The United Way system that we are a part of today exemplifies the United Way movement that took root 116 years ago when religious leaders in Denver, Colorado, founded the Charity Organizations Society. That Society, founded in 1887, planned and coordinated local community services and conducted a single fund-raising campaign that raised $21,000 for 22 agencies. The Society became the first United Way. That United Way evolved into today’s United Way system, which is nationally recognized icon of a distinctly American philanthropic idea.
The United Way system today comprises approximately 1,400 United Way organizations, which are located in and serve communities all across America. In addition, there are thousands of United Way organizations nation wide providing community leadership and continuing to carry the torch of charitable spirit.
The United Way of Sandusky County was founded in 1930 with the Chamber of Commerce organizing the first meeting of various charitable agencies responding to the need for additional community services and funding sources. By the conclusion of this meeting the Community Chest was formed. With a goal of raising $29,790 the first year, the committee surpassed their goal raising $35,000. In 1958, under the leadership of Fremont resident, Al Nichols the Community Chest became the United Fund raising approximately $69,000 and serving 5,800 residents. In 1976, under the leadership of Clarence Schiefer the United Fund expanded to becoming a countywide program becoming the United Way of Sandusky County and raising over $161,000.
Today, approximately 52% of Sandusky County residents receive services funded by the United Way of Sandusky County. We raise between $700,000 and $750,000 annually and are the community leaders for many projects and activities.
Of the approximate 1,400 United Way organizations across America, each United Way organization is an independent separately incorporated entity, governed by local volunteers to focus on the most important needs in their community.