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The mission of united way of the coastal empire is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.


We aim to create an impact providing direct access and linking people with resources to build safe environments, secure independence, stabilize financial foundations, and promote learning opportunities.

local area

We serve all people in Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, and Effingham Counties. There are service centers in each county that provide emergency assistance resources.


We are a volunteer-driven organization that involves community leaders in every aspect of our business, including fundraising, marketing, and grant decisions.

Herschel V. Jenkins Trust Fund

Thanks to the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust Fund and other income that covers almost all administrative and fundraising costs, donor contributions go more directly to help people in need.

Our History

In 1938, the Community Chest was formed to address the needs of the Coastal Empire. The first campaign goal was set at $140,000 and was achieved that same year. In 1950, the Community Welfare Federation of Savannah-Chatham County was formed. It was only a matter of months before the Board of Directors voted to change the name to United Community Services of Savannah-Chatham County (UCS), a name that remained until 1975.

In 1973, the United Way Helping Hand Rainbow replaced the United “U,” the original symbol used by UCS, and in 1975 the name United Way was officially adopted.

Our organization set up its first information and referrals system in 1951, the Red Feather Information and Referral Line. The name changed several times until 2001, when it became United Way 211 as we know it today.

1983 was the year that the Coastal Area Voluntary Action Center (VAC) merged with United Way.

1997 was an important year in the history of the United Way of the Coastal Empire. In July, the community learned that a 1955 UCS trust that Herschel V. Jenkins, the former publisher of the Savannah Morning News, had set up in the amount of $500,000 had grown to $13 million. With the corpus remaining intact, the accruing income has provided for and continues to be used for administrative and yearly campaign costs.

By 2004, all four counties of Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty became areas serviced by United Way.

2009 welcomed the Women United and the Young Leaders Society as affinity groups to further engage donors with the mission of United Way.

In 2015, our United Way was awarded the highest level four-star rating by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent evaluator of charitable organizations. Our United Way is among 2 percent of charities receiving this distinction for fiscal responsibility.

2018 marked our 80th anniversary.


Financial Reports

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