Code of Ethics

United Way of the Midlands is synonymous with charitable service. The general public associates the United Way name with many worthy causes across the community. Indeed, for many people, United Way is the primary way they meet their desire to help their fellow human beings.

United Way of the Midlands has a unique role as a leader in philanthropy to benefit human services, and as a major resource in our community.  Since 1923, United Way of the Midlands has earned public trust, nurtured by years of ethical, honest and responsible charitable service. The continued success of United Way of the Midlands depends upon the ethical conduct of its volunteers, employees, and other representatives.

United Way of the Midlands places the highest priority on its relationship with its supporters and the community. As part of this relationship, United Way of the Midlands responds to, serves and supports the community, working to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another. In an effort to achieve this goal, United Way of the Midlands strives to create a vision and direction that will generate leadership and encourage the community to be the best it can be.

United Way of the Midlands volunteers, employees and other representatives set an example for other nonprofit organizations by their high standards of performance, professionalism, volunteer and charitable activities, ethical conduct, and helping of the less fortunate.

This code of ethics is the policy of United Way of the Midlands and expresses fundamental values. Accordingly, this code guides the conduct of volunteers, employees and other representatives of United Way of the Midlands, and is intended to foster an environment that promotes ethical conduct in carrying out their responsibilities.

 

DIVERSITY AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

United Way of the Midlands is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to the principle of diversity. Our goal is to have our management, staff and volunteers genuinely demonstrate the principles of diversity, which enrich our community. We therefore:

  • Value, champion and embrace diversity in all aspects and respect others without regard for race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability
  • Refuse to engage in, or tolerate in others, any form of harassment

 

PERSONAL INTEGRITY

A personal commitment to integrity in all circumstances benefits each individual, as well as the organization. United Way of the Midlands employees:

  •     Respect and seek out the truth and avoid misrepresentation
  •     Ensure fairness and objectivity in all activities
  •     Set an example, as employees of a leading nonprofit organization, for high standards of professionalism
  •     Honor the right of privacy of all people, including co-workers, contributors, and beneficiaries
  •     Promote public confidence in philanthropic institutions

 

PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE

As an employer, United Way of the Midlands promotes professional excellence and encourages open and honest communication among all employees to create an atmosphere conducive to personal growth and career development.

United Way of the Midlands’ management:

  • Encourages employee development, and communicates with personnel to help them achieve their goals and increase their self-esteem through job enrichment
  • Evaluates employees on a fair and consistent basis, so that all employees know what is expected of them and how they are progressing toward fulfilling expectations
  • Shows respect and empathy for employees, and is considerate while being mindful of managerial responsibilities
  • Regularly solicits, and respects, the opinions of subordinates

United Way of the Midlands’ employees:

  • Strive to meet performance standards at the highest level
  • Refuse to engage in or tolerate any fraud, misuse, abuse or waste of United Way of the Midlands resources
  • Encourage growth and self-improvement in themselves and their co-workers
  • Exhibit respect for co-workers and all those with whom they come into contact
  • Have the courage to face situations squarely and offer a minority opinion when necessary
  • Examine all alternatives with the understanding that the easiest action is not always in the best interest of the organization
  • Comply with all legal requirements concerning substance abuse
  • Comply with all other laws and regulations affecting the organization and their personal obligations
  • Discuss any questions concerning interpretations or compliance with the code of ethics with their manager or other designated person
  • Encourage the reporting of breaches of the code and protect those who report

 

ACCOUNTABILITY AND EFFICIENCY

United Way of the Midlands has responsibilities to its customers, which include donors and other stakeholders. These customers have placed faith in United Way of the Midlands. To uphold this trust, United Way of the Midlands employees:

  • Make full and fair disclosure of all relevant information to customers, who have a right to know how their dollars are spent
  • Spend customers’ money wisely, efficiently and objectively
  • Are good stewards of contributions that are utilized by United Way of the Midlands to pay operating expenses, salaries and employee benefits, and refrain from allowing expenditures of United Way of the Midlands funds that, by their nature or amount, do not directly advance United Way of the Midlands’ mission

 

RESPONSIBILITY TO VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers who serve United Way of the Midlands through its board of directors or otherwise, are crucial to the success of United Way of the Midlands. In order to assist volunteers to serve effectively and to obtain satisfaction from their service, United Way of the Midlands managers and employees:

  • Support volunteers so they can perform to the highest level of their contribution and personal satisfaction
  • Treat all volunteers with fairness, equity and respect, providing appropriate mechanisms for their views and interests to be expressed
  • Involve volunteers at appropriate levels and phases of the decision-making process
  • Assist in the development and the understanding of the roles of volunteers and employees, respectively; set clear standards of performance for volunteers and appropriately recognize their contributions

