In 1887, a group of five local Denver community members and religious leaders created an organization to help their community called the Charity Organization Society. The organization that would one day be called United Way would collect funds for local charities and organizations to help manage relief services, refer clients to other agencies they work with, and create emergency assistant grants for special cases. They raised $21,700 in Denver and benefitted 10 area health and welfare agencies.
Today, United Way has footholds in communities across 40 countries and territories, with over 1,300 local United Ways in the United States. In the 1,800 communities involved with United Way, people are donating, volunteering, and advocating to make big changes in the lives of those in need. McLean County is one of the communities with a deep history in charitable giving and deeply connected with United Way.
In 1935, local community leaders founded the Community Chest of McLean County that later became United Way of Mclean County. During this time, they contributed to a large range of organizations that helped to improve the lives of local McLean County residents. These organizations included the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America, and the Red Cross.
Throughout the years, there have been many changes to United Way nationally and United Way of McLean County. Through these changes, United Way stays committed to improving the lives in our community through programs focused on education, health, and income.