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Mission & History

United Way of Greater St. Louis mobilizes the community with one goal in mind — helping people live their best possible lives.

Core Values

WHAT WE DO

United Way efficiently raises and allocates funds to support a strong network of quality agencies and services; provides information, management and technical resources; identifies critical issues and unmet needs; and builds collaborations with the public and private sectors to meet those needs.

OUR HISTORY

 

United Way was formed in 1887 when a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The first campaign raised $21,700 for 22 agencies.


United Way of Greater St. Louis began in 1922 as the Community Fund, organized by volunteers to raise money to help operate 40 charities.


By the 1950s, more than 1,000 communities across the United States and Canada had established 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. Over its long history, United Way has helped with everything from the Persian Gulf War to the Olympic torch relay to the President’s Summit for America’s Future. It’s won awards, such as the Charity of Choice from Financial World magazine. Across the country, United Ways now raise more than $4 billion annually.


Today, the United Way of Greater St. Louis helps one in three people in the St. Louis region annually. Through United Way’s local partnership with more than 170 nonprofit agencies, as well as programs and services such as United Way 2-1-1, STLVolunteer, and others, more than one million people are served by United Way each year.