No matter the economic climate, it is difficult for many of our local neighbors to make ends meet on a daily basis, let alone make economic progress.

Individuals and families also need access to the tools needed to increase income, build savings, and gain and sustain assets. United Way is a critical part of both efforts - ensuring that families have the basics to achieve an independent lifestyle and financial stability.

For families walking a financial tightrope, unable to make ends meet or save for college, a home, or retirement, United Way of Santa Barbara County is here to help.

Our Goal

To increase financial stability for local families and seniors through partnerships and assistance of businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, education, and the community at large.

Our Strategy

To address the obstacles that prevent hard-working families from getting ahead financially, we launched the Financial Stability Initiative to promote community-change strategies to help families meet their basic needs while gaining the financial capability to plan for and accomplish their long-term financial goals. 

The United for Financial Empowerment Initiative (UFFE) is a partnership of 13 local nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, and more than 150 volunteers. Working together, they help lower-income Santa Barbara County residents achieve long-term financial stability through programs focusing on:
  • Financial Literacy Education
  • Free Assistance with Filing Income Tax Returns
  • Encouraging Saving and Sound Financial Practices
In 2022: 
  • More than 2,784 income tax returns were filed at no cost for low-income individuals, families, and seniors.
  • Over $2,678,237 million in tax refunds came back to local residents, helping them build long-term assets and become more financially stable.

Our Programs

VITA - Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

How You Can Help

Volunteers make United Ways’ tax assistance and financial education programs possible. We need your help, even if you don’t have an accounting background. Volunteer now to help.

Partners Include:

American Indian Health & Services - Art From Scrap - Assistance League of Santa Barbara - Cancer Center of Santa Barbara - Carpinteria Unified School District - City of Santa Barbara - City of Santa Maria - Community Action Commission - Cornelia Moore Dental Foundation - Cottage Hospital - Easy Lift - Family Service Agency - Foodbank of Santa Barbara County - Goleta Union School Districts - Guadalupe Dunes Center Collaborative - Montecito Bank & Trust - Santa Barbara Bank & Trust - Santa Barbara City College - Santa Barbara Museum of Art - Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History - Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics - Santa Barbara Unified School Districts - UCSB - Wells Fargo Bank - Westmont College - Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara - Plus dozens more!

For more information, contact Melinda Cabrera, Director of Strategic Partnerships, at 805-965-8591 or mcabrera@unitedwaysb.org.