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We are united by a vision of the community in which all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential and families thrive.


United Way of the Coastal Empire improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community.

Highlights of Change

  • Coordinate efforts through a new framework of Safety Net and Upward Mobility.
  • Set bold goals and measure progress over years in addition to measuring program impact annually.
  • Convene collective action coalitions around goals. United Way will lead some coalitions and will be a support to others.
  • Diversify revenue and attract new money into the region by applying for grants related to collective action efforts.
  • Advance professional advocacy efforts around goals.
  • Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in all our efforts.
  • Raise funds, cultivate, and steward donors year-round while also continuing a highly visible community campaign during traditional United Way campaign months of September, October, and November.
  • Celebrate both total annual revenue and total annual impact.

Our Focus

United Way of the Coastal Empire is committing to build stronger, deeper, and wider community partnerships and seeking to make measurable, lasting impact with clear goals.

Safety Net Programs & Services

Our focus will continue our commitment to the most vulnerable in our community with an emphasis on basic human needs such as food, shelter, health, and safety in addition to community disaster response. This is the historical core of the United Way of the Coastal Empire’s mission.

Upward Mobility

Beyond our core mission, we want to help all people to reach their full potential. This means providing pathways for Upward Mobility, with a focus on the thousands of our neighbors who have been unable to get ahead, living one paycheck or one crisis away from devastation.

Four Bold Goals

With Upward Mobility in mind,
this plan recommends a more explicit focus to include goal-setting in four proposed areas:

Quality, Affordable Childcare

Ready & Resilient Workforce


Financially Empowered Families

Safe & Stable Housing

Our Strategy

  • United Way will fund and support Safety Net and Upward Mobility programs and services, and community disaster response.
  • United Way will work with current and new community partners to build collective action coalitions or participate in existing ones to generate measurable results, attract grant funding, and advance advocacy around Bold Goals. We will focus on the following areas for further development and specific goal-setting over the next 6-12 months:
    • Quality, Affordable Childcare
    • Ready & Resilient Workforce
    • Financially Empowered Families
    • Safe & Stable Housing
  • United Way will be the premier community partner for corporate social responsibility.
  • United Way will increase leadership giving.
  • United Way will diversify funding to support strategic initiatives.
  • United Way will optimize internal donor operations to maximize retention and efficiency.
  • United Way will support the framework Safety Net and Upward Mobility by developing and implementing volunteer events and small group opportunities that support corporate partners, agencies, and community needs.
  • United Way will build the brand and reputation of the organization through best-in-class marketing and communications connected to measurable engagement and fundraising goals.
  • United Way will assure best-in-class management of United Way finances and real estate assets.
  • United Way will cultivate a diverse and talented team, providing grown opportunities for all.
  • United Way will improve technology to create effective and efficient workplace operations and financial, donor, and data systems.
  • United Way will ensure effective board governance to maintain trust and standards of excellence.

For more details

Strategic Plan Steering Committee

Kay Ford, BankSouth, Co-Chair
Ken Rabitsch, Synovus, Co-Chair
Larry Silbermann, WTOC-TV, Board Chair

Mark Bennett, Gulfstream Aerospace
Katrina Bostick, Family Promise of the Coastal Empire & United Way Agency Executive Council
Ryan Chandler, Colonial Group
Jill Cheeks, The Mediation Center & United Way Agency Executive Council
Judge Lisa Colbert, Chatham County Superior Court
Christian Demere, Colonial Group
Yancy Ford, Effingham County Schools
Catherine Grant, ExperCare Urgent Care, Bryan County
Susan Hancock, Abshire Public Relations
Michael Kaigler, Chatham County
Sam McCachern, Thomas & Hutton
Jamie McCurry, Georgia Ports Authority
Jay Neely, Gulfstream Aerospace
Jeff O’Connor, First Citizens Bank
David Paddison, Sterling Seacrest Partners
Melissa Carter Ray, State Farm, Liberty County
Austin Sullivan, Community Volunteer
Trip Tollison, Savannah Economic Development Authority
Judge Derek White, Chatham County State Court
Taffanye Young, City of Savannah

Sarah Caruso, Consultant
Brynn Grant, Staff Lead


Task Forces

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