United Way Worldwide

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United Way Worldwide
United Way Worldwide logo.svg
Website www.unitedway.org

United Way Worldwide is the leadership and support organization for the network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all, by focusing on education, income and health. The United Way movement mobilizes millions to action — to give, advocate and volunteer — to improve the conditions in which they live.


The organization has roots in Denver, Colorado, where in 1887 church leaders began a Charity Organization Society, which coordinated services and fund raising for 22 agencies.[citation needed] Many Community Chest organizations, which were founded in the first half of the twentieth century to jointly collect and allocate money, joined the American Association for Community Organizations in 1918. The first Community Chest was founded in 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio,[citation needed] after the example of the Jewish Federation in Cleveland — which served as an exemplary model for "federated giving". The number of Community Chest organizations increased from 39 to 353 between 1919 and 1929, and surpassed 1,000 by 1948. In 1948, Walter C. Laidlaw merged the Community Chest and other Detroit charities to form the United Foundation. By 1963, and after several name changes, the term United Way was adopted, but not everyone chose to use it. After Walter C. Laidlaw fell ill, William Aramony became CEO of the national governing body which was known as the United Community Funds and Council of America (UCFCA) and in 1970 the organization was renamed United Way of America (UWA), and moved from New York City to Alexandria, Virginia in 1971.[citation needed]

After Aramony's departure in 1992, Kenneth W. Dam was named interim CEO until Elaine Chao was selected as UWA's second President. Betty Stanley Beene took over in 1997 and stayed until 2001.[citation needed] Chris Amundsen, Chief Administrative Officer, served as interim president during a year-long search.

Brian Gallagher, former head of United Way in Columbus, Ohio, accepted the job in 2002[citation needed] and as president and CEO, Brian Gallagher was compensated over $1.5 million in 2012[1] with eight executives receiving over $300,000 in compensation in 2013.[2] In 2014, Brian Gallagher received $1.54 million in compensation while the organization experienced its largest worldwide loss in revenue, volunteers and donors in many years.[3]

Global expansion[edit]

In its first 100 years, the United Way network reached 20 countries. Since 1990, United Ways have been created in 25 additional countries.

United Ways worldwide are uniquely driven by local volunteers and professional leadership. In communities around the world, United Ways convene local leaders to identify needs and create strategies that allow individuals and families to experience economic and human success through educational achievement, income stability and healthy lives. They provide, assist or promote:

  • Community needs assessments
  • Information and referral to human service agencies
  • Fostering information exchange and collaboration among service agencies
  • Community fundraising campaigns inviting all people to give, and not just the wealthy
  • Organizational activities and money managed according to a strategy, a budget, and strict financial controls
  • Community planning committees, bringing agencies, donors, city leaders and other groups to a single table to address problems together
  • Allocation of funds to carefully investigated agencies, based on the community councils’ strategies
  • Volunteering

United Way in France[edit]

United Way Tocqueville (UWT) was created in France in 2008 as a non-profit organization, and forms part of the largest private charitable organization in the world, United Way Worldwide. UWT's ambition is to gather together the economic, political and social leaders to initiate collective community efforts to solve social problems.

United Way France mobilizes corporates, volunteers and public institutions around education programs for junior-high school students. Their main actions include:

  • Mobilizing volunteers and raising funds to support non-profit organizations and projects
  • Bringing together all stakeholders of a community (non-profit organizations, corporations, individuals, donors, elected officials, etc.) around innovative social projects
  • Accompanying companies in the development of their social initiatives and the achievement of sustainability
  • Raising awareness among people and corporations about the values of mutual aid and local community involvement

United Way France and the Airbus Corporate Foundation launched in 2011 the Flying Challenge Program to support and inspire youth.
Airbus employees and college students tutor middle school and high school students, in order to help them succeed at school and develop their awareness of the importance of their orientation choices and potential career.

United Way New Zealand[edit]

United Way New Zealand (UWNZ), officially known as United Way (NZ) Inc., was established in 1975 as the United Way of Greater Auckland. In 1998, the geographic scope of the organization was expanded, and the name was changed to reflect the new national focus.

Response to earthquakes in Chile, Haiti and Japan[edit]

United Way's local organization in Chile, along with other United Way organizations throughout Latin America have mobilized to respond to the earthquake that hit Chile on February 27, 2010. They provided support in areas with the most pressing long-term recovery needs.[citation needed]

United Way Worldwide established the United Way Worldwide Disaster Fund,[4] introduced a text-to-give program, and is coordinating the integration of efforts from United Ways around the world. United Way Worldwide has worked with the United States government – the White House, Congress, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and to underscore the vital role of U.S. and international NGOs in Haiti's long-term recovery.[5]

Immediately following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, United Way began raising crucial funds needed for the Central Community Chest of Japan, part of the United Way worldwide network. Almost 90 volunteer centers have been set up throughout the country at the prefectural, municipal, district, and community levels. As of March 22, eight consultants and 23 volunteer coordinators have been dispatched to Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori Prefecture, with another 68 coordinators preparing for dispatch. The Central Community Chest of Japan has helped provide supplies to volunteer centers including: bicycles, mattresses, cell phones, and laptops. Additional supplies requested by the volunteer centers include motorbikes, prefab houses and tents, copy and fax machines, PCs and printers.

The Central Community Chest of Japan is collaborating with 43 affiliated non-profit organizations through the Council for Disaster Relief Project for Volunteers. This number is expected to grow rapidly as transportation conditions continue to improve.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]