About Us


Topeka Office -

1527 SW Fairlawn Rd, Topeka, KS 66604

Phone: 785-273-4804

Lawrence Office-

1127 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS 66044

Phone: 785-843-6626


Becoming United Way of Kaw Valley

In September 2022, United Way of Greater Topeka and United Way of Douglas County officially merged to become United Way of Kaw Valley. 

United Way of Kaw Valley (UWKV) brings together people, companies, and nonprofits to help individuals and families not just survive but thrive. We work to solve issues no single donor, charity or government agency can handle alone. By focusing on the whole family, we help more children graduate and achieve employment success, help more families move from crisis to financial stability and prosperity, and improve the health of individual and families in our community.

Over the past decade, UWKV has invested in the areas of Early Education, On-Grade Achievement, Financial Stability, Health, Substance Abuse, Racial Equity, and Basic Needs.

As we listened to our community during that time and looked at research and best practices emerging in the various areas of social services, we saw the need to apply a different lens to our work, a lens that would make it easier for families to access services and define and achieve success for themselves. We found this lens in a Whole Family/2Gen Approach to Poverty. Future grants and investment opportunities will center on this approach.

We work with residents, and public and private partners to co-create solutions that ensure everyone has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive. We commit to leveraging all of our assets (convening, strategic investments, awareness building, advocacy) to create more equitable communities. 

Areas Served

United Way of Kaw Valley invests in Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson and Shawnee Counties to assist with the basic needs of the most vulnerable. 

4 counties

Tax ID # 48-0561978


Our vision at United Way is that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe that a community, or an economy, cannot be truly successful unless everyone in that community succeeds, most especially those with the least. We recognize structural racism and other forms of oppression have contributed to persistent disparities that United Way seeks to dismantle.

Our United Way network strives to engage community members, especially those whose voices have traditionally been marginalized. We work with residents, and public and private partners to co-create solutions that ensure everyone has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive. We commit to leveraging all of our assets (convening, strategic investments, awareness building, advocacy) to create more equitable communities. 

We actualize our vision by trying to ensure that all people have access to education, an opportunity to provide a livelihood for themselves and their families, and access to affordable quality health care.  We also have made a real and deep commitment to the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville are just the latest examples of excessive and deadly force used against Black people by police in the U.S., and the inadequate response of the justice system to the racist killings of Ahmaud Arbery and others—the list goes on and on—makes it clear that we have to act.   

For 130+ years, United Way has worked to bring communities together. We know that communities are stronger not when they embrace hatred and distrust, but when they welcome diversity and address difficult problems based on the principles of equal rights and equal opportunity. 

Our society will make the most progress when every one of us can contribute and share ideas, and have their basic rights and dignity respected. Now, more than ever, we must embrace ideas that unify us and make us stronger. To live better, we must Live United. 

UWWW EQUITY WEBSITE: equity.unitedway.org 


United Way fosters and promotes an inclusive environment that leverages the unique contributions of diverse individuals and organizations so that we can collectively and effectively create opportunities for a better life for all. United Way takes the broadest possible view of diversity, going beyond visible differences to affirm the essence of all individuals including the realities, identities, background, experiences, skills and perspectives that make each person who they are.  Engaging the power of diverse talent and Community Impact Partners results in innovative solutions and the community ownership necessary to address complex community issues.

United Way of Kaw Valley is committed to serving all people with dignity and respect. To ‘Live United’ means supporting all people, celebrating the diversity of everyone including socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, ability, age, religion, national origin, gender identity and/or expression, or sexual orientation.

United Way of Kaw Valley is creating a more equitable community for us all. Through partnerships with nonprofits, local government, businesses, community advocates and volunteers, we are building a just and fair community with equitable inclusion in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. 

United Way will practice nondiscrimination in the employment and promotion of staff, recruitment and utilization of volunteers and in the delivery of services to clients.

Board Approved 8/26/21


Aspirational Statement

Creating and cultivating an unbreakable network of support for a strong, healthy and equitable community.


United Way of Kaw Valley is synonymous with charitable service in the Topeka area. The general public associates the United Way name with thousands of worthy causes all over the country, in Topeka and the surrounding areas. Indeed, for many people United Way is the primary way they meet their desire to help their fellow human beings.
UWKV has a unique role as a local leader of philanthropy to benefit human services and as a major resource to United Way partner agencies. Throughout Topeka and surrounding areas, United Way partners have earned public trust, nurtured by years of ethical, honest and responsible charitable service by UWKV. The continued success of UWKV depends upon the ethical conduct of each organization, its employees and representatives.
UWKV places the highest priority on its relationship with its members, the partner agencies. As part of this relationship, UWKV responds to, serves and supports its members in working to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another. In an effort to achieve this goal, UWKV strives to create a vision and direction that will generate leadership and encourage the agencies, partners and other recipients of United Way funding to perform at the highest level.
UWKV employees set an example for other non-profit organizations by their high standards of performance, professionalism, volunteer and charitable activities, helping our neighbors in need, and ethical conduct.
UWKV volunteers serve in various capacities. This includes, but is not limited to: Board members, Standing Committee members, special task force volunteers and campaign ambassadors.
This Code of Ethics is the mandatory policy of UWKV and expresses fundamental values as described in its Bylaws and policy manual.
Accordingly, this Code guides the conduct of all employees and representatives of UWKV, and is intended to foster an environment that promotes ethical conduct in carrying out their responsibilities.



