United Way Endowment


The origin of United Way dates back to 1887, when four clergymen in Denver, CO established the Charity Organizations Society by combining 10 separate fund-raising campaigns into one coordinated effort. These four community leaders recognized that they could best help those in need by working together, rather than separately, thus building the foundation for the United Way concept. In the early 1900's, forerunners to our United Ways were forming across the country, operating under the name “Community Chest”. By the mid 1920's, Community Chests were established in Davenport, Rock Island and Moline.

The 1970s saw the birth of the now-familiar name, United Way, as well as the universally helping hand symbol. Here, in the Quad Cities, the Illinois and Iowa organizations merged in 1972 to become a more effective and efficient organization- United Way of Rock Island and ScottCounties- and, later, United Way of the Quad Cities Area, Inc. In 1997, the organization celebrated many successes with its 25th anniversary of service to the community as one United Way.

Over the last 31years, more than $168 million has been contributed to our United Way to support programs that benefit people right here in our community. United Way contributors come from every sector of the Quad Cities area. As one United Way, we achieve success by working together to ensure quality health and human service programs exist for those who seek assistance.

Many organizations in the community have given much more than dollars to United Way over the years. They also provide their staff to volunteer with United Way on various committees to help raise and allocate funds each year and to oversee administrative operations as volunteer members of the board of directors.

United Way combines the resources and efforts of various segments of our community to provide the best opportunities for success for all of us. Our deep commitment for caring for one another is the hallmark of a strong community like the Quad Cities area. It is what makes United Way more than a philanthropic organization; it makes us an effective movement of concerned people.

United Way is people. It always has been. It is through volunteerism that United Way accomplishes its goals and remains an effective organization. Our many successes as a community are thanks to thousands of generous contributors, dedicated volunteers and agency partners who make the Quad Cities a great place to live, work and grow.

Although United Way’s name has changed over the years, its basic purpose has remained the same: To increase the organized capacity to care for one another. United Way's leaders of yesterday and today commit themselves to this philosophy of caring. Upon this foundation of success we build the future of United Way and ultimately, the strength of our community.



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