Our History

community-fund

The United Way of Greater Fall River, Inc. was founded in 1947 as the Community Chest. It was then changed to the United Fund in 1957 and later to the United Way in 1972.

The United Way of Greater Fall River, Inc. has funded from 10 to currently 31 member agencies and programs in the Greater Fall River area, serving the less fortunate in our community.

Service area includes Fall River, Westport, Swansea, Somerset, Assonet, Tiverton, and Little Compton.

The United Way of Greater Fall River raised over $1.4 million in 2013, thanks to help from community members like you.


United Way Timeline

In 1887, a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put their heads together to plan the first united campaign for ten health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, as well as to coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. Over 118 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.

1887 › ESTABLISHMENT
1887:

In Denver, religious leaders founded the Charity Organizations Society, the first "United Way" organization, which planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fund-raising campaign for 22 agencies.

1888

First United Way campaign in Denver raised $21,700.

1894

Charitable institutions became exempt from the first federal act that imposed a tax on all corporations organized for profit.

1913

The nation's first modern Community Chest was born in Cleveland, where a program for allocating campaign funds was developed.

1918

Executives of 12 fund-raising federations met in Chicago and formed the American Association for Community Organizations (AACO), the predecessor to United Way of America.

1919

Rochester, New York used the name Community Chest, a name widely adopted by United Way organizations and used until the early 1950s. This year began a 10-year growth period in the number of Community Chests: 39 in 1919; 353 in 1929.

1948

More than 1,000 communities had established United Way organizations.

1971

United Way of America moved from New York City to Alexandria, Virginia.

1973

The NFL and the United Way establish their partnership to increase public awareness of social service issues facing the country. In addition to public service announcements in which volunteer NFL players, coaches and owners appear, NFL players support their local United ways through personal appearances, special programs, and sitting on United Way governing boards.

1974

United Ways raised $1,038,995,000 in America and Canada — the first time in history that an annual campaign of a single organization raised more than $1 billion. United Ways undertook with the National Football League (NFL) the largest public-service campaign in the nation's history; a major part of that campaign was Great Moments, the televised United Way/NFL public-service announcements.

1981

United Ways raised $1.68 billion, a 10.1 percent increase over the previous year. This figure represented the largest single-year percentage increase.

1982

United Way ofAmerica's new National Service and Training Center opened in August, increasing the organization's ability to assist the nation's 2,200 United Ways.

1991

During the Persian Gulf War, a fully staffed Operations Center at United Way of America worked closely with other organizations to ensure that those in need received help.

1993

A national conference on Block Grants, hosted by United Way of America, provided valuable insight to nearly 250 attendees on the past and future performance of block grants, focusing on their implications for United Ways, their agencies, and the people they serve. The corporate community is increasingly demanding easier, more cost-efficient ways to process workplace campaigns. The Board sees these resolutions as the first steps in ensuring that United Way continues to be the premier workplace fund-raiser because of its ability to change to better meet customers' needs through the use of new technology.

1995

The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) announced its selection of United Way of America and the United Way system as the primary provider of community support and volunteer services for the1996 Olympic Torch Relay. In its role, United Way was responsible for assisting ACOG with the selection of torchbearers, organizing community celebrations to greet the arrival of the Olympic Flame, and coordinating volunteers for those functions. United Way of America's Board of Governors unanimously approved the adoption of Strategic Direction for United Way: Charting the Path for Building Better Communities.

1998

In 1997-98 campaigns, United Ways collectively raised $3.4 billion, boosting revenues by more than $150 million for a 4.7 percent increase over 1996-97 levels. United Ways and the NFL celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their unique partnership and the longest-running sports/charity public service announcement campaign of its kind. The partnership has enabled the United Way to share their special message with 110 million viewers during football season. Over 950 spots have aired since 1973.

2000

United Ways embark on a national brand management strategy designed to differentiate United Way brand and system. The strategy helps to reposition United Way as more than a "fundraiser," but rather as the leading community impact organization. United Way and its partners, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, successfully petition the Federal Communications Commission to designate "211" for health and human services information and referral. Originally created by United Way of Atlanta, 211 is an easy-to-remember and universally recognizable telephone number that makes a critical connection between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies. The United Way of America Board of Governors establishes the Task Force on Strengthening the United Way System to propose a strategic direction and recommend changes to the operating processes and governing mechanisms of the United Way system. Chaired by Jack Little, retired president and CEO of Shell Oil Company and a UWA Board member, the Task Force is comprised of 21 individual volunteer and staff leaders, representing member United Ways, corporations, organized labor and UWA's Board of Governors. United Way of America launches the United Way State of Caring Index®. The index measures the needs of American and the caring and compassion of the nation, as well as each state.

2002

In January, Brian Gallagher assumes the position of United Way of America president and CEO. A 20-year veteran of United Way, Gallagher was president of the United Way of Central Ohio in Columbus, the 16th largest United Way in the country. Gallagher becomes UWA's fourth president, succeeding Betty Stanley Beene, whom concluded her service to United Way on January 31, 2001.

2006

United Way of America and MTV created Storm Corps, an Alternative Spring Break program that invites young people to help United Way rebuild the Gulf Coast after the devastating hurricanes of 2005. Nearly 100 young adults traveled to Biloxi, MS, and Foley, AL, to assist with rebuilding and recovery efforts.

2008

United Way introduced the bold goals for the common good focused on education, income and health, and LIVE UNITED, a new call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

2011

United Way Worldwide signed a partnership agreement with the China Charity Federation increasing the reach and ability of the worldwide organization to create opportunities for a better life for all. The organization also launched its U.S. volunteer call to action with the goal of recruiting one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors to advance United Way education goals.

2012

United Way celebrates its 125th anniversary and enters into partnerships with CNN and CNN international to share the LIVE UNITED message in communities around the world.

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