Ethical conduct of the organization, its volunteers, staff and representatives is critical to achieving the mission of United Way of Berks County. The unique trust placed on the organization to serve the common good, United Way of Berks County commits to maintaining the highest ethical standards and practices. As a valued partner, we ask that you follow these principals in all of your dealings on behalf of the organization.
The Code of Ethics and Conduct express the fundamental values required to implement our mission and promote an environment of trust and respect. It is intended to foster an environment of ethical conduct in all our business internally and with the community.
While no document can anticipate all challenging situations, the Code communicates key guidelines to assist with making good decisions aligning with our values and legal requirements.
The mission of United Way of Berks County is to improve lives by inspiring collaboration, volunteerism and financial support to build a stronger community.
As a leader in serving the health and human service needs of the community, earning and maintaining public trust is critical. Our Core Values provide the foundation for our actions and decisions.
Integrity and Accountability
- We act in a principled manner that merits trust.
- We uphold our mission with actions that inspire and promote confidence of our stakeholders and the community.
- We maintain the highest level of duty, including the prudent use of resources; accurate and honest disclosure of information.
- We are strong when we are inclusive.
- We aspire to involve people from all segments of our community in every aspect of our work.
- We demonstrate respect for the dignity, uniqueness and intrinsic worth of all individuals.
- We are relevant and impactful because of our spirit of volunteerism.
- We encourage and invite individuals to participate in philanthropic activities by donating, time, talent and money.
- The development of volunteer leadership is a critical component of service to our community.
- We make a positive difference and have measurable impact on challenges facing our community.
- We are committed to a United Way that is collaborative and relevant to our community and the people we serve.
- We are stewards of community resources and accountable for our work and sustainable results.
- We are leaders of a process that multiplies the impact of people’s innate desire and capacity to care for one another.
- We are an effective convener and collaborator – bringing multiple segments of the community together to accomplish common goals.
- We help transform compassion and giving into positive community change.
- We achieve the greatest results by supporting one another and creating a positive work environment.
- We build trust among each other with effective and honest communication.
United Way of Berks County is committed to the highest ethical standards. Our reputation depends on ethical behavior and conduct of everyone representing the organization – volunteers, staff and representatives. The Code is based on our mission and our fundamental core values of integrity and accountability, inclusiveness, volunteerism, community impact, community leadership and teamwork.
Personal and Professional Integrity
A personal and professional commitment to integrity in all circumstances benefits each individual as well as the organization. Therefore, we will:
- Strive to meet the highest standards of performance, quality, service and achievement in working towards United Way of Berks County’s mission.
- Communicate openly and honestly and avoid misrepresentation.
- Exhibit respect and fairness toward those with whom we come into contact and in all our activities.
- Promote a work environment which fosters open communication and where all opinions are valued.
- Provide a professional work environment free from any form of harassment to include physical, psychological, sexual or verbal harassment.
- Demonstrate excellence and commitment to continual self-improvement.
United Way of Berks County is responsible to stakeholders, including donors, partners, and the community at large. To uphold this trust, we will:
- Ensure full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable/transparent disclosure of organizational activities.
- Promote good stewardship of United Way of Berks County resources, including donor gifts, grants and other contributions.
- Ensure appropriate management policies and internal control procedures are in place.
- Observe and comply with all applicable government laws and regulations affecting United Way of Berks County.
- Refrain from using organizational resources for non-United Way of Berks County purposes or for personal gain.
- Demonstrate responsibility for our work and the results of our work.
Conflict of Interest
We will not engage in activities that create actual, apparent or potential conflict of interest which may undermine the public’s trust in the organization. Therefore, we will:
- Familiarize ourselves with the requirements of the United Way of Berks County Conflict of Interest Police and procedures implemented by the organization, complete the Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement and Affirmation of Compliance annually and disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest as soon as it is known, or reasonably should be known.
- Avoid any activity or outside interest which conflicts or appears to conflict with the best interest of United Way of Berks County, including involvement with a current or potential vendor, grantee or competing organization unless disclosed and not deemed inappropriate by the Governance Committee and Board.
- Avoid appearances of impropriety.
