UC Santa Barbara’s annual United Way campaign is now up and running and will continue through Feb. 26. With the goal of increasing participation by 500 donors and raising $130,000 for the United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC), this year’s theme is “Building Better Futures: Together!”
The United Way and its partners are working to achieve community-driven 10-year goals with a focus on education, financial stability and health. Through outreach, volunteer work and the financial participation of dozens of local public and private organizations, the United Way is able to provide lasting solutions to community problems.
UCSB and UWSBC have a long history of partnership; in fact, UCSB is the oldest United Way campaign in Santa Barbara County. In the past five years alone, UCSB has raised over $570,000 for United Way programs and partners.
All donations made by UCSB employees remain in Santa Barbara County unless designated outside the area. A significant amount of the dollars raised stay within the UCSB community through the Isla Vista connection that supports the UCSB Children’s Center and Isla Vista Youth Projects.
“UC Santa Barbara is proud to be a partner with the United Way,” UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said in a message to the campus. “Through this campaign, and in countless other ways, we are inspired by the dedication of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni to help others and make a difference in the communities around us. To give just one example, this past September, nearly 100 volunteers participated in our Day of Caring clean-up in Isla Vista, donating more than 200 hours to remove 1,962 pounds of trash and recyclables from Isla Vista streets.
“Please join me in learning more about how we can help build a better future for all — by exploring the links on our United Way web page, attending a campus United Way presentation, or talking with your department’s United Way representative,” Yang added.
Candy Grams, which give UCSB faculty and staff an opportunity to send personal greetings to friends and co-workers on campus while supporting the United Way of Santa Barbara County, are on sale through Jan. 27. Orders must be received by 4 p.m., and Candy Grams will be delivered on Friday, Feb. 12. Details about Candy Grams and about the 2016 UCSB United Way campaign can be found at www.ia.ucsb.edu/uw.
Many UCSB staff and faculty members over the years have served as UWSBC board members and supporters of UWSBC programs. The campus has hosted students from United Way’s “Fun in the Sun” summer enrichment program for children from low-income communities, giving them valuable exposure to opportunities for higher education. And UCSB students started a tax-preparation club whose members participate in United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, providing free tax preparation to low-income households throughout Santa Barbara County.
“As a UCSB alumnus and United Way staff member, I have always been impressed with how the UCSB community rallies to support those in need,” said Steve Ortiz, vice president of United Way Santa Barbara County, who graduated from UCSB in 2004. “As an organization, UCSB conducts one of United Way’s top annual fundraising campaigns. But it’s the individuals within the organization who make the difference. Together, we help people achieve their potential and build brighter futures for thousands of local community residents every year.”