History of United Way Worldwide

The United Way Worldwide is a charity organization founded in 1887 by five religious leaders in Denver, Colorado. This organization is now the world’s largest privately-funded not for profit society and has gone global with several offices outside of North America.

A year after its establishment, United Way collected money and funded various charity societies in Denver and referred several clients to human service agencies in and around Colorado. The first campaign held in the region attracted several public figures, business people & philanthropists and a total of $21,700 was collected.

Subsequent Developments

In the following years, the organization was focused on changing lives in North America. In 1894, new rules and taxation bills were being imposed, however, the United Way as a non-profit organization was exempted from taxes. In 1913, the Country’s first-Community-Chest was established in Cleveland and a committee for disbursing the campaign funds was formed. Five years down the line, an executive of twelve fund-raising federations held a meeting in Chicago-USA & a new body- (AACO) was born.


Within this period, several Community Chests were established in various parts of America. By the year, 1929, Community Chests had increased to 353 from 39 in 1919.

In 1928, a new Community-Chest-organization was formed in Cape-Town- South Africa. This was the first branch of the organization outside North America.

The 1970s

In 1970, the organization rebranded to United-Way of America and its headquarters was transferred from NY to Alexandria, Virginia in 1971.

In 1975, several organizations had been established in various parts of the world & United Way International was formed.

The board of directors came from seven countries and the organization was operational in 45 countries.

The 1980s

The Organization was then focused on attaining measurable impact and not just activities and projects. The organization encouraged various agencies getting the funds to prioritize on outcomes and impact they created on the society.


For the next two decades, United Way was targeting health, financial stability, and education as part of its main agendas. By the mid-2000s, analysis was done to ascertain if the objectives of the organization had been met. During the study, they realized that the society was facing more challenges than they speculated and began collaborating with other partners and charity organizations across a broader section of the community.

In May 2009, the United-Way International & the United-Way America were merged into one global entity- The United Way Worldwide with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, US.

Achievements of the organization

. Since its inception, the charity organization has raised billions of US dollars and has served approximately 61 million people across the globe.

. The organization has attracted more than 2.9 million volunteers and over 8.3 million donors worldwide.

. The organization has managed to traverse international boundaries with the most recent and major branch being launched in France in 2008- United Way Tocqueville.

The organization has succeeded in putting together government agencies, NGOs, and business partners to drive the common good in the society.

To fully understa innd the setup and how his community works various parts of the world- take a look at the organization’s:

To catch a number of charitable activities and the impact of such projects in society. Here is a link to a Video showing how this society has help boost education in children with disabilities.


– The organization donates money to a beneficiary to kick start his life.

Volunteers give a helping hand in a school