYHP collected and distributed toys/gifts to more than 14,000 children! We’d love to make that number even higher this year.

There is always special need for toys for older children (ages 9-12) – many people focus on toys for infants, toddlers, and younger children, so there is often a shortage of items for older kids.

Anyone who wants to donate toys/gifts can also do so year round by organizing toy collections. For more information on year round donations contact Bernie Miltenberger at 887-2693 or e-mail her at bernie.miltenberger@uwbec.org.

During the holidays toys can be donated at any of the drop-off sites (all Wegmans and all Buffalo News offices) or any Toys for Tots barrel.  Everything you give will all go to the same place in the end: to families in need. This holiday season let’s work together as a community to make children’s dreams come true!

Volunteer Spotlight: Dave at BBBSEC

This year we have once again partnered with the Buffalo Bills to create the United Way LIVE UNITED SPOTLIGHT award, to showcase some outstanding volunteers from our Program Partners. We are appreciative of every single person that chooses to volunteer, but the volunteers chosen for this award have gone above and beyond their duties. This week we would like to focus on Dave Hore, who has been with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County for 22 years!

Dave started volunteering for BBBSEC in 1989, while working full-time as a CPA. He mentored his first little until he was 18 years old. His passion was visible throughout the entire organization and he was asked to join the Board of Directors. Eventually Dave continued on to become BBBSEC’s Board of Director’s president.

After becoming president Dave started devoting even more time to the organization, volunteering 10 hour every week to make his new role successful – and the results were visible. In 2010 David became BBBEC’s CEO, along with working a full-time job at PCB Group as their Co-President. In his new role, David volunteers an extraordinary 30 hours a week – on top of his full-time job!

Dave still finds time to spend with his 17-year-old little, as well as his four children and his wife. David proves that when you want to make time for something that’s important to you you can do it, and he’s truly LIVING UNITED. Thank you Dave for everything you do!

Watch David’s interview with WKBW here.

Lamar Outdoor Advertising

If you have ever seen a billboard on a street or next to a highway in Western New York, you are familiar with the work of Lamar Outdoor Advertising.  What you may not know is that Lamar – the company and its employees – are incredibly committed to our community.  A visit to the Lamar offices displays, quite literally, the extent of the team’s activities.  Plaques, awards and recognition from dozens of community agencies line the walls, hallways and workspaces.  It is clear that Rick Dvorak, General Manager and a transplanted Torontonian, loves this community, and he does everything he can to support nonprofits in health and human services, the arts – everything that helps improve quality of life in Erie County.

Every year, new United Way billboards pop up on our major routes – it’s always exciting to see our message on display during the morning or evening commute.  Those billboards are there for one reason: the generosity of Rick and Lamar Advertising.  They put up those billboards whenever and wherever they have space available, and help us get the word out about United Way in a way we would not be able to afford otherwise.

Starting as a small sign company, Lamar Advertising has become one of the nation’s largest outdoor advertising corporations, with more than 151,000 billboards and over 103,000 logo displays across the US and Canada. We like to think their community spirit, through their support of United Way and so many other worthy causes, is a big part of their success. Lamar believes in the importance of giving back, and we can’t thank them enough for everything they have done to help us get our message out.