Stow Community Chest FAQs

Minuteman Senior Services volunteers prepare to deliver meals through the Meals on Wheels program

Q. What is the Stow Community Chest?
Stow Community Chest, Inc. is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization formed in 1983 to provide support for unmet health and human service needs for the people of Stow, Massachusetts. We receive support and revenue from individual and corporate donors.

Q. Is the Stow Community Chest a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization?
A. Yes, we are a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in good standing. We have a Certificate for Solicitation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are current in our filings with the Attorney General’s Division of Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities. Donations are tax deductible in accordance with State and Federal guidelines.

Q. Is the Stow Community Chest a town or government body?
A. No, the Stow Community Chest is a private, not-for-profit organization.

Q. How does the Stow Community Chest differ from the United Way?
A. Both the Stow Community Chest and the United Way are not-for-profit organizations that raise funds to support philanthropic programs in the local community. The United Way is a worldwide organization that consists of 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. Stow is not served by a community-based United Way, and many residents donate to the Stow Community Chest through their workplace-affiliated United Way.

Q. Can I get help from the Stow Community Chest?
A. The Stow Community Chest allocates funds to various agencies that provide health and human services. We do not provide direct services to residents. Please see our Guide to Human Services for a listing of organizations that do. You can also send a message to, and we will try to connect you with an appropriate organization.

Q. Can I donate unneeded items or supplies to the Stow Community Chest?
A. The Stow Community Chest does not accept material donations. On the rare occasion that we receive items such as gift cards, we allocate them to one of the agencies that we fund.

Q. I need to do some community service or volunteer hours. Can the Stow Community Chest help me?
A. Please see our Volunteer page on our website. We always look for volunteers to serve on our Board of Directors or support our activities, such as public relations, website management, and social media support. If you want to volunteer for a number of limited hours, please contact one of our supported agencies.

Q. How much money do you raise every year?
A. The amount varies each year, but a typical campaign raises about $50,000 to $65,000 a year.

Q. What percentage of donations goes to agencies?
A. Ninety-four percent of donations goes directly to agencies. We are very fortunate that local businesses have funded nearly all the cost of printing our campaign materials in recent years. We also fund a few other items, such as mailings and the website.

Q. How many people donate every year?
A. The number varies by year, but a typical campaign has contributions from 250-300 Stow households.

Q. How many businesses donate every year?
A. Again, the number varies by year, but a typical campaign has contributions from 25-30 local businesses.

Q. What percentage of your donations comes from businesses?
A. In Fiscal Year 2017, business donations represented 23% of all donations.

Q. Can I make an anonymous donation?
A. We will acknowledge your donation to you with a receipt for tax purposes, but we will not publicize your donation. We only publicly acknowledge donations from businesses, and we will make business donations anonymous at your request.

Q. Are online donations safe?
A. Yes, PayPal enables secure transactions. For more information, visit the PayPal security page.

Q. Can I earmark my donation for a specific agency?
A. No, it is against our bylaws. We use our regularly conducted Needs Assessment to determine allocations to agencies based on the current needs in the Town.

Q. Why don’t I get credit for the full amount that I donate online?
A. PayPal currently charges a transaction fee of 2.9% on the total sale amount plus a $0.30 fee per transaction. You can pay the fee yourself, or it will be deducted from your total donation. The Stow Community Chest will acknowledge each PayPal donation. You can get the most up-to-date information from

Q. Will I get a tax receipt for my donation?
A. Yes, we will acknowledge all contributions with a receipt for your tax records.