We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that brings people together to help solve issues that affect our entire community. One of our strengths is our partnerships with other local nonprofits, businesses, government, and other community stakeholders. No other organization has the “bird’s-eye view” that United Way does. We focus our work in the areas of education, health and financial stability (including basic needs).
First and foremost, we are LOCAL. We are governed by a local board of directors, our staff is local, and our service area consists of Lee County and Harnett County in central North Carolina. But we are also part of a network of local United Ways under the umbrella of United Way Worldwide, which provides support services to local United Ways but is not involved in local decisions or governance.
In 1887, a Denver woman, a priest, two ministers, and a rabbi recognized the need to work together in new ways to help their community. They created an organization to collect funds that would benefit 22 local charities, raising $21,700; this was the forerunner of the modern United Way. In 1913, the first Community Chest was founded in Cleveland, and many more rapidly followed; in 1963, the name “United Way” was adopted for the Community Chest organization. United Way of Lee County was formed in 1960.
United Way helps families become self-sufficient, helps children succeed in school, and works to make sure everyone has opportunities to pursue health. We provide lots of community services, too. People who are looking for local resources can check out NC 211, our information and referral service, and volunteers can go to VolunteerUnited.net to find local opportunities for service. United Way has a partnership with FamilyWize to provide free discount prescription cards to anyone who would like one; click here for more information or to download a card.
United Way of Lee County serves both Lee and Harnett counties in central North Carolina. Our office is located in Sanford, NC.
It is the policy of United Way of Lee County that donations be used to assist Lee and Harnett County residents only, unless the donor specifically requests that the donation be sent elsewhere.
Yes. Our United Way accepts designations of $25 or more to any 501(c)(3) organization, whether it is local or not. However, we encourage donors to make undesignated gifts in order to help the most people.
An undesignated gift allows you to help more people than a gift to a single agency ever could. Because community problems are interrelated, and because families often need help with more than one issue, a gift to United Way’s Community Fund is the best and most efficient way to meet these needs.
Volunteers like you! Each spring, local volunteers serve on Community Investment Teams, which thoroughly review funding applications and make funding recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors. The Board (also all volunteers) makes final funding decisions.
Through our United Way programs and our partnerships with other local nonprofits, we touch almost 40,000 people in Lee County each year. That’s more than half of the people who live here. These are some of the ways that United Way and our community partners are making a difference:
- Over 1,400 victims of domestic violence were provided with shelter and supportive counseling services
- 62 families experiencing homelessness had shelter, case management, and help finding permanent homes of their own
- Over 25,000 residents were helped with food and other emergency assistance
- 406 local volunteer needs were met by people just like you!