Myths and Facts about United Way

Every year since at least 2005, an anonymous email floats around the internet with some outrageous allegations about the salary and perks of various CEO’s of well-known world organizations such as UNICEF, America Red Cross, World Vision and United Way.

The source is not known for these highly inaccurate statements which are obviously intended to create sensation with readers who may believe them to be true just because the email came from a friend. It would appear the author has chosen to target CEO’s of large, reputable charities with falsehoods about their compensation, while identifying another charity’s CEO as apparently having a contrasting very low salary.

While those more familiar with the good work of United Way will simply dismiss and delete it as just another piece of un-attributable spam, others unfortunately may permit it to influence their opinion and even propagate the myths by passing it on to others.

Here’s some information to assist you in responding to questions pertaining to this email:

While we cannot speak on behalf of other charitable organizations, we can provide factual information about United Way, and in particular, United Way Perth-Huron.

United Way subjects itself to rigorous governance and fiscal stewardship examination through a number of independent third-parties. We also welcome that same rigor by donors, large and small, as they do their homework in contemplating where to target their philanthropy.

About United Way Worldwide

Brian Gallagher (the United Way CEO referred to in the ‘2005 Email’) is the President of United Way Worldwide – a leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories; with a brand value estimated at $14.3 Billion

  • He does not have golf or yacht club membership (he doesn’t even sail) or any of the other outlandish perks stated in the email
  • His compensation is set by a Board of Trustees and is publicly available for those that wish to know

About United Way Perth-Huron

  • Ryan Erb is the Executive Director of United Way Perth-Huron.
    • When travelling across Perth and Huron, he drives in a Chevy Sonic, 100% generously sponsored by Stratford Motor Products (not a private jet).
    • His family vehicle is a mini-van (not a Rolls Royce)
    • United Way, and other charities, compete with major institutions and the corporate sector for both staff and leadershi We are extremely fortunate to have executive leadership that is motivated beyond the fair monetary compensation package we are able to provide.
    • United Way Perth-Huron files its annual CRA T3010 report, which includes salary ranges for its highest compensated employees
  • All salaries at United Way Perth-Huron, including senior management, are benchmarked against other Canadian non-profit organizations of similar size and scope in Perth and Huron and among other United Ways throughout Canada.
  • In our Counties, United Way participates in a survey of not-for-profit organizations comparing all salary levels and job descriptions in the social services sector so that salaries remain reasonable and fair in comparison with others in the non- profit industry.
  • United Way Perth-Huron is in compliance with the required regulatory reporting to Canada Revenue Agency for its executive compensation via its CRA T3010 form. More information may be obtainable from CRA.
  • United Way Perth-Huron’s fundraising and related administration costs which include executive and other salaries is approximately 16 percent. Money raised in the community, stays in the community!

About United Way Canada-Centraide

  • Dr. Jacline A. Nyman is the President and CEO of United Way Canada-Centraide.

United Way Centraide staff work closely with community partners, staff and volunteers across Canada, and are hired based on the skills and expertise they bring. Its national Board of Directors is made up of volunteers who traditionally have previous experience serving on a local United Way Centraide Board and bring specific expertise from the Canadian public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Executive salaries at United Ways and Centraides across Canada are established, by their respective Board of Directors, through a comparison of executive compensation at other charities, an assessment of roles and responsibilities, and a commitment to spending dollars wisely. Inherent in our values, we provide non-partisan leadership and embrace diversity. We strive to demonstrate trust, integrity, respect, inclusivity and transparency in everything we do. This includes ensuring that staff is compensated fairly for the work they carry out on our behalf.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requires charities to provide the salary ranges of their most highly paid employees. The salary ranges, without the names and actual salaries, are currently published on its website. Salary information is now available on the Canada Revenue Agency website at

United Way- Centraides across Canada have a long history of responsible stewardship. We continue to be acknowledged for our best practices promoting openness and accountability, and make our administrative and fundraising costs available to the public through a variety of means including yearly external audits and annual reports.

Each United Way Centraide in Canada operates as an independent and autonomous organization, following the terms of our membership agreement. While the ratio varies from one local office to another, on average 85% of dollars raised are invested in communities by way of allocations to agencies or though programs delivered directly by us. That leaves an average of 15% of revenues to cover fundraising and administrative expenses.

United Way’s across Canada have adopted Transparency in Accounting and Financial Reporting (TAFR) principles for a common standard for reporting fundraising and related administration costs

Mind your memes: Research in the giving season

⇧ United Way Waterloo Region Communities Blog post

Letters from our partners in support of United Way

Letter of Support for UWPH from Family Services Perth-Huron

Letter of Support for UWPH from Local Community Food Centre

Letter of Support for UWPH from Stratford/Perth Shelterlink

For more information, please contact us at 519-271-7730

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