By way of disclosure, I am a member of the United Way of Bedford County board.
We got an anonymous editor comment (people who send stuff like this never leave their name with it) in response to a story last week about the United Way campaign kickoff:
I cannot in good faith, send these folks any money. The Director of the South Carilona Unite Way program was given a 1.2 MILLION pay package just recently. I do donate to the State BSA and the Salvation Army who will give you salaray information of their program on demand.
I run into this all the time. Each United Way is independent and locally-managed. Not one penny of your local United Way contributions goes to this person in South Carolina. (I suppose it's possible that our commenter is from South Carolina, in which case he's entitled to withhold his contribution. But he didn't say so, and he was commenting on our news story here in Tennessee.)
United Way of Bedford County has one paid employee, Dawn Holley, and I guarantee you she works for every penny she makes.
A popular personal finance guru based in Williamson County sometimes discourages his listeners from giving to United Way because he's heard that United Way supports agency X, which he finds offensive, or refuses to support agency Y, which he supports. But what he's responding to are decisions made by individual United Ways in other parts of the country. His own local United Way, not to mention the United Way here in Bedford County, may have completely different priorities. Each United Way makes its own decisions about budget, about which agencies to support, and about whom to hire.
Someone who refuses to give to their local United Way because of the director of United Way of South Carolina's salary isn't standing on principle; they're just looking for an excuse.