To connect people, resources, and organizations to create a thriving community for all.
An equitable community where opportunity is not limited, and every member reaches their full potential.
The history of the organization, now known as United Way of the Lakelands (UWL), traces back to 1945 when the Greenwood County Community Chest was established. This initiative emerged as prominent textile industries and various other businesses experienced growth and prosperity. These enterprises began contributing funds to support community health and human services organizations.
A significant transition occurred in 1970 when the Greenwood County Community Chest underwent an official transformation, leading to its new identity as the United Way of Greenwood. This marked a pivotal step towards a more comprehensive and organized approach to community support.
The subsequent development took shape in 1992 when the partnership expanded to include Abbeville County. This collaborative effort resulted in the formation of the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties (UWGAC), broadening its geographical scope and the focus of its efforts.
In 2018, a leadership change within UWGAC brought about a renewed commitment to driving change and progress in the community. This was achieved by addressing underlying issues within the community and mobilizing diverse stakeholders to take collective action in crucial areas such as education, financial stability, health, and safety net services.
Building upon its foundation, UWGAC underwent another transformation in 2022. With the goal of better representing the regions it serves, the organization was rebranded as the United Way of the Lakelands (UWL). This name change was intended to reflect the counties under its care, which include Greenwood, Abbeville, McCormick, and Saluda.
UWL stands firmly committed to fostering inclusivity and engagement within the community. Its primary objective is to create an environment that allows young children and their families to thrive and achieve their full potential. This commitment is manifested through a strategic direction that emphasizes sustainable engagement with families, encourages leadership and active involvement, and establishes a vital connection between healthcare and community health. All of these efforts are geared towards improving policies that benefit families and promoting early childhood development within the Lakelands region.
We recognize structural racism and other forms of oppression have contributed to persistent disparities which United Way seeks to dismantle. Our United Way strives to engage all community members, especially those that have been marginalized. We work with residents and public and private partners to co-create solutions that ensure everyone has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive. We commit to leveraging all of our assets (convening, strategic investments, awareness building, advocacy) to create more equitable communities.
United Way is committed to leading the fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community — that means we must fight for equity. We continue to share tools and resources designed to support the work of United Way.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement
United Way is committed to valuing, understanding, accepting, and celebrating all people. Together, we will authentically demonstrate and model the principles of diversity and inclusion which enrich all communities. We believe our continued success depends on the full and effective utilization of diverse, qualified employees and volunteers by providing equal opportunity in every aspect of the organization without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, national origin, immigration status, physical ability, age, marital status, military status, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, public assistance status or any other classification protected by federal, state or local legislation.
Equal Opportunity Employer
United Way is an equal-opportunity employer and values diversity. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.