Community Chest (organization)

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Small Community Chest sticker, on door of a vacated restaurant, San Francisco, California, 1942.
Bess Truman receiving a Community Chest award from Ingrid Bergman (1946).

Community Chests, commonly referred to as community trusts, community foundations or united way organizations, are endowment funds pooled from a community for the purpose of charitable giving.[1] The first Community Chest, "Community Fund", was initiated in 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio, by the Federation for Charity and Philanthropy.[2] The number of Community Chest organizations increased from 39 to 353 between 1919 and 1929, and surpassed 1,000 by 1948. By 1963, and after several name changes, the term "United Way" was adopted in the United States, whereas the United Way/Centraide name was not adopted in Canada until 1973–74.

Community Chests were promoted by several old-time radio programs, including the H. J. Heinz Company–sponsored The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet show, the S. C. Johnson & Son–sponsored Fibber McGee and Molly show, and the Chevron-sponsored Let George Do It show.

Some local organizations continue to use the name Community Chest, such as the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest[3] in Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.A. It also continues to be used as the name for a feature of the board game Monopoly.

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