Since 1923, UWSBC has worked closely in partnership with schools and programs in our community to improve educational success. 

Right now in Santa Barbara:

  • 68% of low-income families do not have an age-appropriate book in their home.

  • Nearly 65% of third graders read below grade level.

As a result of the asking and research, UWSBC launched United for Literacy (UFL) - a countywide initiative to increase literacy skills, on-time graduation rates and has helped thousands of children, families, and seniors in Santa Barbara County improve their literacy skills through a continuum of programs.

Our Goals

We want our children, seniors, and their families to succeed at their choice of college, vocation, or retirement. 

Our Strategy

UFL provides a set of research driven national best practices and partnerships designed to improve high school graduation rates. The three components of UFL are Parent Engagement, Access to Books, and Online Literacy Programs. Each component offers educational programming that is age-appropriate and aligned with school curriculum. In addition, UWSBC will provide leveraging services such as community volunteers, neighborhood engagement and reading optimization tools to maximize impact and efficiency throughout the 10-year process.

Since United for Literacy’s inception:
  • More than 35,000 local students have improved their academic performance through UFL Programs.

  • Four local school districts have implemented district-wide Power Reading and/or Power Math Programs.

  • More than 100,000 new books have been given to local children ages 0 to 5 in Santa Barbara County.

Our Programs

How You Can Help

To reach our goal, the community needs your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools, including parent involvement, literacy volunteers and mentors, business leaders engaged in education support activities, and advocacy. Volunteer now to help.

Our 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.