The United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County is united for impact across the spectrum of community literacy. Our focus around fostering K-Career achievement drives the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County to reach across our community to ensure that local citizens live an empowered life.

Our Community Literacy Initiative – Your tax deductible contribution of just $10 per month will keep 4 children/adults enrolled in The Imagination Library or Power Readers for an entire year –

A United Way strategy to increase the number of graduating students reading at or above grade level. This effort, led by the United Way, is a multi-stage strategy utilizing proven effective programs to work toward the 10 year goal of improving the on time graduation rates by increasing the number of students reading at grade level. These collaborative programs bring the community together to accomplish the goal of reducing the high school dropout and increasing the number of students reading at grade level in every grade.

Power Readers – Available at school, at home, school, agency programs and in the workplace – an online silent reading and vocabulary improvement program designed to improve reading comprehension. Using software from Reading Plus, with proven results and credited as the best performing literacy intervention program amongst readers from disadvantaged backgrounds, Power Readers enables students, parents, neighborhoods and communities to work together to improve graduation rates by assuring students are reading at grade level in every grade. In 2011 more than 80% of students in Power Readers programs, using the program with fidelity, improved their reading grade level by more than two grades and 55% improved CST scores by at least one level. Our research indicates there are approximately 21,000 students in the various school systems throughout Northern Santa Barbara County who are reading below proficiency levels. For more information visit

The Imagination Library –  Imagination Library provides preschoolers with a brand new, age appropriate book every month from birth to kindergarten. More than 40,000 books have been distributed and over 1,000 preschoolers have graduated our Imagination Library thanks to your support. The books are selected by a panel of educators & are geared to the child’s specific age. Promoting literacy early on will help prepare children for success in school. Open a book and open a door to a child’s future! More than 90% of parents responding to our surveys state “the Imagination Library has had a positive impact on our family and they are reading more often with their children”.     Download printable registration form» 

Mail registration to:
United Way NSBC

PO Box 947 
Santa Maria, CA 93456

Your chid will be placed on the waiting list. We maintain the list at 500 active registrations.  For more information visit

Born Learning – Is a public engagement campaign that helps parents, grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities – preparing children for a strong start in kindergarten and elementary school. For more information visit

Stuff the Bus – A campaign to collect and distribute new school supplies for elementary and junior high school students. Partners include KSBY, Wal-Mart, the Chambers of Commerce, the local unified school districts, and several community organizations. Each year the combined Lompoc / Santa Maria effort collects nearly $30,000 in school supplies in just one week. For more information visit