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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

  • A new framework of Safety Net and Upward Mobility
  • Set bold community goals and measure progress over years
  • Lead some collective action coalitions and support others
  • Diversify funding through grants
  • Advance professional advocacy
  • Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in all our efforts
  • Raise funds, cultivate, and steward donors year-round while continuing a highly visible community campaign during 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 thousands of our neighbors who have been unable to get ahead, living one paycheck or one crisis away from devastation.

Four Bold Goals

(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 operations to maximize retention and efficiency.
  • United Way will support the community impact goals of Upward Mobility and Safety Net through United Way Volunteers by developing and implementing 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, establishing measurable goals for connecting with multiple stakeholders using customized messages on all media platforms and increasing overall engagement linked with fundraising goals.
  • United Way will assure best-in-class business administration to include all accounting, financial processes, and real estate asset management.
  • United Way will recruit diverse, qualified, and collaborative employees whose skills, experience, and values are aligned with United Way’s mission and provide training and professional development opportunities that elevate the staff and organization.
  • United Way will improve and maintain technology supports to ensure effective and efficient workplace operations and financial, donor, and data systems.
  • United Way is committed to high standards of board governance and will provide training in accordance with United Way Worldwide recommendations.
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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