Our Work

The United Way of Southeast Arkansas #lovelocal

     The United Way of Southeast Arkansas is a local organization run by local people, serving the needs of local people.  These custodians of our community’s health, education, and income stability are well-known trustworthy volunteers dedicated to the health of each man, woman, and child of Southeast Arkansas. Under their guidance, your United Way of Southeast Arkansas continues to be the bedrock for our local community giving. 

      Local unpaid campaign volunteers work very hard to raise the funding it takes to address our community’s ever-expanding needs. Then, local unpaid volunteers decide how and where the money will be disbursed. United Way volunteers are the backbone of service and contributions to Southeast Arkansas. The United Way of Southeast Arkansas continues to be the health and human services fundraising leader in Southeast Arkansas, as it has been for 75 years, since 1946. 

       With a staff of six dedicated individuals, United Way of Southeast Arkansas organizes and assists hundreds of volunteers to raise and allocate these necessary funds for much-needed health and human services in our areas. UW staff is involved with various civic activities and plays an active leadership role in several local organizations, helping to contribute to the overall well-being of our community.  In addition, UWSEARK owns and manages the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center that houses 15 non-profit agencies, and provides meeting and training facilities for many other entities from around the area.

A brief history & explanation of United Way of Southeast Arkansas:

   The Community Chest of Jefferson County was formed in 1924, through the efforts of civic leader O. C. Hauber. The Community Chest was active thru the rest of the decade but sadly disappeared with the onset of the Depression.  WWII ended and the focus came back to finding solutions to local problems. The concepts of unity and conquering challenges together, of giving and working collectively for the greater good took hold. Late in the Fall of 1946, the Community Chest was reorganized under the leadership of Ralph Mitchell and W.H. Kennedy. They raised $61,289.

   The Community Chest became the United Fund in 1964. In 1971 the name was changed to The United Way of Jefferson County and continued as such until March of 1990 when we became The United Way of Southeast Arkansas. We remain that today.

   The Fall 2021 campaign marks our 75th consecutive fundraising campaign with the last 33 years successfully raising over one million dollars to benefit our community.  Our partnerships with over 20 non-profits serving the needs of Southeast Arkansas help provide assistance to more than 50,000 citizens annually.


Below are examples of just how UWSEARK funds provide help to our community through partnered agencies.

American Cancer Society Mid-South Division, Arkansas -The allocation to ACS helps provide services and information to cancer patients and also helps fund major cancer research programs.

American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas - UW helps fund local disaster relief and assistance after household fires.

Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas  - UW funds provide local matching funds for the Meals on Wheels program, providing home-delivered meals to over 1,750 elderly and disabled individuals daily.

Arkansas Foodbank Network, Inc. - Our partnership with the Arkansas Food Bank helps provide resources and food to more than 420 food pantries, soup kitchens, schools, churches, and other feeding agencies.

Boy Scouts of America - Quapaw Area Council, Inc. - Funding that helps with programs designed to foster confidence, responsibility, and leadership in our young citizens of all genders & orientations. 

Boys & Girls Club of Jefferson Co. - UW helps BGCJC provide a safe place for children to learn and grow after school and during the summer.

CASA Women’s Shelter - Funds from UWSEARK go toward services for victims of domestic violence and their children 24/7 365. 

Children’s Advocacy Center – Young victims of assault are provided with forensic interviews, medical exams, and focused therapy to help rebuild after their trauma. UW funds go toward caring for and restoring these children.

Delta Food Network, Inc. - UWSEARK helps fight hunger in 17 counties in Southeast Arkansas through the partnership with Delta Food Network. Community pantries are stocked, mass food distributions, emergency food subsidies, and weekend food-filled backpacks to school children are a few of the ways Delta and UW help to combat hunger.

Jefferson County 4-H – Hundreds of youth participate in 4-H clubs locally.  More than 100 different projects and activities help instill a determination to achieve, build character and develop leadership. UWSEARK is proud to help fund this organization.

Jenkins Memorial Center & Jenkins Industries – These UW partner agencies provide therapeutic services to people with developmental disabilities. School-age clients are provided with speech, occupational and physical therapies to help them reach their highest potential. Older clients receive training in daily living, community, and vocational skills to help them reach their highest level of independence in all areas of life. UW funds help provide the necessary tools for these pieces of training.

Neighbor to Neighbor – Funds to N2N help to supply the food pantry, and emergency funding for medicine, glasses, school supplies, and utilities. Most importantly, a free, hot meal is served at noon Monday thru Friday to anyone who is hungry.

Salvation Army – United Way funds are used to assist with emergency housing and disaster response.

Southeast Arkansas Behavioral Healthcare System - The allocation to SABHS is used as local matching funds to help increase grants and funding to provide mental health treatment and behavioral services that are accessible to our local community.
Southeast Arkansas RSVP – UW funds provide recognition and supplies to the hundreds of Retired & Senior Volunteers who share their experience, abilities, skills, and services with local non-profits.  Annually RSVP members provide over 100,000 hours of volunteer services in Southeast Arkansas, saving organizations & agencies thousands of dollars that can then be put into direct services.
Voices for Children/Court Appointed Special Advocates – Allocated funds to Voices for Children to help to train and equip Court Appointed Special Advocates to provide stable support to children in the foster care system. These advocates build relationships with the children and ensure that the best interest of the children in foster care is always the highest priority.

Volunteers in Public Schools – VIPS uses UW funds to help train volunteers and provide them with supplies and recognition to enhance learning experiences for students in the Pine Bluff School District.

Imagination Library  – The Imagination Library of Jefferson County is the primary focus of YouthPartners. This program strives to enroll children, ages 0-5, to receive a free book each month, mailed to them at home.  United Way funds are used to sponsor children and also to provide administration and enrollment supplies.  The goal is to increase early literacy skills.

Thank you, for your continued support and committed community love!

Leslie Dorn
Executive Director
United Way of Southeast Arkansas