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1887 In Denver, religious leaders founded the Charity Organizations Society, the first United Way, which planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fundraising campaign for 22 agencies.
1888 First United Way campaign in Denver raised $21,700.
1894 Charitable institutions become exempt from the first federal act that imposed a tax on all corporations organized for profit.
1895 First independent federation of Jewish agencies formed in Boston.
1900 Cleveland’s Chamber of Commerce formed the Committee on Benevolent Associations to set standards and monitor charities. It was the first effort at charity self-regulation and was established to protect the donor.
1905 Chicago’s directory of charities listed 3,000 agencies.
1908 First community planning program, Associated Charities, formed in Pittsburgh.
1910 A council was formed in Columbus, Ohio, to prevent overlapping services and multiplicity of solicitations.
1911 The National Association of Societies for Organizing Charity was formed to help social agencies cooperate and share information.
1913-18 During the World War I era, War Chests were formed to provide relief for the armed forces and their families, as well as refugees in Europe.
1913 The nation’s first modern Community Chest was born in Cleveland, where a program for allocating campaign funds was developed.
1918 The National Information Bureau, later the National Charities Information Bureau (NCIB), was established to investigate national charitable organizations.

Executives of 12 fundraising federations met in Chicago and formed the American Association for Community Organizations (AACO). These men are considered by many to be the founding fathers of what is now United Way of America (UWA). The organization’s objective was to encourage and stimulate collective community planning, and the development of better standards in the work of community organizations for social work.
1919 Rochester, New York, used the name Community Chest, a name widely adopted by United Way organizations and used until the early 1950s. This year began a 10-year growth period in the number of Community Chests: 39 in 1919; 353 in 1929.

Trends and Context—1887–1929

With the formation of the first United Way, our foundation of community leadership was established. The first United Way was a charity organization society that took responsibility for assessing community need, advising relief agencies and ensuring financial efficiency, as well as raising and distributing funds. Human care needs were outstripping local capacity, and an infrastructure was needed to provide them.

As United Way organizations spread, volunteer leadership and local focus were constants. The single appeal campaign became United Way’s primary value proposition: the collective fundraising approach helped agencies serve more people more effectively. The formation of the AACO in 1918 acknowledged the national impact of the many local United Ways.

This period of American history was characterized by the rapid rise of industry. As urbanization and industrialization grew, human needs began to outpace the ability of friends and neighbors to meet them. In 1900, there was no minimum age for child labor, no regulation of hours and wages, few safety standards for workers and minimal “safety nets” for anyone who suffered an interruption in their ability to earn wages, such as natural disaster, injury or illness. Communities began to form structure to care for those in need. The War Chests of WWI showed an awareness of need on the international level as well.

1931 President Hoover sets a precedent by permitting the Washington, DC, Chest to solicit federal employees.
1938 President Franklin D. Roosevelt broadcasts the first all-network Presidential Message.
1941-45 World War II saw the revival of War Chests. Because so many were making overlapping appeals, War Chest campaigns were coordinated within communities.
1943 Payroll deduction developed; workplace campaigns proliferate.
1946 The Department of Labor Participation was established at United Way of America. The aim was to join United Way, labor, and health and welfare agencies in a cooperative, community effort to bring services and people together. To accomplish this, what are currently known as AFL-CIO Community Services liaisons are employed by United Way organizations throughout the country.
1948 More than 1,000 communities had established United Way organizations.
1957 President Eisenhower signed the executive order creating the Uniform Federal Fundraising Program, which permitted local federated campaigns to ask federal employees for pledges — a forerunner to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).

The National Council on Community Foundations was incorporated. It became the Council on Foundations in 1964.
1960 The Institute of Community Studies was established, the forerunner of the Management and Community Studies Institute (MACSI).

