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What is United Way of Santa Barbara County?

Since 1923, United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has provided Santa Barbara County children, families, and seniors with community services and resources, building a longstanding reputation as the community's fundraiser. In the past 16 years, however, UWSBC has transformed from an organization based solely on fundraising into a hybrid organization, building partnerships and delivering direct services to accomplish more than any one person or organization can do. UWSBC is one of just a handful of United Ways in the nation to have moved away from grant-making as its principal impact strategy to include direct programs and partnerships to better meet the educational, financial, and health needs of Santa Barbara County.

UWSBC’s mission statement is: “Right here, right now, through the Power of Partnership, we are improving lives for children, families, seniors, and you!” Our vision is to ensure that every community member has a hopeful future.

To do this, UWSBC works year-round, utilizing a network of more than 30 strategic partnerships with over 150 public and private partner organizations, to provide comprehensive programming for nearly 10,000 Santa Barbara County residents annually. By collaborating with local volunteers, non-profit and public sector agencies, and community leaders, UWSBC brings together Santa Barbara County's best resources to empower local children, families, and seniors.

Who supports UWSBC?

Over 175 workplaces, 20 foundations, and 6,000 individuals from Carpinteria to the Santa Ynez Valley contribute financially to our programs every year. Over 3,000 individuals contribute time and energy to us as well. The contributions of time, money, and ideas help us reach more than 80,000 local people per year. That is more than one-third of our local population!

What types of programs does UWSBC offer?

United Way currently supports more than 80 community programs. Twenty-five of these are partnerships that feature multiple organizations working together. These programs serve local community members from the day they are born until the final days of their life, and everywhere in between.

What is UWSBC's strategic plan?


Click here to see our 10-Year Goals.

When did UWSBC develop its current strategic plan?

From 2007 to 2009, UWSBC launched the Power of Partnership Initiative to identify the community's ten-year goals. UWSBC asked 6,000 individuals from all backgrounds, 300 businesses and organizations, and hundreds of community leaders to share their hopes and desired goals for the future. These community members agreed that improving education, financial stability, and health in Santa Barbara County are of paramount importance. These respondents identified a need to bridge critical service gaps in these focus areas for Santa Barbara County's children, families, and seniors.

Why give to United Way?

Through funding, volunteer development, and leveraging dozens of local non-profit and public sector agencies, and directing our own unique multi-agency initiatives such as Fun in the Sun (a summer academic and behavior enrichment program for poverty-level and homeless children and their families), United Way of Santa Barbara County seeks to create lasting, meaningful solutions rather than short-lived approaches to community problems.

We value:

Caring – we are committed to people helping people every day . . . one generation voluntarily and compassionately paving the way for future generations.
Innovation – using the Power of Partnership™ , we connect strengths, multiply resources, and create the best ways to make measurable improvements in local lives.
Trustworthiness – we are the finest stewards of your donated time, ideas and money.
Leadership – we initiate, influence and support desired positive changes in our neighborhoods and communities.

What is United Way’s Added Value?

With one gift to United Way of Santa Barbara County, you make possible a network of human care services and innovative partnerships. Your donation becomes more than the amount you write on your check or on your pledge form. It is also more than a singular investment. It attracts other money from many different sources and other services, from government, non-profits, businesses and organizations.

How much of my contribution works to help people in Santa Barbara County?

100%. With United Way of Santa Barbara County, your gift stays here.

Is my United Way contribution tax-deductible?

Contributions are tax deductible by individuals who itemize. All United Way supported charities are tax-exempt, not-for-profit health and human service providers and classified as 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service.

Can't find the answer to your question? Contact us.