Together — with our donors, volunteers, partners and sponsors — we work for a community where every child has an equal opportunity to thrive, every family has the resources to become self-reliant, and every person has a safe place to call home. The Cape and Islands United Way partners with more than 30 local nonprofits to fund programs that address these critical issues, making a positive difference in the lives of more than 50,000 people every year.

The Cape and Islands United Way (CIUW) is the region’s leading social impact organization. Founded in 1960, we are the trusted local organization charged with the “big picture” of human needs. The population we serve includes all residents of the 22 towns of Barnstable, Duke and Nantucket counties.


We focus on developing lasting solutions to the complex and interconnected challenges we face within our local communities, while also ensuring that the basic needs of our residents are met. We study needs and research evidence-based strategies to address underlying causes. We strive to understand where resources are flowing, target gaps that exist, and identify duplication.


Most importantly, we seek, create and nurture programs that work. By researching and cultivating proven strategies to support children and youth success, affordable and accessible housing, strong, healthy and resilient individuals, and family financial stability, we connect the dots to ensure that our local residents have the foundation for a good life.

Our mission is to unite people and to improve lives, creating lasting change on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

The community impact model

Over the past two years, we have shifted from the traditional United Way business model to one of community impact.


The community impact model acknowledges that the growing challenges in our community are not being solved – despite the proliferation of nonprofit organizations in the region. And, given that the needs in our community are intertwined in a very complicated way that no one agency or entity can solve, community impact embraces a collective vision and a coordinated, integrated response. As the local organization with a broad view and a national, trusted brand behind us – we believe we have an obligation and a responsibility to lead and inspire long-term solutions.

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Creating Housing Stability
Promoting Health
Improving Educational Success
family pantry
Encouraging Financial Stability
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Women United