- Ensure that travel, entertainment and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the mission of United Way of Berks County and not for personal gain. If an employee is provided the use of a laptop or other equipment, use of the items must comply with established policies.
- Disqualify ourselves from voting on a motion relative to a declared conflict of interest. Participation in discussion related to an area of conflict is permitted so long as the conflict is publicly announced.
- Decline any gift, gratuity, or favor, unless token value, in the performance of United Way of Berks County duties from any current service provider and/or those interested in being a service provider to the Organization.
- Ensure that outside activities do not adversely affect the performance of United Way of Berks County duties or the achievement of its mission. Employees are not permitted to actively participate in fund raising activities of other local nonprofit human service organizations without permission from the President. Employees are expected to dedicate their professional energies and skills to United Way of Berks County job responsibilities and all outside employment will be disclosed.
In our staff and volunteer roles, we may possess information of a nonpublic, confidential nature related to the Organization, a donor, a partner or others working with United Way of Berks County. In dealing with such information, we will protect the privacy of our stakeholders to maintain our professionalism. Therefore, we will:
- Familiarize ourselves with the requirements of the United Way of Berks County Confidentiality Policy and complete the policy acknowledgement on an annual basis.
- Respect the privacy rights of all individuals in the performance of United Way of Berks County duties.
- Refrain from using information acquired in the course of work activities for personal gain.
- Ensure that all confidential, privileged or nonpublic information is disclosed only to individuals who have a business need to know.
The most responsive contributors are those who are educated, informed, and involved in the Organization’s activities. Giving is a personal matter and decision. The coercion of donors, whether real or perceived is contrary to the operating principles of United Way and is unacceptable. Therefore, we will:
- Be respectful of the needs and interest of the donor or prospective donor.
- Honor donor requests to remain anonymous and/or to curtail repeated mailings or solicitations.
- Ensure solicitation and promotional materials are truthful and accurate.
- Familiarize ourselves with the United Way of Berks County Gift Acceptance Policy.
Diversity and Inclusion
United Way of Berks County is committed to creating and sustaining an environment to encourage individuals to reach their fullest potential in a positive and productive manner. We:
- Take the broadest view of diversity, going beyond visible differences to affirm the essence of all individuals including the realities, background, experiences, skills and perspectives that make each person who they are.
- Seek to support and engage the entire community in our work without regard to race, religion, national origin or ancestry, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, veteran-status, marital status, familial status, socio-economic status or any other difference.
- Believe that diversity of voices and perspectives improves our responsiveness and ability to understand community needs, strengths and resources; adds to organizational excellence; and makes us better stewards of donor dollars.
United Way of Berks County encourages individual participation in civic affairs. However, as a charitable organization, United Way of Berks County may not make contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee and may not intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition of any candidate for public office. Therefore, we will:
- Refrain from making any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee of behalf of United Way of Berks County.
- Refrain from using organizational resources, facilities, or personnel to endorse or oppose a candidate for public office or political committee or to influence legislation.
- Clearly communicate we are not acting on behalf of the Organization, if identified as an official, staff or volunteer of United Way of Berks County, while engaging in political activities in an individual capacity. Employees of United Way may not run for and/or hold a public office.
We (volunteers, staff and representatives) have a responsibility to comply with the Code of Ethics and Conduct and report violations or suspected violation in accordance with this Whistleblower Policy. The policy encourages action when there are concerns within the Organization. United Way of Berks County affirms prompt and fair resolution of all reported breaches.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a breach must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation of the Code of Ethics and Conduct. Any allegations proven to have been made maliciously or were knowingly false will be treated as an independent breach of the Code of Ethics and Conduct.
No one, who in good faith reports a breach or potential breach will suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment and/or service consequences. Retaliation against a person who reports a breach in good faith, will be treated as an independent breach of the Code of Ethics and Conduct.
All reported breaches will be treated in confidence as much as the Organization’s duty to investigate and the law allows. If confidentiality cannot be maintained, the individual disclosing the possible breach will be notified if possible.