The Commerce and Industry Combined Health Appeal (CICHA) was organized in Baltimore: President Kennedy signed the executive order making health and welfare agencies and such other national voluntary agencies as may be appropriate eligible to receive gifts from federal employees.
1963 The National Budget and Consultation Committee, which evolved from the Joint Budget Committee of the Community Chests and Councils of the American Way Community Services, published Standards for National Voluntary Health, Welfare and Recreation Agencies.

Los Angeles, California, became the first community to formally adopt the name United Way. More than 30 Community Chests and United Fund organizations there merged to become United Way, Inc.
1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty in a State of the Union address.

A payroll-deduction plan for federal employees started as their three fundraising campaigns were consolidated into one—marking the beginning of what is known today as the Combined Federal Campaign.
1966 Statement of Consensus on Government and the Voluntary Sector in Health and Welfare developed, urging cooperation among federal government, national agencies and the United Community Funds and Council of America (UCFCA).

Mid-growth of art and culture concerns; Combined Health Agencies Drives (CHAD); 60s International Service Agencies (ISA).
1967 United Way campaigns raised more than $700 million, despite work shortages and civil unrest. United Ways helped 27.5 million families; 31,300 agencies were members; 8.5 million people were volunteering; and 32.8 million made donations.

Trends and Context—1930–1969

The introduction of payroll deduction made giving convenient and financially feasible for the average American worker. Formal relationships with unions, large companies and local and national government began during this period. United Way’s network of relationships, which began with community leaders and social service agencies, extended to include business, labor and government. While retaining a local focus, United Ways take advantage of national presence by using national media.

The Depression was an economic disaster without parallel in the United Sates. By 1933 there were up to 15 million people unemployed and receiving relief of some kind. As government social service structures were created to react to this unprecedented level of need, United Ways and social service agencies worked tirelessly to fill the gap.

As the Depression eased, the World War II era began. Again Americans rallied in support of the war effort. With the rise of government regulation and labor unions, the industrial boom of the post-war period distributed income in a broad fashion—the work force shared in the general prosperity. In this climate, philanthropy by companies as well as workers grew.

1970 The United Way name was formally adopted.
1971 United Way of America moved from New York, New York, to Alexandria, Virginia.
1972 The United Way logo, representing the helping hand cradling mankind and surrounded by a rainbow symbolizing hope, was created a Saul Bass, a prominent graphic designer.

The Management and Community Studies Institute (MACSI) was established to study United Way management procedures. Thirty-five MACSI studies were conducted, at local United Way’s requests, in the first five years.

United Way of America incorporates in Virginia the national Alexis de Tocqueville Society. Its purpose is to recognize persons who have rendered outstanding service as volunteers in their own communities or nationally. The Society aims to foster and promote voluntary community service, and a recognition of the value and importance of such service to the nation. The name was chosen because of de Tocqueville’s admiration for the spirit of voluntary association and voluntary effort for the common good, which he had observed in America. Membership in the Society is granted to individuals who contribute at least $10,000 annually to the United Way. The Society presents the annual National Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award, the highest award for volunteerism given by the United Way. Previous winners of the Tocqueville Award include Ambassador Walter Annenberg, President Ronald Reagan, President Jimmy Carter, Mary Elizabeth Kennedy, Senator and Mrs. John Glenn, Pete and Carrie Rozelle, Vernon Jordan, Max Fisher, Les Wexner and Bob Hope.
1973 The National Football League (NFL) and the United Way established their partnership to increase public awareness of social service issues facing the country. In addition to public service announcements in which volunteer NFL players, coaches and owners appear, NFL players support their local United Ways through personal appearances, special programs, and sitting on United Way governing boards.

The National Academy of Volunteerism (NAV) was created at United Way of America to elevate professional competencies in core United Way business areas.
1974 United Ways raised $1,038,995,000 in America and Canada—the first time in history that an annual campaign of a single organization raised more than $1 billion.

United Ways undertook with the NFL the largest public-service campaign in the nation’s history; a major part of that campaign was Great Moments, the televised United Way/NFL public service announcements.

Boardwalk, funded by the Kellogg foundation, was established as an initiative to provide training and development materials to citizen Boards.

