Since 1959, the Northern Santa Barbara County United Way has been serving the people of Santa Maria, Lompoc, and the Santa Ynez Valley as well as the residents of Buellton and Guadalupe. The name has changed over the years -- from United Community Services Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County (a true mouthful!) in 1959 to the United Way of the Central Coast in 1977 to Northern Santa Barbara County United Way in 2006, which is still our name today.
Our organization initially served its health and human services mission by fundraising and re-granting to local agencies; however, in 2000 the United Way of America, the National Federation of local United Ways, adopted an expanded definition of philanthropy as evidenced by its Mission Statement: Improving people’s lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities. As a result, the Northern Santa Barbara County United Way transitioned in organizational focus and moved beyond fundraising to also organize community collaborations and respond to local needs by becoming a “partner in change”.
We are now working with a broad range of individuals and organizations in order to identify and resolve pressing community issues. We serve a community of approximately 200,000 residents in Northern Santa Barbara County alone, but with the launch of our county-wide homelessness initiative, Home for Good SBC, we serve the entire county. That increases our population served to approximately 450,000 people. These people have different needs, but we fight for every member of every community to improve health, education, and financial stability.