Our Story


We envision a community where all Burke County individuals and families are equipped to live independently and thrive.


Building a stronger Burke County community by empowering self-sufficiency; increasing housing stability; and fostering opportunities and success for youth.


We Are United for...


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Empowering individuals and families to develop plans and goals to move from surviving to thriving.


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Housing Stability 

Negating homelessness and increasing affordable housing in Burke County.


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Youth Success

Providing opportunities for youth that fosters success in school, career, and beyond.





We recognize that our community's most pressing challenges are interwoven. We seek to address the challenges in a multitiered approach to positively impact the future of individuals and generations to come.


We are a Community Collaborator!



We focus on root causes.

We partner with community leaders, organizational stakeholders, and data experts to ensure we are targeting the right problems to resolve our biggest needs.


We build strategic partnerships.

We work with local government, for-profit and nonprofit partners to unite people and resources in building a stronger Burke County community.


We mobilize the community.

You are the change agent. We help you invest dollars, time and influence toward long-term impact.




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In 1956 four gentleman - T. Henry Wilson, co-founder of Henredon Furniture, Paul Cash, owner of Mimosa Insurance Agency, Nollie Patton, co-founder of State Bank of Burke, and James A. Connelly, owner of Nite Furniture - formed the Burke County United Fund. Their purpose was to create benefits for our community with one campaign that would distribute funds fairly and in accordance with needs, give donors the privilege to budget contributions and create a united community. The first campaign raised $56,246, exceeding their goal of $34,500.

In 1977, payroll deduction was instituted, resulting in major monetary increases. In 1983, Burke County United Fund (BCUF) merged with the Lovelady United Fund in Valdese to create one umbrella charity for the entire county. In 1987, BCUF hired its first full-time Executive Director, Joyce Mills. In 1994, Burke County United Fund became the Burke County United Way

1999 saw the first ONE MILLION dollar campaign. Burke County United Way celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016, having invested more than $27,000,000 back into the community up until that point.


At a time in which our country and community faced an unprecedented health crisis with COVID-19 in 2020, Burke County United Way collectively took a step back, a deep breath, and completed a new strategic plan. This 2021-2024 Strategic Plan that will drive the success of our organization's future and maximize the benefits for individuals in our community.  We have adopted a strategic plan that culminated in a year-long process of engaging a cross-section of community stakeholders to help us develop a new vision, mission, core initiatives, and our role as a community collaborator.


Learn More about our Strategic Plan   |   Meet Our Team   |   Meet Our Board