United Way International was formed to help nations around the world form United Way-type organizations.
1976 National volunteers, labor leaders and United Way volunteers and professionals developed the Program for the Future. It guided United Ways over the next 10 years by defining national goals that could be applied locally to strengthen the voluntary sector. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) was created in response to findings of the Filer Commission.

United Way of America established the National Corporate Leadership (NCL). In partnership with major corporations (10,000 or more employees) and individual United Ways, NCL provides expert advice and resources to strengthen corporate involvement in communities. NCL assists corporations to continuously improve their company-wide United Way involvement; and provides United Ways with the knowledge needed to build local relationships with, and support their NCL company locations.
1977 Annual fundraising growth, under the Program for the Future, exceeded $100 million for the first time.
1978 The National Long-Range Planning Committee identified and reported on five critical issues facing United Ways: inclusiveness, area-wide service arrangements, volunteerism and public policy, agency relations and personalization.
1980 The Combined Federal Campaign expanded. New organizations included the National Service Agencies (NSA), women and minority organizations and environmental and social action groups.
1981 United Ways raised $1.68 billion, a 10.1 percent increase over 1980. Despite high unemployment and economic uncertainty, it was the largest single-year percentage increase in 25 years.
1982 United Way of America’s National Service and Training Center opened in August, increasing the organization’s ability to assist the nation’s 2,200 United Ways. It also enabled United Way of America to respond to the needs of new and emerging health and welfare organizations.

The Volunteer Leadership Development Program (VLDP) was launched to help nonprofit board members become more effective community leaders.
1983 Congress made the first-of-its-kind $50 million emergency food and shelter grant to the voluntary sector. United Way of America serves as the fiscal agent and secretariat for the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSP). A national board, chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and including representatives from United Way of America and five other national nonprofits, coordinated distribution of the grant to civil jurisdictions through local boards that resembled the national board’s composition. Later that year, Congress made an additional $40 million grant to FEMA. The supplemental grant was estimated to affect 59 percent of the nation’s unemployed.
1984 The Alexis de Tocqueville Society initiated its Major Gifts and Recognition Program, which is designed to deepen the understanding, commitment and support of high wealth individuals to United Ways and to recognize the deep commitment to service exemplified in the National Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award. Membership in the Society is granted to individuals who contribute at least $10,000 annually to the United Way.
1985 United Ways raised $2.33 billion, a 9 percent increase over 1984.

Rethinking Tomorrow and Beyond, published by United Way of America, set forth a vision of the United Way of the future. It outlined five core strategies United Ways could implement to achieve that vision.
1987 United Way recognized its centennial by saluting the American volunteer through many programs, including the dedication of a United Way postage stamp by the U.S. Postal Service.

In Washington D.C., more than 3,000 people attended the Centennial Volunteer Leaders Conference, the largest United Way conference ever. At the same time, United Way conducted its first Young Leaders’ Conference for high school and college students in the United States.

United Ways launched the Second Century Initiative (SCI), a collective effort to double funds and volunteers as well as become a more open and caring organization.

United Way of America granted a total of $110,000 to Galesburg, Illinois; Tucson, Arizona; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Tulsa, Oklahoma for their youth volunteer initiatives.
1989 The NFL gave United Way $1.25 million to aid victims of the October 1989 earthquake that struck Northern and Central California. Sony Corporation and Sony Corporation of America contributed $1 million to earthquake-relief efforts.

Project Blueprint, funded by a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, was established to promote the recruitment, development and placement of minority volunteers to United Ways and other nonprofits.

Trends and Context—1970–1989

The rise of mass communication and proliferation of companies with operations in multiple communities across the country helped the Community Chests and other affiliated organizations realize that they could have even more impact by working together. Banding together under a common name and symbol, United Way developed successful national programs such as the National Corporate Leadership (or NCL) program as well as the longstanding partnership with the National Football League. United Way became a field of professional practice, with training and development in core areas of business.

During this period, the U.S. economy began to shift from an industrial economy to a service economy. Companies with locations in several communities multiplied. United Way responded with National Corporate Leadership (NCL), designed to streamline relations between cross-community companies and local United Ways. The government offered expanding resources to nonprofits (Title 20) and selected United Way as the conduit for distribution.

1990 Mobilizing a Caring America: Principles for the 1990s, published by United Way of America, offered strategies and a clear direction for the future of America’s United Ways.

The 119 local Alexis de Tocqueville Societies gave a total of $63.7 million, a 16 percent increase over 1989.

For the first time, Americans gave more than $3 billion to local United Way campaigns.
1991 When war broke out in the Persian Gulf, a fully staffed Operations Center at United Way of America worked closely with the U.S. military, the American Red Cross, USO, Travelers Aid International, the National Mental Health Association, Family Service America and other organizations to ensure that those in need received help. The Operations Center hotline logged close to 1,000 calls per week during the height of the hostilities.
1992 William Aramony resigned as UWA president due to financial mismanagement, and Kenneth W. Dam served as interim President and Chief Executive Officer.

Prompted by an investigative report prepared by outside counsel, the Board of Governors adopted 45 management recommendations for United Way of America. The recommendations included redefining United Way of America’s relationship with seven spin-off organizations.

In August, members at their annual meeting approved sweeping reforms of United Way of America governance. The reforms included strict internal financial controls and an expanded governance structure, with a larger Board of Governors that includes one-third of its membership from local United Ways. United Ways began to resume financial support of United Way of America.

Former Peace Corps Director, Elaine L. Chao, was selected as United Way of America’s President and Chief Executive Officer - the first Asian American and first female to assume this position.
1993 United Way of America underwent major reorganization aimed at improving delivery of quality services to local United Ways and other key constituents.

United Way of America’s board launched a 20-year commitment to ensure the healthy development of America’s children. Based upon this commitment, United Way of America created a national children’s initiative called the Mobilization for America’s Children, which includes the Success By 6® model and critical community building strategies to help children succeed in life.

United Ways, national human-service agencies and United Way of America coordinated efforts to help people during and after the summer’s natural flood disaster in the Midwest.

The trial of former United Way of America President, William Aramony, and co-defendants concludes. They were convicted of multiple counts of conspiracy, fraud and false tax returns. Mr. Aramony was sentenced to 84 months in prison, Mr. Merlo to 55 months and Mr. Paulachak to 30 months. In addition, a fine of at least $522,000 was levied.

The Board of Governors passed resolutions affirming the need for UWA’s leadership in pledge and information processing and the formation of a volunteer Blue Ribbon Committee to determine the long term role of UWA and the United Way system to pledge processing. The corporate community is increasingly demanding easier, more cost-efficient ways to process workplace campaigns. The Board sees these resolutions as the first steps in ensuring that United Way continues to be the premier workplace fundraiser because of its ability to change to better meet customers’ needs through the use of new technology.
1994 United Ways embark on a multi-year strategic planning process through United Way of America and pro bono assistance of McKinsey & Company.

In the aftermath of the Los Angeles earthquake, local United Ways, their member agencies and United Way of America joined forces to assist those affected by this natural disaster.

Temerlin McCain of Irving, Texas developed the 1994 United Way of America advertising campaign on a pro bono basis. After extensively reviewing message research, they developed a “helping hands” theme. The tagline, created for 1994 and beyond, was “Reaching Those Who Need Help. Touching Us All.”

United Way of America was selected by Financial World magazine as the charity of choice in 1994 for its leadership in not-for-profit ethics and accountability.

The 60-member National Professional Council (NPC) began work as the United Way staff forum to address issues significant to United Ways.

1994 marked the first year of United Way of America’s Quality Awards, modeled after the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Awards. These awards recognize United Way organizations that demonstrated measurable progress in customer satisfaction, accountability and productivity. United Way of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA; United Way of Piedmont, Spartanburg, SC; and United Way of Southeastern New England, Providence, RI, were the first recipients of this prestigious award.

