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United We Improve Lives

What is the impact of my donation?

Giving to the United Way Community Fund is the most powerful way to give.  Your gift is combined with others to:

  • Support local nonprofit programs
  • Provide direct assistance to people through our 211 call center and county service centers
  • Connect volunteers to causes that strengthen our communities

In 2020, your contributions to the Community Fund, improved the lives of 207,948 people throughout Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties.

This year, the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust and other income cover 100% of the organization’s operating expenses, allowing donor dollars to go where they’re most needed in service to the community.

How we serve our community


Nonprofit Programs

United Way of the Coastal Empire is supporting 89 programs across 54 local agencies throughout our four-county region doing everything from making sure seniors have hot meals to providing transformative after-school and summer programs for children.

211 Call Center

211 is a free, confidential service provided by United Way of the Coastal Empire to ensure every person in the community has access to the best resources available.  The Community Fund allows United Way to provide direct assistance to people through our 211 call center and county service centers in Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty counties.

County Service Centers

United Way operates county service centers in Bryan, Effingham, and Liberty counties, providing direct social services.  Beyond basic emergency relief services, they also provide backpacks for weekend food distribution to children in need, mobile food pantries, and volunteer opportunities for agencies supported by United Way.

United Way Volunteers

United Way Volunteers connects volunteers to causes that strengthen our community.  In 2020, 2,205 individual volunteers donated their time and expertise to projects supported by United Way of the Coastal Empire.

In 2020, programs and services funded by United Way improved the lives of:


with Community Fund Grants

with Community Fund Direct Services


of people in our region received support through the United Way Community Fund.

Supporting Nonprofit

Programs That Make an Impact

United Way was created by the community for the community.  It is the one way we all come together – year after, decade after decade – to support each other with a safety net of programs, services, and pathways for upward mobility to help everyone thrive.

An Investment that Matters

Right now, United Way of the Coastal Empire supports 89 programs across 54 local agencies throughout our four-county region doing everything from making sure seniors have hot meals to providing transformative after-school and summer programs for children.

In 2020, the programs United Way funded improved the lives of people in our region in many powerful ways including but not limited to those listed below.  This is how YOUR MONEY HELPS!

Safety Net


 people received 4,650 free or discounted prescription medications, saving $7,801,145


medical and dental care visits were provided to low-income, under/uninsured people


mental health counseling sessions or psychiatric care visits were provided to homeless, low-income, or under/uninsured people


low-income children and youth received homework support and 457,243 nutritious meals at afterschool programs


food-insecure people received emergency or supplemental food at a pantry, mobile food drop, or other food distribution service


meals served to people seeking help at soup kitchens or residing in emergency shelters


nights of safe shelter to 2,576 children, youth, and adults experiencing homelessness, abuse, or neglect


seniors were served 144,554 meals at a day program or delivered to their home


low-or no-cost home modifications, safety repairs, and adaptive or assistive equipment helped seniors and people with disabilities to live more independently


children in foster care or experiencing family separation were assisted by a court-appointed special advocate or guardian ad-litem


instances of support for child victims, survivors of domestic violence, or sexual assault


pounds of free or reduced-cost food was distributed to partner agencies and local feeding programs

Upward Mobility


children and youth demonstrated improvement in academic performance during the school year


of debt was repaid by consumers who attended financial counseling sessions


people were able to attend a job training program


youth in career exploration or enrichment programs demonstrated increased job-related or soft skills to prepare them for successful employment


moderate-income people and seniors received free tax return preparation services or filed taxes using free software, securing $11,549,401 in tax credits and tax refunds


children (ages 0-5) demonstrated measurable improvement in social, emotional, language, and other essential skills to prepare them to enter school ready to learn


parents or caregivers of children age 0-5 demonstrated gained parenting skills and knowledge about age-appropriate childhood development


children and youth improved social-emotional and resistance skills


people increased their financial knowledge after attending financial literacy classes


people adhered to a monthly budget or payment plan, 436 people increased their savings, and 63 households avoided foreclosure after attending financial counseling or mediation sessions


adults achieved their education goals, 66 people demonstrated progress in GED subject areas, and 17 people attained their GED


disaster victims or people experiencing homelessness moved from emergency shelter to transitional or permanent housing

From Hello to Help,
211 is here for you.

Crisis Response

We were built for this.

