Our History

Our History

The United Way of Greater Fall River, Inc. was founded in 1947 as the Community Fund. In 1957, two competing fundraising organizations merged into a single entity: the United Fund of Greater Fall River.  Later, the organization became the United Way of Greater Fall River.  Seven of our current member agencies have been our partners since the start.

Currently, we support 29 health and human service agencies and programs through our annual campaign.  In 2017-2018, we provided

  • $40,000 to 12 local food pantries and soup kitchens
  • $139,000 in Community Impact Grants with 24 grants to 18 different organizations
  • $25,000 to Teach for America
  • $3,000 to Project Homelessness Connect to provide lunch and MA state identification to those in need

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


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.

Learn more about United Way

United Way of Greater Fall River Archive Photos