United Way of America testified before the IRS on behalf of United Ways to seek clarification of the temporary and proposed regulations for substantiating charitable contributions for income tax returns. As a result, the IRS agreed to accept United Way pledge cards or other documentation, as well as pledge cards printed by companies, as contribution substantiation.

United Way became a full partner in supporting, along with the AFL-CIO, the National Association of Letter Carriers’ (NALC) National Food Drive held annually on the second Saturday in May. The drive stocks local community food banks, pantries and shelters with nonperishables Letter Carriers collect from customers along their mail routes. The drive, which has become the world’s largest one-day food drive, was started by NALC in 1991 in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service and AFL-CIO.
1995 The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) announced its selection of United Way of America and the United Way system as the primary provider of community support and volunteer services for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay which ACOG designated as a salute to community heroes. In its role, United Way was responsible for assisting ACOG with the selection of torchbearers, organizing community celebrations to greet the arrival of the Olympic Flame, and coordinating volunteers for these functions.

In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, Governor Frank Keating appointed United Way of Metro Oklahoma City to manage a central coordinating database linking survivors and families of victims to funds and long-term resources. A technology team from United Way of America helped develop a model program that can be replicated in the future.

United Way of America’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the adoption of Strategic Direction for United Way: Charting the Path for Building Better Communities. This document set out the dual strategic priorities of United Way: 1) To add value to the community beyond that of the independent efforts of agencies in the area of health and human services; and 2) Conduct costeffective, donor-oriented fundraising to increase financial resources—encompassing both a United Way-managed Community Fund and donor designations.
1996 United Way of America developed two Internet products, United Way Online - http://online.unitedway.org - for local United Ways, and a website for the general public - http://national.unitedway.org.

Betty Stanley Beene was selected as United Way of America’s new president and chief executive officer. Prior to her selection, Betty served as President and CEO of Tri-State United Way.

