Code of Ethics


United Way of Southern Maine (UWSM) believes that every individual has a right to be treated respectfully. This right should never be compromised, no matter what the situation or the organizational needs of UWSM.


  • Be treated with respect and trusted as a colleague.
  • Give and receive honest, constructive feedback.
  • Decline assignments that reasonably feel threatening or unsafe.
  • Receive advice and support from a designated manager.
  • Be kept informed and updated on organizational issues and activities.
  • Have problems or concerns addressed promptly, without fear of reprisal.
  • Share ideas and be involved in problem-solving.


As each person connected with UWSM has a right to be treated respectfully, each person, in turn, has a responsibility to treat others with respect. As a result, we hold volunteers and staff to these standards of conduct. When one’s conduct could be perceived as a threat to others in UWSM, to UWSM itself, or to the community, UWSM will work with the individual to resolve the situation in a manner that does not compromise UWSM’s ability to fulfill its mission.

This code is subject to the policies and procedures of United Way of Southern Maine. The code applies to all representatives of the organization – volunteers, Loaned Executives, and staff – and requires the commitment and accountability of each individual.


United Way of Southern Maine is committed to the highest ethical standards. Based on the unique trust placed in United Way of Southern Maine to serve the public good, we have a special obligation to act ethically. The success of the United Way system and our reputation depend upon the ethical conduct of everyone affiliated with United Way of Southern Maine. Volunteers, staff, and representatives set an example for each other, and for United Way partners, by their pursuit of excellence in high standards of performance, professionalism, and ethical conduct.

This United Way of Southern Maine Code of Ethics (Code) is based on our mission and guided by our organization’s core values: Community Centered; Results Focused; Intentionally Collaborative; Committed to Excellence; and Leading with Integrity.

We are mindful that these core values must be clearly articulated, communicated and continuously reinforced. While no document can anticipate all of the challenges that may arise, the Code will assist United Way of Southern Maine volunteers, staff and representatives in making good decisions that are ethical and in accordance with applicable legal requirements. All are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns they have with their manager or with United Way of Southern Maine’s President or a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

A personal commitment to integrity in all circumstances benefits each individual as well as the organization. We therefore:

  • Strive to meet the highest standards of performance, quality, service, and achievement in working toward the United Way of Southern Maine mission.
  • Communicate honestly and openly and avoid misrepresentation.
  • Promote a working environment where honesty, open communication, and minority opinions are valued.
  • Exhibit respect and fairness toward all those with whom we come into contact.

United Way of Southern Maine is responsible to its stakeholders, which includes everyone who shares a common association or interest in developing a stronger community and others who have placed faith in United Way of Southern Maine. To uphold this trust we:

  • Promote good stewardship of United Way resources, donations, grants and other contributions that
    are used to pay allocations, operating expenses, salaries, and employee benefits.
  • Refrain from using organizational resources for non-UWSM purposes.
  • Observe and comply with all laws and regulations affecting United Way of Southern Maine.

The most responsive contributors are those who have the opportunity to become informed and involved. We therefore:

  • Promote voluntary giving in dealing with donors and vendors.
  • Refrain from any use of coercion in fundraising activities, including predicting professional advancement in response to solicitations.

United Way of Southern Maine is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the principle of diversity. We therefore:

  • Value, champion, and embrace diversity in all aspects of UWSM activities and respect others without regard to national origin, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or identity, pregnancy, age, body, marital, or other protected status, disability or appearance.
  • Support affirmative action and equal employment opportunity programs throughout UWSM.
  • Refuse to engage in or tolerate any other form of discrimination or harassment.

To avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest that could tarnish the reputation of United Way of Southern Maine as well as undermine the public’s trust in UWSM, its staff and volunteers will:

  • Avoid any activity or outside interest, including fundraising, that conflicts or appears to conflict with the best interest of United Way of Southern Maine, including involvement with a current or potential United Way of Southern Maine vendor, grantee, or competing organization unless disclosed to and not deemed to be inappropriate by United Way of Southern Maine’s President or Board of Directors.
  • Ensure that outside employment and other activities do not adversely affect the performance of their United Way of Southern Maine duties or the achievement of United Way of Southern Maine’s mission.
  • Ensure that travel, entertainment, and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the mission of United Way of Southern Maine and not for personal gain or interests.
  • Decline any gift, gratuity or favor in the performance of United Way of Southern Maine duties except for promotional items of nominal value, and any food, transportation, lodging or entertainment unless directly related to United Way of Southern Maine business.
  • Refrain from influencing the selection of staff, consultants or vendors who are relatives or personal friends or affiliated with, employ, or employed by a person with whom they have a relationship that adversely affects the appearance of impartiality.

To ensure the integrity of the annual investment review process, including avoiding any conflict of interest, real or perceived, UWSM requires all members of the Goal Cabinets and other volunteers with fiduciary obligations to comply with the Goal Cabinets Conflict of Interest Statement Guidelines and Annual Disclosure Form.


  • Should not knowingly take any action, or make any statement, intended to influence the conduct of United Way of Southern Maine in such a way to confer any financial benefit on themselves, their relatives or personal friends or any organization in which they or their relatives or personal friends have a significant interest as stakeholders, directors or officers.
  • Disclose all known conflicts or potential conflicts of interest in any matter before the Board of Directors, if they are Board members or any committee upon which they serve and withdraw from the meeting room during any discussion, review, and voting in connection with such matter.
  • Members of the Board shall annually file with the President and CEO or designee a disclosure of all known potential conflicts of interest.

Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. We therefore:

  • Ensure that all information that is confidential, privileged or nonpublic, is not disclosed inappropriately.
  • Respect the privacy rights of all individuals in the performance of their United Way duties.

As a charitable corporation, United Way of Southern Maine is prohibited from making contributions to any candidate for public office or to any political committee. We therefore:

  • Refrain from making any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee on behalf of United Way of Southern Maine, including the use of United Way of Southern Maine facilities for political campaign activities.
  • Refrain from making any contributions to any candidate for public office or political committee in a manner that may create the appearance that the contribution is on behalf of United Way of Southern Maine.

Volunteers and staff are encouraged to seek guidance from the President or Board of Directors concerning the interpretation or application of this Code of Ethics. Any known or possible breaches of the Code of Ethics should be disclosed. Staff should contact a supervisor or the President if they are aware of any such breaches of the Code. Volunteers should contact the Chair or Vice Chair of the Board.

Reports of possible breaches will be handled in the following manner:

  • All reports of possible breaches will be treated in confidence as much as the organization’s duty to investigate and the law allow. If confidentiality cannot be maintained, the individual disclosing the possible breach will be notified.
  • All reported breaches will be investigated and, if needed, appropriate action taken based upon the policies of the organization.
  • Retaliation against a person who suspects and reports a Breach in good faith will be treated as an independent breach of the Code.
  • United Way of Southern Maine affirms prompt and fair resolution of all reported breaches.

If it is determined that a Conflict of Interest exists, the following procedure applies:

  • At the discretion of the Board or the appropriate committee, an Interested Person may make a  presentation to the Board or at the appropriate committee meeting, but after such presentation, he or she shall leave the meeting during the discussion and voting on the transaction or arrangement that created the Conflict of Interest.
  • If appropriate, the chairperson of the Board or committee shall appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.
  • After exercising due diligence, the Board or committee shall also determine whether the Corporation can, with reasonable efforts, obtain a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a Conflict of Interest.
  • If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably attainable under circumstances that would not give rise to a Conflict of Interest, the Board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the Corporation’s best interest and for its own benefit. The transaction must be fair and reasonable to the Corporation and the decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement in conformity with such a determination.
  • The Board or committee’s vote shall be recorded in the meeting’s minutes and communicated with the Interested Person.


Interested Person: Any member of the Board of Directors (the “Board”), member of a committee with Board-delegated powers, or key employee who has a direct or indirect interest may be deemed to be an Interested Person. Moreover, if a person is “interested” with respect to any entity of which the Corporation is a part, he or she is an Interested Person with respect to all affiliates of the Corporation.