 

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Members of the Board of Directors represent United Way of the Midlands and set examples through their ethical conduct and professionalism. Board members:

  • Review the Code of Ethics of United Way of the Midlands to ensure that they adhere to the spirit of the code when making policy, or otherwise managing the affairs of the organization
  • Do not knowingly take any action or make any statement intended to influence the conduct of United Way of the Midlands in such a way as to confer any financial benefit on such volunteers, their immediate family members, or any organization in which they, or their family members, have a significant interest as stockholders, directors or officers

In the event that there comes before the board of directors, or the Executive Committee, a matter for consideration or decision that raises a potential conflict of interest for any member of the board or the committee, the member shall disclose the potential conflict of interest as soon as he or she becomes aware of it, and shall abstain from voting in connection with the matter. The disclosure and abstention shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES OF VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers also represent United Way of the Midlands and set examples through their ethical conduct and professionalism. Volunteers:

  • Review the Code of Ethics of United Way of the Midlands to ensure that they adhere to the spirit of the code when making policy, or otherwise managing the affairs of the organization
  • Do not knowingly take any action or make any statement intended to influence the conduct of United Way of the Midlands in such a way as to confer any financial benefit on such volunteers, their immediate family members, or any organization in which they, or their family members, have a significant interest as stockholders, directors or officers

 

VENDOR RELATIONS

Vendors are treated fairly to avoid favoritism or appearances of impropriety. United Way of the Midlands:

  • Affords all vendors the opportunity to offer or qualify their products or services on a competitive basis
  • Conducts all competitive bidding in a professional manner
  • Purchases all products and services under its purchasing policy procedure, which adhere to this code of ethics

 

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

To avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest which would tarnish the image of the organization and undermine the public’s trust in all United Way organizations, United Way of the Midlands employees:

  • Avoid any activity or outside interest which conflicts or appears to conflict with the best interest of United Way of the Midlands, including involvement with a current or potential United Way of the Midlands vendor, grantee, or competing organization, unless disclosed to and not deemed to be inappropriate by the employee’s supervisor
  • Refrain from participating in or influencing any decision or other action of United Way of the Midlands, or any organization, that could result in a direct or indirect benefit to his or her family, or any organization with which the employee is materially affiliated
  • Employees are encouraged to stay well informed on local, state and national affairs. However, employees should be sure that their participation in political activities in no way reflects unfavorably on the company
  • Employees should not make any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee in the name of United Way of the Midlands
  • Employees should not use any organizational financial resources, facilities or personnel to endorse or oppose a candidate for public office
  • Employees are encouraged to clearly communicate that they are engaging in political activities in an individual capacity
  • Employees should not engage in political activities in a manner that may create the appearance that such activity is by or on behalf of United Way of the Midlands

 

PERSONAL GAIN

No employee should accept any gratuity or favor for doing his or her job. United Way of the Midlands employees:

  • Do not solicit or accept gratuities, gifts or favors, other than promotional gifts of nominal value ($50 or less), for themselves or their families
  • Do not accept food, transportation, lodging or entertainment unless directly related to United Way of the Midlands business
  • Do not use United Way of the Midlands resources for personal gain

 

TRAVEL, ENTERTAINMENT AND RELATED EXPENSES

Travel, entertainment and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the mission of United Way of the Midlands. Accordingly, expenses incurred will comply with policies adopted by the United Way of the Midlands Board of Directors.

 

OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT AND OTHER ACTIVITIES

When someone accepts employment with United Way of the Midlands, the first responsibility is to United Way of the Midlands and to efficiently performing assigned duties. Supplemental outside employment is not a problem as long as it does not:

  • Interfere with regular work hours
  • Affect the efficient performance of regular duties
  • Cause an employee to be an accident hazard through fatigue, worry or other conditions

Employees must not use United Way of the Midlands resources to facilitate any outside employment or other activity.

 

FAVORITISM

Favoritism based on family or close personal relationships is unfair to other employees. The appearance of favoritism is easily perceived, even in some cases of friendship that otherwise are harmless. Accordingly:

  • Persons related to United Way of the Midlands employees by blood or marriage are not employed, except under special circumstances that are clearly in the best interest of United Way of the Midlands and disclosed immediately to the manager of Human Resources
  • United Way of the Midlands employees do not supervise or exercise management authority over staff with whom they have a relationship that adversely affects impartiality
  • United Way of the Midlands employees consider the nature and appearance of their relationships with other employees to ensure that their decisions and actions are fair to all staff
  • United Way of the Midlands employees with decision-making authority do not improperly influence the selection of consultants or service providers who are affiliated with, or employ or are employed by, a person with whom they have a relationship that adversely affects impartiality

 

SOLICITATIONS

Employees are prohibited from soliciting or distributing materials to their co-workers for personal, religious, charitable or fraternal organizations during working time. Such solicitations and distributions can cause a disruption of the normal work flow and can create problems among fellow workers. Working time means any time in which the employee is supposed to be performing work duties and generally includes all time except when the employee is on lunch or on break. Employees who are on break may not solicit or distribute materials to employees who are on working time. Furthermore, United Way of the Midlands reserves the right to bar any solicitations or distributions for causes or organizations which are contrary to the mission of the United Way or which the United Way, in its sole judgment, believes may reflect negatively on it.

