Brief History of the United Way

In 1914, the Federation of Charity and Philanthropy was organized under the auspices of the greater Dayton Association (forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce) with ten cooperating agencies. A survey of these agencies made by the Dayton Bureau of Municipal Research was completed in April 1915, covering the following organizations: Humane Society, Milk Commission, Tuberculosis Committee, Dayton Day Nursery, Visiting Nurses Association, Associated Charities, Association for the Blind, Salvation Army (Relief Department), Playgrounds and Gardens Association, and Boy Scouts.

In 1918, the Dayton War Chest was organized, also under the auspices of the Greater Dayton Association. An Ohio Charter was granted to "The Community War Chest of Dayton and Montgomery County" on April 9, 1918.

In 1919, the Dayton War Chest became the Community Chest, governed by the Board of Directors of the Dayton Bureau of Community Service, which declared its purpose "to foster the moral, mental and physical welfare of the community to seek to harmonize the efforts of civic, charitable and philanthropic organizations for the sake of civic unity and greater efficiency."

The Dayton Community Chest Association was incorporated in 1920 as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Ohio. Its Board of Directors, Budget Committee members and campaign workers serve without pay.

The Chamber of Commerce appointed a committee in June 1958 to meet with representatives of the Dayton Community Chest Association and the Montgomery County Chapter of the American National Red Cross to lay plans for a joint drive. The first joint campaign was conducted in the Fall of 1958.

The Dayton Community Chest Association extended its area of operation to Greene County in 1960 when the campaign goal included the needs of ten Greene County agencies.

On March 17, 1965, action was taken by the Board of Directors to change the name of the Dayton Community Chest Association to United Fund, Inc. of Dayton Area.

The newly formed Germantown Community Services became a member agency of the United Fund in January, 1967, to continue the activities in Germantown, Ohio area which had been financed by the former German Township Community Chest. Germantown Community Services represents a consolidation of three separate agencies.

On June 18, 1969, the United Fund Board of Directors approved the merger of the Eaton Community Chest and Preble County agencies with the United Fund of Montgomery and Greene Counties. The Eaton Community Chest, which served the Preble County area, was thereby dissolved. The campaign held in the Fall of 1969 for 1970 allocations was the first all inclusive United Appeal Campaign for Montgomery, Greene and Preble Counties.

Agreement was made with the Federal Executive Association in 1969 to combine two Federal Campaigns (the International Service Agencies and the National Health Agencies Campaigns) and the United Appeal Campaign into one Combined Federal Campaign at all Federal establishments in the three-county area. The first Combined Federal Campaign was held in the Fall of 1969.

In 1972, live-work agreements were developed with Warren, Darke and Clinton Counties to promote fair share giving and allow individuals opportunity to pledge at their place of employment through payroll deduction, and have their contribution returned to the organization in their county of residence. Miamisburg Community Chest voted to become a part of the United Fund.

The United Way name was adopted in 1974 after a year-long long range planning process to better described the more comprehensive fund raising program and planning and allocations responsibilities of the organization.

In January 1975, the Board of Directors of the United Way and the Board of the Volunteer Service Bureau agreed to a merger. The Volunteer Development Services of the United Way was established.

The United Way Board first took action to begin merging the Health and Welfare Planning Council and the planning, budgeting and coordinating functions of the United Health Foundation in December 1974. In January of 1976, the Board accepted recommendations on structuring, organization and formation of the new United Way. The recommendations were officially accepted at the April 5, 1976, Annual Meeting of the United Way.

In 1976, under the direction of the United Way Board of Directors, the Greene County United Way Advisory Board and the Preble County United Way Advisory Board were established.

By 1976, live-work agreements had been developed with Clark and Butler Counties. Agreement was made with the five funds in Miami County to honor designations.

On August 17, 1977, the Board of Directors adopted the recommendation of the Volunteer Development Services Advisory Council to change the name from Volunteer Development Services to Voluntary Action Center of the United Way. The name Voluntary Action Center indicates unity and strength as an affiliate with the national organization, the National Center for Voluntary Action. (In 1979, the name was changed to VOLUNTEER: National Center for Citizen Involvement.)

In 1978, the Yellow Springs Community Chest merged with the United Way and was included in that Falls annual Campaign. A new agency, Yellow Springs Community Services, was organized to administer a federated grant to fund Yellow Springs based agencies.

The year 1978 saw the successful completion of a three-year effort to raise $1,000,000 new dollars in each of three years. Total campaign proceeds increased more than 49% between 1976 and 1978.

The United Way Board in June 1978 adopted a new policy on agency membership, establishing the following three forms of relationship: Planning, Participant, Financial Participant, and Support Service Participant.

In June 1979, announcement was made of the United Ways financially participating relationship agreement with the American Cancer Society, Montgomery, Greene and Preble County Units, beginning with the United Way Campaign in the Fall of 1979 for 1980 funding. This was the first formula grant under the Service Provider Relationship Policy adopted by the Board in 1978.

In 1981, the United Way Campaign broke with tradition by not setting a single dollar figure as a goal. The "no goal" Campaign communicated range dollar figures that indicated the impact on United Way services at each level of contributions. The combined effects of federal funding cuts, inflation and increased demands for services called for innovative Campaign strategies, and propelled United Way into a new era of increased importance to the human service system.

At its meeting on July 21, 1982, the Board of Directors adopted the Donor Option Plan, with implementation beginning with the 1983 United Way Campaign. Donor Option is a program that, while emphasizing the citizens review process, allows the contributor, through the existing United Way Campaign, to designate all or a portion of the contribution to any tax-exempt volunteer-run health and human service agency in addition to agencies funded through the communitys United Way allocation process.

In January 1985, a comprehensive marketing program was created. The Marketing Division is responsible for year-round campaign and target market programs by managing United Ways market research/advertising efforts (Communications), the sales programs (Campaign and Planned Giving) and a new Workplace Presence Program; and will coordinate the product development efforts (Community and Agency Resources Council, formerly known as Planning, Allocations and Research Council), and other programs.

In 1988, the Marketing Program changed as follows: Campaign and Planned Giving were run by the Campaign Department; the Labor Department assumed responsibility for Workplace Presence (United Way at Work) in organized worksites; marketing retained responsibility for Workplace Presence (now called Marketing Services) in non-organized worksites.

In 1988, the name of the organization changed to The United Way of the Greater Dayton Area to make the name more inclusive of the three-county area it serves. The titles of the President and Executive Director were also changed to Chairperson of the Board and Chief Volunteer Officer, and President and Chief Professional Officer.

In 1990, United Way recognized that donors like to be involved in deciding how their contributions are used, and established the Donor Choice Program offering the Donor "Three Ways to Care." Community Care contributions help support local health and human service programs provided by the United Way agencies. Focused Care contributions are earmarked for action against urgent problems. Specific Care provides the donor the opportunity to choose a United Way agency, another United Way, or a non-United Way agency.

On December 28, 1990, a new agreement governing the distribution of proceeds was made by and between the American Red Cross, Dayton Area Chapter, and the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area. The United Appeal Board of Trustees was therefore dissolved, and the partnership Council was created. The Partnership Council consists of nine members: four ex officio members (Chief Professional Officers and Chief Volunteer Officers of United Way and Red Cross); two board representatives (one member of the Board of Directors of United Way and Red Cross); and three at-large members.


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United Way of the Greater Dayton Area
184 Salem Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45406
Voice: (937) 225-3001, Fax: (937) 225-3074