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Code of Ethics

United Way of Northeast Florida (hereafter referred to as United Way) is recognized synonymously with charitable service. We have a unique role as a leader of local philanthropy benefiting human services while serving as a major resource for local nonprofit organizations.

Throughout Northeast Florida, United Way has earned public trust, nurtured by more than 78 years of ethical, honest and responsible charitable service to the community. We believe the continued success of United Way depends upon maintaining these high standards of performance, professionalism and ethical conduct.

United Way places the highest priority on its relationship with the community. As an important part of this relationship, United Way responds to, serves and supports the community by working to unite people and resources in building a stronger and healthier community. To achieve this goal, United Way strives to create the vision and direction with local leadership and by encouraging the community to be the best it can be.

This Code of Ethics is the policy of United Way and expresses our fundamental values. Accordingly, this code guides the conduct of all employees, volunteers, and professional representatives of United Way, and is intended to foster an environment promoting an ethical awareness in all we do to carry out the mission of United Way.

A personal commitment to integrity in all circumstances benefits each individual as well as the organization.
United Way employees:
  • Respect and seek out the truth to 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.

As an employer, United Way 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 Management:
  • Encourages employee development, and communicates with staff to help them achieve their career goals; Evaluates employees on a fair and consistent basis, so that all employees know what is expected 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.
  • Strive to meet performance standards at the highest level; Refuse to engage in or tolerate any fraud, misuse, abuse or waste of United Way resources; Encourage growth and self-improvement in themselves and co-workers; Exhibit respect for co-workers and all those with whom they come in 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 own personal obligations; Discuss any questions concerning interpretations or compliance with the Code of Ethics with their immediate supervisor or a member of management;
  • Encourage the reporting of breaches of the Code of Ethics policy and protect those who report.

The continued success of United Way is dependent on public trust earned through ethical, honest, fair, and responsible charitable service to its donors, participating agencies, users of services, volunteers and the entire community. United Way must demonstrate the highest standards of performance and professionalism. We will:
  • Make full and fair disclosure of all relevant information to customers, who have a right to know how their dollars are invested; Promote good stewardship of all contributions, grants, investment income and other resources; Utilize resources wisely, efficiently and objectively to pay operating expenses, salaries and employee benefits, and refrain from allowing expenditures of United Way funds that, by their nature or amount, do not directly advance United Way's vision and mission; Comply with all laws, regulations and policies established for non-profits;
  • Demonstrate sound financial and administrative management practices through auditors' reports or other valid documentation.

The most responsive contributors are those who have the opportunity to become informed and involved. Fund raising is always conducted in a voluntary manner. Coercion creates animosity, hinders communications and understanding, and eventually leads to decreased support.

The coercion of donors - whether real or implied - is contrary to the operating principles of United Way. Giving is a personal matter; no form of coercion is acceptable.
Volunteers, who serve United Way through its Board of Trustees/Directors or otherwise, are crucial to the success of United Way. In order to assist volunteers to serve effectively and to obtain satisfaction from their service, all United Way employees must:
  • Support volunteers so they can perform to the highest level of their ability and personal satisfaction; Treat all volunteers with fairness, equity and respect, providing appropriate mechanisms for their views and interest to be expressed; Involve volunteers at appropriate levels 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 in the spirit of voluntarism;
  • Set clear boundaries regarding professional protocol requiring that employees not engage volunteers in internal staff issues or concerns relating to personal performance of themselves or others;

Volunteers also represent United Way and set examples through their ethical conduct and professionalism. Volunteers shall:
  • Review the Code of Ethics of United Way and ensure that they adhere to the spirit of the Code when making policy or otherwise managing the affairs of the organization; Notify the President of United Way if there are issues relating to staff performance or other concerns regarding the professionalism of any staff member of United Way. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the performance of the President.
  • Not knowingly take any action or make any statement intended to influence the conduct of United Way in such a way as to confer a financial benefit on such volunteer/s, their immediate family members, or any corporation 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/Trustees or Committees a matter for consideration or decision that raises a potential conflict of interest for any member of the Board/s or the Committee, the member shall disclose the potential conflict of interest as soon as he/she becomes aware of it, and shall withdraw from discussion, review and voting in connection with the matter. The disclosure and withdrawal shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
Vendors in our service area are treated fairly to avoid favoritism or the appearance of impropriety. United Way:
  • Affords all vendors in our service area the opportunity to offer or qualify their products or services on a competitive basis;
  • Conducts all competitive bidding in a fair and professional manner, giving no special preferences or advantages to any vendor.

United Way is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the principle of diversity. Employees and volunteers:
  • Value, champion and embrace diversity as an integral part of their business; Respect co-workers and other individuals without regard to race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, martial status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or status as a qualified disabled individual; Support equal opportunity programs; Refuse to engage in or tolerate in others any form of sexual harassment as prohibited according to the Sexual Harassment policy as communicated in the Employee Handbook;
  • Strive to create an environment conducive to professionalism.

No employee should accept any form of gratuity for doing their job; therefore, employees:
  • Do not solicit or accept gratuities, gifts or favors, other than promotional gifts of nominal value, for yourself or your family; Do not accept food, transportation, lodging, or entertainment unless directly related to United Way business;
  • Do not use United Way resources for personal gain.

To avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest which would tarnish the image of United Way and undermine the public's trust, United Way employees will:
  • Avoid any activity or outside interest which conflicts, or appears to conflict, with the best interest of United Way, including involvement with a current or potential United Way vendor, grantee, or competing organization, unless disclosed to the employee's immediate supervisor;
  • Refrain from participating in or influencing any decision or other action of United Way that could result in a direct or indirect benefit to his/her family or any organization with which the employee is substantially affiliated.

Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. United Way employees, volunteers and representatives shall:
  • Ensure that all information which is considered confidential or privileged or which is not publicly available is not disclosed inappropriately;
  • Ensure that all non-public information of any persons or firms acquired by United Way personnel in dealing with outside firms or on behalf of United Way is treated as confidential and not disclosed.

United Way employees, volunteers and representatives are encouraged to disclose any perceived breaches of the Code of Ethics of which they are aware. Disclosure should be made to a supervisor or a member of management. Any reported breaches will be investigated and appropriate action, if needed, will be taken. Confidentiality will be maintained for the individual disclosing the breach, unless the matter raises serious legal implications.

United Way management will not take any adverse action against employees solely for disclosing perceived breaches of the Code. United Way encourages all employees to be prompt, open and forthright in reporting perceived breaches of the Code of Ethics according to the Open Door Policy as communicated in the Employee Handbook.
Travel and entertainment related expenses, solicitation and favoritism are addressed in the Employee Handbook that is distributed to all employees upon hire.