Lyle SmithGraybeal Weld Co United Way
Lyle SmithGraybeal, vice-president of Community Development United Way of Weld County, chats with Nigel Aves about how United Way-Weld County helps the people of Colorado.
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The history of United Way dates back to the late 19th century. The organization was initially established to address social welfare issues and coordinate charitable efforts in local communities. Here's an overview of the key milestones in the history of United Way:
- Beginnings: In 1887, a Denver priest named Father William J. O'Rourke founded the first organization that would later become United Way. He organized the Charity Organization Society to coordinate local charities and prevent duplication of services.
- Community Chest: The concept of a "Community Chest" emerged in Cleveland in 1913 when local leaders started a centralized fundraising campaign to support multiple charitable agencies. This model was later replicated in other cities, and it laid the groundwork for the modern United Way movement.
- National Committee for Organizing Community Welfare: In 1918, various cities' Community Chest organizations formed the National Committee for Organizing Community Welfare. This committee focused on promoting cooperation among local charities and standardizing fundraising methods.
- American Association for Community Organizations: In 1928, the National Committee merged with another organization called the American Association for Community Organizations (AACO) to become the Community Chests and Councils of America (CCCA). This consolidation helped strengthen the organization's impact and influence.
- United Way of America: In 1970, the CCCA officially changed its name to United Way of America to reflect its nationwide presence and unified mission. United Way expanded its focus beyond just fundraising to actively addressing community needs and issues.
- International Expansion: United Way's model gained global recognition, leading to the establishment of United Way International in 1974. This allowed United Way to expand its reach beyond the United States and work with partners worldwide.
- Fundraising Campaigns: United Way is well-known for its annual workplace fundraising campaigns, often led by employee giving through payroll deductions. These campaigns raise funds to support local nonprofits and address various social issues.
- Community Impact: Over the years, United Way shifted its approach from simply being a fundraising organization to becoming a catalyst for community change. United Way chapters began focusing on long-term community impact, conducting needs assessments, and investing in initiatives that address root causes of social issues.
- United Way Worldwide: In 2009, United Way International and United Way of America merged to form United Way Worldwide, the global headquarters that coordinates and supports the work of local United Way chapters around the world.
Today, United Way remains one of the largest and most recognized charitable organizations in the world, with a network of local chapters in more than 40 countries. It continues to play a significant role in addressing community needs, supporting nonprofits, and promoting social welfare and community development initiatives.