The United Way of Oconee County was formed in 1966 as the United Fund of Oconee County. County leaders of community drives in Oconee County decided to merge their agencies to mobilize and stimulate the citizens of the county in behalf of worthy educational, health, and welfare organizations to solicit and receive contributions for participating agencies; to allocate and distribute funds raised to approved agencies, to promote efficiency by providing a means through which annual contributions can be made in one gift, and by reducing the expense of raising funds through a cooperative appeal. It also promotes cooperation, not only among member agencies, but all such organizations of Oconee County. The present name was adopted in 1975.
A member of the United Way Worldwide and the United Way Association of South Carolina, the United Way of Oconee County seeks to coordinate and develop resources to identify, evaluate, and efficiently serve the needs of the community. The United Way of Oconee County is governed by a seventeen-member Board of Directors that meets every other month and is comprised of community leaders representing a variety of backgrounds and interests. The United Way organization is made up primarily of volunteers who work to support a broad range of agencies and human services in the local community. They plan for future community needs and allocate the money raised through a systematic review process conducted by volunteers.
Agencies and services which request funding from United Way must be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization providing a needed community service. The decision to support these agencies and services is made by volunteers who review budgets, services, delivery costs, and other factors. This process of a citizen review allows volunteers to help solve community problems and meet community needs. Citizen review makes United Way more than a group of charities. It ensures accountability and it helps to ensure that the many programs and not-for-profit human service agencies get a chance to receive the community's support.
The United Way of Oconee County's commitment to Community Impact effectively repositions the United Way of Oconee County. We have shifted in "mind-set" from fundraiser to community impact leader. This is not to say we focus less on fundraising. In fact, our fundraising has become even more important as we challenge ourselves to have a greater impact in the community. But fundraising alone for human service agencies is not unique. Indeed, dozens of agencies are raising funds in our community. Community Impact, however, is unique and represents a strength for our United Way. United Way brings our community together around a set of human service issues that can only be addressed collectively.
Community Impact also drives investments made by the United Way of Oconee County and other organizations throughout the community. We cannot fund independently of one another. The corporate, nonprofit, faith, education, foundation, and government communities must come together with a shared vision for impact and a collective commitment of resources toward common goals and outcomes.
Community Impact is issue-focused. United Way of Oconee County seeks to focus on what the community needs. We aim to evaluate the issues that matter most to our community and then work with partner agencies to develop and fund key strategies that focus on improving lives and building a vital and caring community.
Additionally, Community Impact is focused on the future. Rather than focusing on what happened last year or what is planned for the next year, Community Impact focuses on long-term strategies with community and issue-focused outcomes when investing in programs. We invest in strategies that result in sustained community change.
Through Community Impact, we aim to create a community partnership inclusive of volunteers from a broad cross-section of the community, including the corporate, nonprofit, faith, education, foundation, and government communities. This partnership will guide the process that brought us to this point and is step one of our community's journey to the future. When we hand our community over to future generations, the United Way of Oconee County's goal is making sure that we pass along the most vital and caring community in America.
Our mission at the United Way of Oconee County is to empower individuals, families and communities in Oconee County to thrive.
Our vision at the United Way of Oconee County is for Oconee County to be the most vital and caring community in America.