Did you know that the United Way organization can trace it roots to Denver, Colorado? In 1887, Denver-area church leaders joined together to coordinate services and fundraising and created the Charity Organization Society. Other religious groups took notice and began banding together to create joint ventures to collect donations and provide services to large communities. These groups adopted the name Community Chest and in 1948, the Community Chest organization in Detroit joined other groups and formed the United Foundation. This foundation evolved into a model for other united funds all over the country and eventually became the United Way, basing itself in the 1960’s in Alexandria, Virginia.
The United Way saw early on that the best way to serve communities was to harvest each communities’ strengths and assets and help facilitate delivery to those communities. At the same time, the national organization would be able to support these groups by providing assistance with larger picture efforts of community change and public-policy influence. By creating stake-holders in every community, the United Way mobilizes local giving and volunteering.
Every United Way is different; each focuses on the unique needs of its community. The main issues that United Way strives to address everywhere it serves are:
- Provide assistance for child and youth success through engagement
- Support and strengthen the family bond
- Improve access to healthcare for everyone
- Help promote financial stability
In recent years, the United Way has focused on the eradication of homelessness, expanding access to education and job-skills, the global issue of human trafficking and other large-scale, long-term communal issues and problems faced by cities, town and rural areas all across the United States. The United Way has also worked diligently on fostering partnerships with organizations such as the National Football League to promote charitable giving and community strength building.
United Way Battlement to Bells serves the large area from Aspen to Parachute. We are a nationally connected United Way Agency, but our focus is local. We are concerned with the needs of the residents of our cities, towns and rural areas. We are one of a network of more than 1,300 offices throughout the country (and 1,800 around the globe,) but when you donate funds to us, they stay local. You can direct your gifts to benefit the organizations that YOU believe in and want to help. We also provide connections for those who want to volunteer with partner agencies.
There are numerous ways to get involved with giving in YOUR community. If you want to get involved with your United Way, contact our Executive Director, Amy Barr.