Former United Way of America President William Aramony appealed his sentence to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Under the guidance of a Task Force on Impact, United Way of America produced a series of products that allows United Ways to measure the outcomes of funded programs. Outcome measurement is a powerful planning tool that helps focus staff, volunteer and agency efforts and organizational resources on results rather than activities. Outcome measurement helps United Ways and agencies create cross-functional alignment, increase effectiveness, develop strategies for community initiatives, and demonstrate results that bring the United Way brand to life. United Way Online launched two new databases—the Nationally Exempt Organization (NEO) database which enables local United Ways to verify that an agency exists and that donations will be deductible, and GiftLink which allows users to match employer locations or employee residence zip codes with the boundaries of United Ways.
1997 Betty Stanley Beene assumes the position of President and CEO of United Way of America. United Way of America and the United Way system were asked by the organizers of the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future to join with them in leading the selection process for the 1,400 delegates from 140 cities across the nation. The focus of the Summit was to help youth through volunteer efforts.
1998 United Way and the National Football League celebrated the 25th Anniversary of their unique partnership. It is the longest running sports/charity public service announcement (PSA) campaign. The gift of airtime from the NFL over the past 25 years exceeds $1 billion. More than 950 PSAs carrying United Way’s message of hope and compassion have helped the nation to understand the role United Way and its supported agencies play in communities every day. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue appointed Chairman of United Way of America Board of Governors, reaffirming the 2-year NFL/United Way partnership initiated by former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1972. In tribute to the time-honored traditions of humanitarianism and good will in the United States, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Philanthropy stamp—officially titled Giving & Sharing: An American Tradition—nationwide. United Way of America, the U.S. Postal Service and several social service organizations sponsored the stamp to increase awareness of social causes and encourage our philanthropic spirit in America. United Ways are the first national service organizations to lead and support U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno’s “Coalition for America’s Children,” a new coalition which will work in local communities to reduce violence. The coalition will address five specific, concrete, measurable goals aimed at improving the health and safe development of children. United Way of America’s Board of Governors approved the final Brand Value Proposition (BVP) for eight lead cities to test. The BVP represents the set of enduring strategies designed to address the needs of United Way’s most committed donors. The committed donor is defined as someone who gives $500 or more to United Way, gives to multiple charities, and is involved in the community. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, without comment, unanimously rejected William Aramony’s appeal to have his seven-year prison sentence reduced.
1999 Bank of America announced a $40 million grant to United Way of America to continue the Foundation’s support of Success By 6® throughout the bank’s franchise. Coupled with a $10 million grant announced in 1998, it is the Foundation’s largest commitment and one of the largest corporate grants in history. First NFL and United Way Hometown Huddle took place in 31 NFL cities across the country. In each city, NFL players, coaches and owners spent the afternoon at local United Way agencies doing volunteer projects. This annual event showcased the shared commitment of the NFL and the United Ways to make their communities stronger and healthier, and to bring greater awareness to already existing programs by joining forces. In 1998–99 campaigns, United Ways collectively raised $3.58 billion, boasting revenues by more than $170 million for a 5.1 percent increase over 1997–98 levels.
2000 The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts of America to set its own membership and leadership standards. This decision prompted many United Ways to evaluate their funding policies and determine the needs of their communities in light of this issue. Since each community must decide the way it will address this issue, United Way of America cannot and will not establish a national policy on the funding of local Boy Scout of America programs. The Federal Communications Commission approved a petition filed by United Way of America and The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems and others requesting national designation of 211 for health and human services information and referral. 211 is an easy-toremember 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. United Way of America Board of Governors established the Task Force on Strengthening the United Way System to propose a strategic direction and governing mechanism for the United Way system. Chaired by Jack Little, Retired President and Chief Executive Officer, Shell Oil Company and Member of the Board of Governors, the Task Force is comprised of 24 individual volunteer and staff leaders, representing United Way of America’s Board of Governors, member United Ways, corporations and organized labor. United Way of America launches the United Way State of Caring Index™. This dynamic index measures the needs of Americans and the caring and compassion of the nation, as well as each state. Consisting of 32 social and economic indicators, the Index, which will be updated annually, is aimed to spark new debate and discussion on local, statewide, and national levels, as United Way and community decision-makers set their caring agendas for the coming years. UWA’s Board of Governors approved implementation of a national charitable gift annuity program to benefit member United Way organizations and their donors. A charitable gift annuity is one of the most popular forms of planned giving. It is a simple contract between a donor and a charity. The donor makes an irrevocable gift to charity. In return, the charity pays the donor, or income beneficiary named by the donor, a fixed income (annuity) over a lifetime. At the death of the donor, or income beneficiary, the amount remaining is available to be used for charitable purposes. In 1999–2000, United Ways together raised $3.77 billion, a 5.4 percent increase over the past year.
