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Our History

Established in 1938, United Way of the Coastal Empire was created for the community by the community, to support and serve in good times and bad.  For more than 80 years, United Way has evolved to meet the needs of the times, providing solutions to our communities’ toughest problems.

From the 2008 Imperial Sugar Refinery explosion to natural disasters and government shutdown, we have been on the frontline working to rebuild and restore our community.

Your Gift Directly Helps People In Need

Almost every dollar donated will be directed to those in need, thanks to the generosity of a past visionary community leader, Herschel V. Jenkins. The former publisher of the Savannah Morning News, Jenkins set aside a trust for United Way of the Coastal Empire for $500,000 in 1955 that grew to $13 million. While the corpus remains intact, the accruing income has provided and continues to cover nearly all operating costs from administration to marketing to fundraising.

Our local United Way is one of only five in the country with a trust like this.

One Gift Helps Many

United Way invests its Community Fund dollars toward addressing big issues – Education, Health, and Financial Stability. These are issues that no one organization or solution can solve single-handedly. In its role as a convener, United Way unites teams of nonprofits to establish collaborative solutions that have a long-term impact on this community.

The United Way Community Fund allows your contribution to stretch across a myriad of nonprofits and organizations, allowing you to have the greatest impact on our community.

We Are Transparent

Each year, dozens of trained volunteers review applications and make the decisions that direct funds raised through United Way to be invested in human service programs in the areas of Education, Health, and Financial Stability within the Community Fund.

Decisions are based on the merit of organizational and program performance and the resources that are available for investment. Once the allocation process is finished from the volunteers, they present it to the Board of Directors for approval.

We Are Volunteer Driven

United Way brings people together from all walks of life to be a part of local solutions. Hundreds of local citizens and corporate partners are engaged in improving our community by raising money, volunteering their time, and advocating our message.

More than 250 volunteer leaders, organized throughout 10 advisory boards, propel our organization to make smart decisions about constant issues faced by our community, as well as targeted urgent needs that arise.

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