I remember seeing their goofy commercials on TV when watching Saturday morning cartoons. They always struck me as a kind of hokey organization. But after looking around for a charity that I can really believe in, the United Way suits me best.

The main thing about the United Way that makes it different from most publicized charities is that it works in your community. If I ask you to donate to the United Way, I don’t want you to donate to my United Way (although that would be nice of you). I fully expect that you will donate to your local United Way.

The United Way funds local programs that foster improved community. In my area these programs include Meals On Wheels, who supply food to those who can’t obtain it for themselves. They provide low-cost daycare services for working single mothers who would have no other recourse for making a living for their families. They’re instumental in systems like 2-1-1, a community outreach/hotline service. They provide family counseling and job training. All of this is located in your region, with your neighbors lending a hand to help neighbors.