MILTON — Santa Rosa County will once again benefit from the services of United Way.

United Way of Escambia County's board of directors voted on April 25 to incorporate Santa Rosa County into their organization's service area.

According to a news release form UWEC, the motion was made after United Way Worldwide, the national organization, approached them to take over the territory. UWSRC lost its charter with the organization amid an FBI investigation. The Santa Rosa office was forced to close at the beginning of April. According to their website, UWEC serves more than 313,000 people, which will expand to more than 480,000 once the merge with Santa Rosa takes place. They generated more than $2.5 million in financial resources in 2018.

Laura Gilliam, president and CEO of UWEC, said the organization is ready to serve Santa Rosa County to ensure the residents have access to the resources and services they need. 

“There is a natural relationship between Escambia and Santa Rosa counties given their geographic proximity,” Gilliam said. “Sixteen of the 30 agencies currently receiving grant funding from United Way of Escambia County provide services to both counties.”

Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Sam Parker said he is glad the neighboring United Way is going to step in to help the community.

"I think it will be a positive thing," Parker said.

UWEC is in the process of reaching out to community groups, leaders of the county and agencies to determine the urgent needs to be addressed.

"Our goal and approach the first few months is to do a lot of listening," Gilliam said. "We feel that is pretty critical."

Kyle Holley, the former acting administrator of United Way Santa Rosa, could not be reached for comment.