Formed in 1962 as The United Fund by a group of local businessmen, United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee is a local, nonprofit organization whose mission is to mobilize the caring power of our community.
We create opportunities for a better life for everyone in St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties. We are all connected and interdependent; the idea that we all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable and when people are healthy. It is less about helping one person at a time and more about making sure the systems are in place to help everyone in our community.
We focus on the basic things that we all need for a good life: education, good health, and financial stability. We research the needs of our community, bring the right people and ideas together, leverage contributions and invest in programs that have proven results.
Education, income and health are the building blocks of a good life. By supporting programs that address these, United Way is working towards creating the best possible life for everyone in St. Lucie & Okeechobee Counties.
Education - United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee believes that learning begins at birth and continues throughout life. Our aspiration is that all residents of St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties will have opportunities to learn which will help them achieve their full potential. Education has many forms and is not limited to a classroom environment from kindergarten through high school. United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee invests in programs that support early learning, the well-being of school aged children and adolescents, and basic literacy and comprehension development skills.
Health - Whether it is an individual or family without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling with mental illness or an addiction, United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee believes in improving everyone’s health and safety. Our aspiration is that all residents of St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties are healthy and safe. We promote health and safety by investing in efforts to break the cycle of domestic violence, abuse and neglect, improving access to primary medical, behavioral and dental care, and prevention of and intervention in unsafe or unhealthy behaviors.
Financial Stability - United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee believes that many families and individuals face obstacles to achieving financial stability and independence. Our aspiration is that all residents of St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties have opportunities to meet their basic needs and achieve self-sufficiency. United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee supports families as they actively pursue stability and independence by investing in resources providing food, shelter and clothing, addressing barriers to self-sufficiency, and promoting financial security.
United Way is a volunteer-led organization in all of its functions; board of directors, committee structure, annual fundraising campaign and investment of resources in identified areas of priorities. The responsibility entrusted to these individuals is great, and they decisions they make are of significant importance to our community, requiring teamwork, communication and a shared commitment to fulfilling United Way’s mission. A trained, professional staff supports the board and other volunteers in the day-today operations.
“Live United” is an invitation for all people to give, advocate and volunteer as we work to create opportunities for a better life for all of us living in St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties.
The challenges our community faces are greater than any one single organization can address alone. It will take all of us contributing financial resources, lending our voice and giving our time to create a good life for everyone. We all succeed when a child succeeds in school. We all are better when families are healthy and self-sufficient. We all win when we Live United.
One single agency can not solve our community’s problems alone, especially in these tough economic times. That is why United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee is so important. By working together, United, we are providing individuals and families with support for food, utilities, shelter, counseling, child care, medical care and a long list of vital services that make a vast safety net for our community.
We have one mission that drives everything we do and that is to improve lives in St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties – to help create the best life possible for all. When people are educated, have sufficient income to support themselves and their families and are healthy, it strengthens the entire community. By funding programs in these areas, we are making an investment that helps the community as a whole, not just the recipients of the services.
United Way looks at more than simply the number of people receiving services. Investments are made in programs that demonstrate measurable success in achieving our goals in Education, Financial Stability and Health.
.97 cents of every United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee donor dollar stays right here in St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties. The other three cents pays membership fees to United Way Worldwide providing access to many membership services, Global Leadership Companies (i.e. UPS, Publix and Cargill) and use of the United Way logo and branding.
United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee an independent, locally governed organization charted in the state of Florida. United Way Worldwide (UWW) is a trade association that was formed to assist member United Ways. It serves as a training and service center for United Ways across the country but is not a national headquarters and has no governance or financing authority over local United Ways.
.97 of every United Way of St. Lucie & Okeechobee donor dollar stays right here in St. Lucie & Okeechobee counties Three percent or .03 of every dollar is used to pay the United Way of Florida and the United Way Worldwide membership fees.
In a recent survey (Ellison Research, Non-Profit Overhead Study, 2008) Americans polled believe nonprofits spend 36% on overhead and they think non-profits SHOULD spend 22% on overhead. The overall United Way system’s administration/overhead rate in the U.S. of 12.24% remains extremely competitive with the top 100 nonprofits in the U.S., and is well below industry standards and recommendations (such as the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance at 35% and the Office of Personnel Management/OPM at 25%). Moreover, United Way helps other nonprofits maintain low overhead rates.