The history of United Way is rooted in partnerships—bringing people from different walks of life together to advance the common good for all.
In 1887, a Denver woman (Frances Wisebart Jacobs), a priest (the Rev. Myron W. Reed), two ministers (Msgr. William J.O’Ryan and Dean H. Martyn Hart), and a rabbi (Rabbi William S. Friedman) recognized a need for cooperative action to address their city’s social problems. That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. By the 1950s, more than 1,000 communities across the United States and Canada had established local United Ways. In 1974, United Ways raised nearly $1.04 billion, marking the first time in history that a single organization raised more than $1 billion in an annual campaign.
More than 124 years after that Denver beginning, there are more than 1,800 community-based United Ways in 40 countries and territories, and United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives. The United Way movement mobilizes millions to action—to give, advocate, and volunteer—to improve conditions in their communities.
For 90 years, Orange County United Way has been at the forefront of health and human care services in Orange County. While the community has changed over the years, our mission to improve lives and strengthen our community has remained the same. We continue to mobilize the caring power of Orange County—by collaborating with nonprofit agencies, corporate partners, and generous donors—to meet the greatest needs of our community. By focusing on the building blocks for a self-sufficient life—Education, Income, Health and Housing—we improve the lives of our neighbors, coworkers, and friends. We invite you to be the change you want to see in OUR community and join our movement today.
Website: The Orange County United Way