This year, the United Way movement across the globe celebrates 125 years of improving lives and communities.
In the late 1880s in Denver, Colorado religious leaders recognized that raising funds for charitable needs and addressing city welfare issues would be more effective by using a combined and cooperative approach. They founded the Charity Organization Society of Denver, which was the forerunner to the United Way movement.
Following Denver’s example, other cities began using the cooperative approach to raising funds for local charities and coordinating relief services. During the 1970s, many of these local organizations took on the “United Way” name to reflect greater cooperation and to strengthen their work through greater recognition in national advertising and publicity.
Locally, United Way of the Mid-South has served our community since 1923 when we incorporated as “The Community Chest.” We became United Way of Greater Memphis in the 1970s, and changed our name to United Way of the Mid-South in the early 1990s to reflect our work in the eight-county metro area.