To truly Live United, we must commit to placing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of our work, internally and externally. A successful fight for the education, financial stability, and health of every person requires that we listen to, learn from, and amplify the voices of those who are most in need and those who have been traditionally underrepresented. We recognize that everyone in our United Way community brings value to our mission. We understand every employee, donor, volunteer, partner and stakeholder brings different experiences, perspectives, and expectations. We respect and encourage insight and participation from all. We actively promote a variety of voices among our staff, volunteer committees and Board of Directors, and the non-profit community. We commit to being curious and courageous in how we communicate with each other. We do so in a constant effort to grow and move our community forward together.


• A personal commitment to integrity in all circumstances benefits each individual as well as the organization. Each UWKV employee:
• Respects and seeks out the truth and avoids misrepresentation.
• Ensures fairness and objectivity in all activities.
• Sets an example, as an employee of a leading nonprofit organization, for high standards of professionalism.
• Honors the right of privacy of all people, including co-workers, contributors and beneficiaries.
• Promotes public confidence in philanthropic institutions.
As an employer, UWKV promotes professional excellence and encourages open and honest communication among all employees to create an atmosphere conducive to personal growth and career development.
UWKV management:
• Encourages employee development and communicates with personnel to help them achieve their goals and increase their self-esteem through job enrichment.

• Evaluates employees on a fair and consistent basis, so that all employees know what is expected of them 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 co-workers.
All UWKV employees, at every level:
• Strive to meet performance standards at the highest level.
• Refuse to engage in or tolerate any fraud, misuse, abuse or waste of UWKV resources.
• Encourage growth and self-improvement in themselves and their co-workers.
• Exhibit respect for co-workers and all those they come into contact with.
• Support and encourage input from diverse voices and always consider equity and social justice in UWKV matters.
• 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.
• Not engage in or promote illegal use or abuse of drugs or alcohol.
• Comply with all other laws and regulations affecting the organization and their personal obligations.
• Discuss any questions concerning interpretations or compliance with the code of ethics with their manager or other designated person.
• Encourage the reporting of violations and protect those who report.


UWKV has responsibilities to its customers, which include partner agencies, donors and other stakeholders. These customers have placed faith in United Way of Kaw Valley. To uphold this trust, UWKV employees:
• Make full and fair disclosure of all relevant information to customers, who have a right to know how their dollars are spent.
• Spend customers' money wisely, efficiently and objectively.
• Are good stewards of contributions, grants, and other earnings that are utilized by UWKV to pay operating expenses, salaries and employee benefits, and refrain from allowing expenditures of UWKV funds that by their nature or amount do not directly advance UWKV's mission.
Volunteers represent United Way of Kaw Valley and set examples through their ethical conduct and professionalism.
Volunteers review the code of ethics of United Way of Kaw Valley and ensure that they adhere to the spirit of the code when making policy or otherwise managing the affairs of the organization.
A volunteer does not knowingly take any action or make any statement intended to influence the conduct of United Way of Kaw Valley in such a way as to confer any financial benefit on such volunteer, a member of his or her immediate family, or any corporation in which he or she or such member has a significant interest as stockholder, director or officer.
In the event that there comes before the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee a matter for consideration or decision that raises a potential conflict of interest for any member of the board or the committee, the member shall disclose the potential conflict of interest as soon as he or she becomes aware of it, and shall withdraw from the meeting room during discussion, review, and voting in connection with the matter. The disclosure and withdrawal shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting; annual disclosures of potential conflicts shall be filed with the board by each member.


In order to enable those volunteers to serve effectively, UWKV managers and employees:
• Support volunteers so they can perform to the highest level of their contribution and personal satisfaction.
• Treat all volunteers with fairness, equity and respect, providing appropriate mechanisms for their views and interests to be expressed.
• Involve volunteers at appropriate levels and phases 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.
• Provide benefits and perquisites to volunteers that are consistent with the spirit of voluntarism.


