Milestones of United Way Worldwide
In 1887, a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J. O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put their heads together to plan the first united campaign for ten health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, as well as to coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred.
That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. Over 118 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.
United Way Worldwide is the national organization dedicated to leading the United Way movement. Nearly 1,300 local United Ways create long-lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of the most significant local issues. Common focus areas include helping children and youth achieve their potential, promoting financial stability and independence, and improving people’s health. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes by addressing the underlying causes of problems.
United Ways and the NFL celebrate the 35th Anniversary of their unique partnership and the longest-running sports/charity public service announcement campaign of its kind. The partnership has enabled the United Way to share their special message with 110 million viewers during football season. Over 1000 spots have aired since 1973.
Advancing the Common Good:
Creating Opportunities for a Better Life for All
United Way embarked on a national brand management strategy designed to differentiate the United Way brand and system. The strategy helps to reposition United Way as more than a “fundraiser,” but rather as the leading community impact organization.
United Way and its partners, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, successfully petition the Federal Communications Commission to designate “211″ for health and human services information and referral. Originally created by United Way of Atlanta, 211 is an easy-to-remember and universally recognizable telephone number that makes a critical connection between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies.
First adopted in 1973 and last updated in 1988, United Way of America updates its Standards of Excellence. The new Standards — which provide a comprehensive description of benchmark standards and best practices — reflect the organization’s strategic shift from its traditional role as strictly a fundraiser to a new mission focused on identifying and addressing the long-term needs of communities.
Everyone deserves opportunities to have a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement, and good health.
That’s why United Way’s work is focused on the building blocks for a good life: