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Code of Ethics & Diversity




(March 25, 2021)


Our most important asset is the trust of the community.  As stewards of the community’s trust and charitable contributions, we must hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards at all times.

The United Way name is synonymous with charitable service.  The general public associates United Way with many worthy causes throughout our community.  For many people the United Way is the primary way they meet their desire to help their fellow human beings.

It is the policy of the United Way of Odessa to comply with all laws governing its operations and to conduct its affairs in keeping with the highest moral, legal and ethical standards.  Compliance with the law means not only following the letter of the law but also conducting business in a manner by which the United Way of Odessa will deserve and receive recognition as a leader in ethics and accountability within the charitable community.

In general, it is our policy that all business activities will be conducted in such a manner that the United Way of Odessa will be proud to make full public disclosure when called upon to do so.  The Executive Director and staff responsible for making public communications about the operations and business condition of the United Way shall cause full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable disclosure in public communications about the United Way.  Only persons who have been specifically assigned the responsibility to make public communications on behalf of the United Way may do so.

This Code of Ethics is the policy of the United Way of Odessa and expresses fundamental values.  It guides the conduct of all employees, directors, and other representatives of the United Way of Odessa, and is intended to foster an environment that promotes ethical conduct in carrying out their responsibilities.


    Code Provisions

      PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY: 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 Odessa mission.

  • Communicate honestly and openly, avoiding misrepresentation.

  • Promote a working environment where honesty, open communication and minority opinions are valued.

  • Exhibit respect and fairness toward everyone with whom we interact.

      ACCOUNTABILITY: United Way of Odessa is responsible to its stakeholders, including donors, providers of programs/services, volunteers, and others who place faith in United Way.  To uphold this trust, we:

  • Promote good stewardship of United Way of Odessa resources.

  • Refrain from using organizational resources for non-United Way purposes.

  • Observe and comply with all laws and regulations affecting United Way of Odessa.


      SOLICITATIONS AND VOLUNTARY GIVING: The most responsive supporters are those who have the opportunity to become informed and involved. We therefore:

  • Promote voluntary giving in relationships with donors and vendors.

  • Refrain from any use or suggestion of coercion in fundraising activities, including predicating professional advancement on response to solicitation.

  • Promote/publicize United Way results/outcomes to encourage potential donors to support the United Way of Odessa mission.

     DIVERSITY AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY:  United Way of Odessa is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the principle of diversity.  We therefore:

  • Value diversity in all aspects of United Way activities and respect others without regard to race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or status as a qualified disabled or handicapped individual.

  • Support equal employment opportunity programs.

  • Refuse to engage in or tolerate any other form of discrimination or harassment.

    Diversity Statement


    To create and maintain an organizational environment which enables all people to perform to their potential by actively valuing different backgrounds and perspectives, fostering teamwork and collaboration among a heterogeneous community, and maximizing contributions to United Way of Odessa by using the skills, talents and resources of all members of our community.

    Our Value Defined

    United Way advocates and promotes diversity among its Board, staff, agencies, volunteers, programs, services, donors, suppliers and partners. Managing diversity offers a different set of challenges and opportunities than affirmation action, or race relations. Diversity goes far beyond race and gender. It addresses the reality of life. Diversity recognizes the distinct differences of individuals and organizations and capitalizes on the strengths of each.

    Our Perspective

    We will develop, implement and measure specific strategies and plans that will lead to enhanced understanding, a shift in organizational culture, and ultimately a stronger United Way - able to reach the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan.

     CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: To avoid any conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, which could harm the reputation of United Way of Odessa or undermine the public’s trust in the United Way movement, volunteers and staff of United Way of Odessa:

  • Avoid any activity or outside interest which conflicts or appears to conflict with the best interest of United Way of Odessa.

  • Ensure that outside employment and other activities do not adversely reflect on United Way of Odessa or the achievement of United Way of Odessa’s mission.

  • Ensure that travel, entertainment and related expenses are incurred on a basis consistent with the mission of United Way of Odessa and not for personal gain or interests.

  • Decline any and all gifts, gratuities and favors in the performance of United Way of Odessa duties, except for promotional items of nominal value, and decline any and all food, transportation, lodging and entertainment unless directly related to United Way of Odessa business.

  • Refrain from influencing the selection of staff, consultants or vendors who are relatives or personal friends or affiliated with or employed by a person with whom they have a relationship that adversely affects the appearance of impartiality.