Founded in 1938 after the Great Depression, United Way was created to respond to crises. When the pandemic began, United Way mobilized the community to help those most severely impacted before federal relief funds were eventually made available. Whether it’s an economic collapse, a hurricane, a fire, or COVID-19, United Way is here, and we can’t do it without you.


211 is a free, confidential service provided by United Way of the Coastal Empire to ensure every person in the community has access to the best resources available.

Greatest Needs

During the pandemic in 2020, 211 expanded to help meet the growing needs of the community.
  • Increase in call volume of nearly 400%
  • Averaged 1900 call attempts weekly
  • More than 5000 website searches for local resources each week
  • Regionally, our friends and neighbors reached out to our 211 call center more than 35,000 times in 2020

COVID Rapid Response Fund

United Way of the Coastal Empire raised and distributed nearly $700,000 in COVID Rapid Response Funds, helping close to 2,000 friends and neighbors in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties. The greatest needs met were housing and utilities.

To help bridge the technology gap that limits access to learning, we granted $54,000 to Savannah Chatham County Public School System and Effingham County School System to purchase Chromebooks for students in schools with the highest levels of poverty.

CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)

  • Through the management of $4,000,000 of CARES funds- UWCE, with the help of strong partner agencies helped more than 4,000 people remain in their homes through mortgage assistance, utility, and rental assistance distributed directly to utility companies, property managers, and mortgage companies, helping to fuel the local economy.  Countless families and individuals avoided imminent eviction, home foreclosure, and utility service disruption.

ERA (Emergency Rental Assistance)

  • Through the management of the ERA project on behalf of Chatham County, to date, more than 2,000 people have been helped with $3,000,000 in assistance to address citizens at risk of eviction, utility disruption and to help those in need of internet access, allowing remote work, remote education, and remote job training.  These funds are distributed directly to utility companies, property management, and leasing companies, further fueling the local economy.

In our four-county region, many of our friends and neighbors are living paycheck to paycheck – with 23.7% of the total population in Bryan County, 25% in Chatham, 24.6% in Effingham, and almost 36% in Liberty County considered asset limited, income constrained, yet employed (ALICE). As governments, schools, and businesses responded to public health recommendations to close or limit operations, many people lost their jobs and experienced extreme financial challenges.

Empowering the community to serve

United Way is a volunteer-driven organization, connecting people to causes that strengthen our community through United Way Volunteers.

United Way Volunteers

United Way Volunteers harnesses the time and talents of others to create positive change in our community.









Based on, the 2019 Georgia State value of a volunteer is $25.86/hour (2020 data not yet available)


United Way is powered by volunteers.  Thank you to our board and community partners.

Providing services in each of our communities

Our county service centers provide services to those in need across the Coastal Empire. Our goal is to reach every person close to where they live.

Bryan County (North)

40 S. Industrial Boulevard
Pembroke, GA 31321

(912) 651-7750

Bryan County (South)

9611 Ford Avenue
Richmond Hill, GA 31324

(912) 651-7750


711 Zitterour Drive
Rincon, GA 31326

(912) 826-5300


301 Olive Street
Hinesville, GA 31313

(912) 368-4282

Working toward a brighter future

In 2020, the United Way Board of Directors approved a new Strategic Plan.  It was the result of months of hard work, involving more than 400 stakeholders.

In early 2020, people were losing their jobs by the thousands as the spread of COVID-19 interfered with the financial successes of businesses everywhere. Nevertheless, when United Way launched its annual workplace campaign company donors gave as much as they could to uplift the people of our four-county region. Creative measures, such as the Always United Challenge, were implemented to encourage both companies and consumers to donate back to others in need.

The saying, “With hardship, there is hope”, became our new headline of optimism. Led by Campaign Chair Chief Terry Enoch, Campus Chief of Police of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System—United Way of the Coastal Empire kicked-off its annual fundraising campaign before a live audience through our media supporters: WJCL-TV, WSAV-TV, and WTOC-TV.  We are grateful for all of our donors who contributed through the Community Fund.  A special thank you to our Alexis de Tocqueville and Beacon members who helped lead the way in 2020.


Tocqueville Society

Our Alexis de Tocqueville Society leaders set both an example and standard in giving, helping to improve lives throughout our four-country region.


Beacon Society

Beacon Society members demonstrate their deep commitment to making our community a better place by giving at this leadership level.

Thank You to our Media Partners

Something about the extra support they provided through the pandemic and every year.

Carriage Trade PR
Savannah Business Journal
The Savannah Herald

Financial Reports

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