2001 Betty Beene resigned as President, and Chris Amundsen served as interim President and Chief Executive Officer. National Corporate Leadership (NCL) celebrates 25 years. Combined, NCL companies operate in over 12,300 locations and contribute nearly $860 million to United Ways annually, onequarter of all funds raised by United Ways nationally. United Way of America announced the development of the new Brand Fellowship to help promote and sustain the momentum the field has created around the brand new United Way. The Brand Fellowship is an opportunity for a local United Way executive to measurably enhance United Way’s national brand position. Rich Audsley, Chief Operating Officer, Mile High United Way, Denver, Colorado, accepted the first fellowship. Citing a new 50-state survey that found that the majority of all parents and caregivers are not taking the proper action to protect four-to-eight year old children in motor vehicles, Ford Motor Company launched the Boost America! safety program to shift attitudes and behavior in favor of better protection for child passengers through increased booster seat use. This $35 million investment in child safety helped to distribute one million booster seats in the first year of the campaign with 500,000 to be allocated to United Ways for distribution to needy families. In the 2000–2001 campaigns, United Ways generated a record-breaking $3.91 billion in resources. For the fifth year in a row, campaign growth outpaced inflation. Additionally, with United Ways’ responses to the resource development continuum survey, United Way of America was able to calculate the dollar value of resources that United Ways leveraged beyond the campaign. Combined with campaign dollars, United Ways generated $4.7 billion in 2000– 2001. The September 11 Fund, a joint project of United Way of New York and the New York Community Trust, supported by United Ways across the country, raised $438 million in response to terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
2002 Brian Gallagher becomes President and CEO of United Way of America.
2003 New Membership Standards for member United Ways that are designed to enhance the level of accountability and transparency in United Way operations are overwhelmingly adopted. United Way of America launched its what matters.® advertising campaign. what matters.® is an articulation of the commitment United Way has to creating meaningful and tangible impact in communities across America.
2004 In response to the devastating hurricanes that ravaged the state of Florida, United Ways throughout Florida led response and recovery efforts by identifying the most serious needs in devastated communities. The Florida 2-1-1 Network responded to thousands of telephone calls directing victims to services such as shelters, food, medical assistance, disaster preparedness and response activities, post-disaster assistance, and recovery information. Local 2-1-1 operators also matched volunteers with opportunities to give help in affected communities. The tragic tsunami that struck South Asia focused attention on that area of the world. The United Way Coordinated Crisis Response Team worked collaboratively with staff from United Way International, United Way of America, and United Way affiliates in India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, and Thailand to collectively respond to the Indian Ocean communities impacted by the disasters.
2005 United Way of America updated its Standards of Excellence. First adopted in 1973 and last updated in 1988, the Standards -- which provide a comprehensive description of benchmark standards and best practices -- reflect the organization's strategic shift from its traditional role as a fundraiser to a new mission focused on identifying and addressing the long-term needs of communities. In conjunction with Civitas and the Ad Council, United Way of America introduced Born Learning, an innovative public engagement campaign designed to provide parents and caregivers with the resources they need to create quality early learning opportunities for young children.
2006 United Way of America and MTV created Storm Corps, an Alternative Spring Break program that invites young people to help United Way rebuild the Gulf Coast after the devastating hurricanes of 2005. Nearly 100 young adults traveled to Biloxi, MS, and Foley, AL, to assist with rebuilding and recovery efforts.
2007 The United Way Financial Stability Partnership™ was introduced. The national initiative will empower low- to moderate-income people to achieve long-term financial stability that leads to independence. United Way annual revenue topped $4 billion for the first time, continuing its status as the nation’s largest charity.
2008 United Way introduced the bold goals for the common good focused on education, income and health, and LIVE UNITED, a new call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.
2009 United Way International and United Way of America came together to create United Way Worldwide, the largest privately-funded nonprofit in the World, with more than 1,800 United Ways in 41 countries and territories.
2011 United Way Worldwide signed a partnership agreement with the China Charity Federation increasing the reach and ability of the worldwide organization to create opportunities for a better life for all. The organization also launched its U.S. volunteer call to action with the goal of recruiting one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors to advance United Way education goals.
2012 United Way celebrates its 125th anniversary and enters into partnerships with CNN and CNN international to share the LIVE UNITED message in communities around the world.

Trends and Context—1990–present


The Aramony scandal of 1992 presented a major challenge to the United Way system. In response, United Way adopted more stringent financial and ethical controls. Research has shown that United Way has regained public trust and esteem, with campaign totals beating the rise of inflation.

United Way is also leveraging support from business, government and foundations to replicate successful local programs across the nation. Our high national profile has also allowed us to be influential in public policy innovations such as 2-1-1.

As the Internet became an increasingly important communication tool, United Ways established a presence online. The information age economy, with its polarization of wealth, rapid growth of small business and other workplaces not traditionally reached by United Way, presents new challenges and offers new opportunities.

In keeping with our history of adapting to meet the needs of the times, United Ways, locally and as a system, are generating new structures and strategies to maintain and increase our community impact.