How to Report
United Way of Berks County has and open-door policy and suggests that volunteers, staff, and representatives share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with a Senior Vice-President who can address them. For suspected fraud, or when we are not satisfied or comfortable with United Way of Berks County’s open-door policy, we should contact the organization’s Ethics Officer, the Chair of the Board of Directors, the Chair of the Governance Committee or the President. Their contact information is listed below. We may also submit an anonymous communication via Lighthouse Services Inc., an independent third-party ethics hotline, 24/7, using one of the following methods:
Telephone: English speaking USA and Canada: 844.477.0003
Spanish speaking North America: 800.216.1288
E-mail: email@example.com (must include “uwberks” with report)
Fax: 215.689.3885 (must include “uwberks” with report)
Persons to Contact
Ms. Monica Ruano-Wenrich, United Way of Berks County
25 North 2nd Street, Suite 101
Reading, PA 19601
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Mr. Scott Rehr, Emerald Advisers, LLC
3175 Oregon Pike
Leola, PA 17540
Chairman of the Governance Committee
Mr. David Turner, Met-Ed, A FirstEnergy Company
2800 Pottsville Pike, PO Box 16001
Reading, PA 19612
Ms. Tammy White, United Way of Berks County
25 North 2nd Street, Suite 101
Reading, PA 19601
What Happens After a Breach is Reported
All reported breaches are investigated and, if needed, appropriate action is taken based upon the policies of the organization, including termination of employment or service. If the complaint was not made anonymously, the Ethics Officer will acknowledge receipt of the reported breach or suspected breach within five business days.
The Ethics Officer is responsible for notifying the President of all reported breaches. The President and the Ethics Officer are responsible for investigating and resolving all complaints and allegations of breaches of the Code of Ethics and Conduct. The President is required to report all complaints and allegations to the Governance Committee, which will help determine if the matter should be referred to the Audit Committee, be dealt with by the Governance Committee or be handled by the President and the Ethics Officer. The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors will address all complaints and allegations regarding accounting and financial impropriety and misuse of the organization’s resources.
If the President is named in the report, the Chair of the Board of Directors will perform all the duties the President would otherwise have performed in a review and investigation. If the Ethics Officer is named in the report, the individual will be recused from the investigation.
Depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the Governance Committee, persons implicated in a report and investigation of unethical behavior may be given the opportunity to meet with the Executive Committee for further review and discussion. The involved party(ies) must submit a written request for review of the matter by the Executive Committee to the Ethics Officer and to the President. Upon 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.
Acknowledgement and Disclosure
On an annual basis, we will receive a copy of the Code of Ethics and Conduct/Whistleblower Policy and our obligations contained therein and acknowledge receipt. In addition, we will complete and submit an annual Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement and an acknowledge the Confidentiality Policy via the Confidentiality Agreement Form. Newly hired and/or recruited individuals will be complete this information as part of their orientation process.
Candidate for Public Office – an individual who offers herself/himself or is proposed by others as a contestant for an elected public office, whether such office is federal, state, or local.
Confidential Information – information entrusted to another person, with an understanding of privacy.
Coercion – the threat of the intention of forcing someone to do something.
Nonpublic Information – any business, financial or personal information that is not publicly known or available.
Political Committee – any party, committee, association, fund, or other organization organized and operated primarily for accepting contributions to influence the selection, nomination or election of any individual to any federal, state or local office.
Political Contributions – anything of value, including monetary and in-kind gifts, provided for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election.
Privileged Information – information protected from involuntary disclosure by legally recognized privileges such as attorney-client, et al.
Promotional Items of Nominal Value – gifts used to promote an entity’s name, product, or services with a retail value of $25 or less.
Representatives – individuals who provide personal services to United Way of Berks County as independent contractors, consultants, or loaned campaign specialists.
Staff – individuals who provide services to United Way of Berks County as employees, temporary employees or seasonal employees.
Stakeholders – an individual or entity that shares a vested interest in the vision/mission of United Way of Berks County.
Transparency – implies openness, communication and accountability.
Vendors – entities that provide goods and services to United Way of Berks County for a fee.
Volunteers – all members of the United Way of Berks County Board of Directors, all committees appointed by the Board of Directors, and others working on behalf of the organization that performs their duties without compensation.
Whistle Blower – someone who exposes wrongdoing inside an organization.