    United Way of Odessa volunteers:

  • Should not knowingly take any action, or make any statement, intended to influence the conduct of United Way of Odessa in such a way to confer financial benefit on themselves, their immediate family members or any organization in which they or their immediate family members 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, or any committee upon which they serve involving United Way of Odessa programs or services and will withdraw from the meeting room during any discussion, review, and voting in connection with such committee or program/service.

  • Shall file each January with the President a signed and dated disclosure of all known potential conflicts of interest (board members only).




      CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY:  Confidentiality is a hallmark of professionalism. We therefore:

  • Ensure that all information, which is confidential, privileged or nonpublic, is not disclosed. We will not rent, sell or share personal donor information with another entity, nor will we send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations.

  • Respect the privacy rights of all individuals in the performance of their United Way of Odessa duties.

  • The United Way of Odessa (UWO) is an organization to which many matters of confidential nature are entrusted.  Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, the sources and amounts of individual and corporate contributions, contributor lists and contact information, and volunteer lists and personal information. The UWO professional staff is responsible for training volunteers in their responsibility for the proper handling and use of such confidential information. Directors, volunteers and employees will ensure that all information which is confidential or privileged or which is not publicly available is not disclosed inappropriately.


      POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS: As a charitable corporation, United Way of Odessa does not make contributions to any candidate for public office or to any political committee. The use of United Way of Odessa facilities or equipment for political campaign activities is prohibited.         

     DISPUTES:  Disputes will be handled through an ad hoc committee which will consist of not fewer than five (5) people selected by the Board President.  Findings will be brought before the full Board of Directors for resolution.

     GUIDANCE AND DISCLOSURE: Volunteers and staff are encouraged to seek guidance from the Board of Directors and Executive Director concerning the interpretation and application of this Code.  Any known or possible breaches of the Code are expected to be disclosed.  Staff should contact the Board President. Volunteers should contact the Executive Director, the Board President or a member of the Board of Directors who should then notify the Board President.


     Whistleblower Protection
     The United Way of Odessa is committed to fair, accurate and transparent accounting of its financial matters and expects all employees, officers, directors and agents to act in accordance with the highest ethical standards in the performance of their responsibilities. It requires full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, accounting standards, accounting controls and audit practices. All employees, officers, directors and agents will conduct themselves in accordance with the requirements and spirit of this policy and to report any suspected violations of this policy or other questionable financial, accounting or audit matters without fear of retaliation.

    Reporting Complaints, Concerns or Questionable Financial Practices

     Any person or employee who has complaints or concerns about United Way of Odessa’s accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, or who becomes aware of questionable accounting or auditing matters, is strongly encouraged to report such matters to the Finance Committee.

     To raise complaints or concerns about or report a questionable accounting or auditing   matter to the Finance Committee, employees/volunteers should contact the Finance Committee Chair by mail, telephone or email. Each year, the Finance Committee Chair’s contact information will be included in the Code of Ethics signed by all staff and volunteers and available upon request.

     In order to facilitate a complete investigation, employees should be prepared to provide as many details as possible, including a description of the questionable practice or behavior, the names of any persons involved, the names of possible witnesses, dates, times, places, and any other available details. All employees with complaints or concerns are encouraged to come forward with information and prohibits retaliation against employees raising concerns. However, if an employee feels more comfortable doing so, reports may be made anonymously in the manner described above.

     Supervisors and managers who become aware of any questionable accounting or auditing matters, or who receive complaints or concerns from other employees, must immediately report them directly to the Finance Committee in accordance with this policy. Supervisors and managers who receive complaints of questionable accounting or auditing matters must consult with the Finance Committee before undertaking an investigation or other action. The Finance Committee has responsibility and authority for the investigation and handling of any concerns or complaints relating to accounting and auditing practices. Any supervisor or manager who fails to report allegations of questionable accounting or auditing practices in accordance with this policy or who otherwise fails to deal properly with such allegations may be subject to disciplinary action.

    Reports of Possible Breaches

  • 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 will be taken. 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 Odessa affirms prompt and fair resolution of all reported breaches.

  • 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 Odessa affirms prompt and fair resolution of all reported breaches.




     To report ethics violations, conflicts of interest, or make reports under the Whistleblower Act, use the provisions as outlined above, contact president of the Board of Directors or Mrs. Christina Escobar, Executive Director of United Way of Odessa office, 128 East Second Street, Odessa, Texas for information concerning making reports directly to United Way Worldwide.  

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