Since 1959, the Northern Santa Barbara County United Way has been working FOR IMPACT in the communities of Santa Barbara County. The name has changed over the years. We started as United Community Services Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County (a true mouthful!) in 1959. We became the United Way of the Central Coast in 1977, and Northern Santa Barbara County United Way in 2006.
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 to a FOR IMPACT organizational focus and moved beyond fundraising. Today we 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.
UNITED, WE WILL.
Side-by-side we organize FOR IMPACT—United—we tackle the problems people don’t talk about at cocktail parties. Together, we tackle the problems most people shy away from by forging unlikely partnerships… by finding new solutions to old problems… by mobilizing the best resources. And, by inspiring individuals like you to join us in the fight against our community’s most daunting social crises.
You see, we don’t just fight against our region’s toughest challenges… we fight for the preschooler who doesn’t have books, for the teenager unsure of where his next meal will come from, for the senior who can’t afford her medications and for the domestic violence survivor who can’t face another day. We fight for those who need a voice. We fight for Linda and Rosie and Joe and Mariela and for all those whose names we’ll never know.
United Way brings caring people together to solve our community's toughest challenges. Our mission is to Live United.
- Improve Education by improving literacy levels. We start with Pre-K Books and provide reading improvement programs to improve silent reading fluency. Lern more about United For Literacy
- Help people achieve Financial Stability, and get lower-income families who are financially unstable — on the road to economic independence. Learn more about VITA/MyFreeTaxes
- Eliminate the negative impacts of homelessness. Learn more about Home for Good Santa Barbara County.
These goals are ambitious, but with your help, and by utilizing our core strengths — a national network, committed partners and public engagement capacity — we can achieve them. In Santa Barbara County, the majority of our efforts go to our homeless programs, veterans programs, financial stability programs, and literacy programs. These include Home for Good, Mission United, our AmeriCorps partnership, VITA, and Reading Plus.