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United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham takes 'holistic' approach

POSTED: July 6, 2018 6:01 a.m.
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RINCON — United Way of the Coastal Empire is a highly effective security blanket. The agencies it supports cover virtually every kind of challenge a person might encounter — including homelessness, joblessness, hunger and health concerns.
“We fund 63 agencies in the Coastal Empire, and that includes 101 programs,” said Elise Zielicke, executive director of the United Way’s Effingham County branch.
United Way of the Coastal Empire also serves Bryan, Chatham and Liberty counties.
“It looks a little different here in Effingham (County) because we have five external agencies that we fund outside our walls and we also host many inside our building that come from Savannah,” Zielicke said.
The United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham Service Center is located at 711 Zitterour Drive in Rincon.
“We are the only county office in our United Way that has a service center,” Zielicke said. “We own this building and are able to provide space for programs to come here and serve our Effingham clients. That’s a really unique situation and we are proud we can provide those programs because that limits the transportation barrier and it gives people face-to-face services.
“There is a lot going on with servicing Effingham clients but it’s more than what meets the eye by just looking at our building or the nonprofits we support in our community.”
United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham stays abreast of client needs through its participation in Effingham County Family Connection, a collaborative of public and private agencies committed to boosting at-risk children and families.
“It’s provided us with the ability to make connections and relationships so that we are all working together to improve the lives of everyone here in our community,” Zielicke said.
United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham is gearing up for its annual fundraising campaign. It will kick off Sept. 12.
“We are a multi-cause organization that really addresses needs holistically and through a spectrum of community needs,” Zielicke said. “What that means is that people come to us obviously, maybe urgently, needing their basic needs to be met. They are coming for food, shelter and clothing, but we are able to delve deeper and find those underlying causes and help move them through the spectrum of needs so that once their basic needs are met they move toward a secondary need of getting employed or getting that financial training to get their families out of that situation.
“That’s really the motivation and the drive behind the big campaign push.”
United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham is in the process of setting its fundraising goal. Last year, it exceeded its $320,000 target.
“We are looking for an achievable but challenging goal that will serve our community in a good way,” Zielicke said. “United Way assesses needs locally and then people give locally. Then we are able to provide the solutions locally.
“I feel like nothing can surpass that we are boots on the ground and we have relationships in the community. We are here to serve Effingham and our families here.”
To find out more about the local United Way branch or its fundraising campaign, call 912-826-5300.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 23rd story in a weekly series about organizations in Effingham County Family Connection, part of a statewide initiative that cultivates public and private collaboration at the local level. Georgia Family Connection is represented in each of the state’s 159 counties, making it the largest network of its kind in the nation. The Effingham County Board of Commissioners is the local affiliate’s fiscal agent.

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