Vendors are treated fairly to avoid favoritism or appearances of impropriety. UWKV:
• Affords all vendors 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.
• Gives priority when economically and logistically feasible to vendors who are local and/or minority owned business.



UWKV is an equal opportunity employer. Every employee and volunteer:
• Respects all co-workers and all other individuals without regard to race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or physical or mental disability.
• Supports equal employment opportunity programs throughout UWKV.
• Refuses to engage in or tolerate in others any form of sexual harassment.
• Strives to create an environment conducive to professionalism.



To avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest that would tarnish the image of the organization and undermine the public's trust in all partners agencies, UWKV employees:
• Avoid any activity or outside interest which conflicts or appears to conflict with the best interest of UWKV. Any involvement with a current or potential UWKV vendor, grantee, or competing organization may violate this code and should be cleared with the employee's supervisor.
• Refrain from participating in or influencing any decision or other action of UWKV that could result in a direct or indirect benefit to his or her family or any organization with which the employee is substantially affiliated.



• No employee should accept any gratuity or favor for doing his or her job. Accordingly, UWKV employees do not:
• Solicit or accept gratuities, gifts or favors, other than promotional gifts of nominal value, for themselves or their families.
• Accept food, transportation, or entertainment unless directly related to UWKV business.
• Use UWKV resources for personal gain.



Travel, entertainment and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the mission of UWKV.



Employees ensure that outside employment and other activities do not interfere with their responsibilities within UWKV and do not adversely affect UWKV. An employee is encouraged to inform his or her supervisor of any significant outside activities. An employee does not use UWKV resources to facilitate any outside employment or other activity.



Except as may be otherwise provided by law, the following restrictions on political activity will apply to UWKV employees:
• Will not use their UWKV positions or influence either for or against any candidate for public office in any jurisdiction or for or against any political issue unless in furtherance of UWKV government relations programs.
• Will not use working hours or UWKV facilities in any way that is concerned with soliciting or receiving subscriptions, contributions, political service, or to circulate petitions or campaign literature or in any other manner on behalf of candidates for public office in any jurisdiction; or for or against any political issue unless in furtherance of UWKV Advocacy Committee’s Public Policy Agenda.



Favoritism based on family or close personal relationships is unfair to other employees. The appearance of favoritism is easily perceived, even in some cases of friendship that otherwise are harmless. Accordingly:
• Persons related to UWKV employees by blood or marriage are not employed except under special circumstances that are clearly in the best interest of UWKV and disclosed immediately to the Finance committee of the UWKV Board of Directors.
• UWKV employees never have supervisory or management authority over staff with whom they have a relationship that adversely affects impartiality.
• UWKV employees consider the nature and appearance of their relationships with other employees to ensure that their decisions and actions are fair to all staff.
• UWKV employees with decision-making authority do not improperly influence the selection of consultants or service providers who are affiliated with, or employ or are employed by, a person with whom they have a relationship that adversely affects impartiality.



UWKV employees are not subjected to outside solicitation. Further, employees are free from unwarranted interruptions in the form of solicitation from other employees, in order to concentrate on work. A UWKV employee:
• Does not solicit or distribute literature for purposes inconsistent with the UWKV mission on UWKV premises.
• Does not use UWKV working time for non-UWKV purposes.
• Is never required to contribute or respond to a solicitation for fear that their response will be a factor in their career standing.



Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. Each UWKV employee and volunteer:
• Ensures that all information which is confidential or privileged or which is not publicly available is not disclosed inappropriately.
• Ensures that all non-public information of other persons or firms acquired by UWKV personnel in dealing with outside firms on behalf of UWKV is treated as confidential and not disclosed.


UWKV employees and representative are encouraged to disclose any perceived breaches of the Code of Ethic of which they are aware. Disclosure should be made to a supervisor, the Chair of the Board, the Chair of the Finance Committee or the President (contact information below). Any reported breaches will be investigated and appropriate action, if needed, will be taken. Confidentiality will be maintained for the employee disclosing the breach, unless the matter raises serious legal implications. In such instances, the employee disclosing the breach will be notified. UWKV management will not take any adverse action against employees solely for disclosing perceived breaches of the Code. UWKV encourages all employees to be prompt, open and forthright in reporting perceived breaches of the Code of Ethics.

President/CEO: Jessica Lehnherr at 785-228-5115 or jlehnherr@uwkawvalley.org
Board Chair: Matt All at 785-291-7631 or matt.all@bcbsks.com
Finance Committee Chair: Stephanie Flood at 785-270-6147 or sflood@capfed.com




This Code of Ethics will be examined, updated and restated annually through a joint effort of the staff and Executive Committee of the Board. All staff and UWKV volunteers, as defined in this Code, will be required to sign the Code annually.


Call us at 785-273-4804 or email us at contact@uwkawvalley.org

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