 

CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. United Way of the Midlands employees:

  • Ensure that all information which is confidential or privileged or which is not publicly available is not disclosed inappropriately
  • Ensure that all non-public information of other persons or firms acquired by United Way of the Midlands personnel in dealing with outside firms on behalf of United Way of the Midlands is treated as confidential and not disclosed

United Way of the Midlands may collect e-mail addresses and other personally identifiable data about donors, volunteers and visitors to our websites when such information is voluntarily submitted. All such information is collected and stored in a manner appropriate to the nature of the data. United Way of the Midlands does not sell or otherwise disclose this information outside the organization unless it is explicitly requested in writing (for example, when a donor requests direct acknowledgement for their contribution to a designated agency). 

 

DISCLOSURE

Reporting Known or Suspected Illegal or Fraudulent Behavior – Reports of known or suspected violations of law, accounting irregularities or any other dishonest and/or unethical behavior should be made to the Chairman of the Board of Directors, if the matter involves a volunteer or United Way’s President. If the matter involves the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the report should be made to the Chairman of the Finance Committee. For matters involving staff other than the President, the report should be made to the President. The report should be written and made as soon as possible after the events that gave rise to the report. The report should set forth in detail the basis for the individual’s concern. The person(s) making such a report is (are) not responsible for investigating the activity or for determining fault or corrective measures. The goal of this policy is to discourage illegal activity and improper business conduct that damages United Way of the Midlands’ good name.

The President and/or the Chairman of the Board of Directors will conduct a preliminary review of the reported situation and determine the appropriate course of action. The President shall date and log all written reports of known or suspected improprieties or misuse of resources and record the results of the preliminary review. He/she also will acknowledge receipt of the report and confirm to the complainant that the matter is under review. If the President is named in the report, the Chairman of the Board of Directors will perform all the duties the President would otherwise have performed in a review and investigation of impropriety or misuse of resources. If it is determined a formal investigation should be conducted the matter will be turned over to United Way of the Midlands' Finance Committee.

If the President and/or Chairman of the Board of Directors do not refer the matter to the Finance Committee, and the individual who submitted the report believes further review is necessary, the individual may submit their report directly to the Chairman of the Finance Committee.

Investigation – The Chairman of the Finance Committee shall date and log all written reports of known or suspected improprieties or misuse of resources. He/she also will acknowledge receipt of the report and confirm to the complainant that the matter is under review.

The Chairman of the Finance Committee or his/her designee (usually the President, if the President was not named in the report) will investigate the matter, meeting separately with all individuals named in the report, and with others who may have knowledge of the facts set forth in the report. United Way of the Midlands will treat all such reports, the sources of such reports and their investigation confidentially, recognizing, however, that in the course of investigating and resolving these matters some dissemination of information to others may be necessary and/or appropriate, particularly if legal action ensues. On completion of the investigation, the Chairman of the Finance Committee will report his/her findings and conclusions to the President and the Executive Committee. Based upon the report by the Chairman of the Finance Committee, the Executive Committee will determine if, and in what form and manner, additional action will be taken. As appropriate and as determined by the President and the Executive Committee, a full report of the incident will be made to the Board of Directors.

Appeal Review – Depending on the circumstances and at the discretion of the Executive Committee, persons implicated in the report and investigation of impropriety or misuse of resources may be given the opportunity to meet with the Executive Committee for further review and discussion of the matter. The involved party(s) must submit a written request for review of the matter by the Executive Committee. On completion of the appeal review, the person(s) will receive an explanation of the conclusions reached and the reasons for those conclusions. Decisions resulting from appeal reviews by the Executive Committee will be final.

Non-retaliation – If an individual filed such a report in good faith, the individual will not be disciplined or otherwise penalized because of the report, regardless of whether or not the report is sustained. If it appears that such a report was not filed in good faith, disciplinary action may be taken as determined by the President and/or the Executive Committee.

This code of ethics is annually reviewed and updated as appropriate and subject to approval by the Board of Directors of United Way of the Midlands.