Initiated in 1963, Information and Referral (I&R) Service began as a program component of the Health and Welfare Planning Council (HWPC). HWPC documented the need for this service through agency and community surveys. Survey findings supported the need to:

  1. develop a resource file of all human services in the three-county area, and
  2. establish one location where individuals in need could be linked to the appropriate community resource to address the need(s).

1963 -1966

  • After six years of trying, funding for I&R is finally secured and the service begins operation.
  • I&R grows from a part-time to a full-time operation.
  • The United Way of Dayton is the primary funding source for this service.


  • I&R begins operating on a 24 hour a day, seven day a week basis with a well-publicized I&R phone number.


  • HWPC, the Health Foundation of United Health Services and the United Fund merge to create the United Way of Dayton. With this merger, the I&R component of HWPC became an operating unit of the Planning, Allocations and Research (PAR) Council.
  • I&R calls are handled by two professional staff during the day. Six part-time staff handle night and weekend shifts from their home, using a call-forwarding capability on the I&R phone.
  • I&R is greatly expanded through a "purchase of service" Title XX contract with the Montgomery County Welfare Department. As a result of the contract, services to welfare clients increased significantly. During the fourth quarter of 1976, 1,556 persons identified themselves as welfare recipients. During the same period in 1977, 2,843 persons were welfare recipients. This represents an 83% increase.


  • The first full year under Title XX, I&R handles 25,284 requests for service, an increase of 56% over 1976, and a full 100% increase over 1975.


  • I&R reorganizes to provide an "in office" service around the clock.
  • I&R also enters into its first contract for after-hours answering service for the SCAN (Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect) program.


  • An agreement is reached between the Montgomery County Welfare Department and the United Way. The agreement stipulates that, over the next three years, Title XX funding for I&R Service would progressively decrease, and United Way would increase its support of I&R. This simplified I&R's funding, and demonstrated the United Way's commitment to a strong I&R Service.


  • An I&R Coordinator is hired and stationed in the United Way's Greene County office. This enables I&R to provide a more specialized I&R service to Greene County residents.
  • The Child Care Clearinghouse is incubated in I&R, with funding from the Human Service Transition Fund.


  • Transition to a computerized resource/service file is completed. This permits the maintenance of more detailed information regarding human service agencies and programs, more accurate referrals by I&R staff
  • The Child Care Clearinghouse is "spun off" to become a part of Family Service Association.
  • The relay function for the hearing impaired is greatly expanded with funding from several local companies and cooperation with Dayton Power and Light Company. Renamed the Miami Valley Relay Service, the hours of operation are extended, part-time operators are hired, and call volume for this service soars.


  • A banner year in terms of call volume with I&R handling 42,000+ calls. This broke the previous record of 38,000+ calls established in 1983.


  • A shortfall in the United Way Campaign results in significant funding cuts for I&R.
  • The Greene County I&R Coordinator position falls victim to United Way budget reductions.
  • I&R plays a key role in assembling a team of Red Cross and WPAFB personnel to develop a local response to victims of the Gulf War.
  • I&R serves as "incubator" for the Self-help Clearinghouse with funding from the Junior League and support from Family Services.


  • The self-help Clearinghouse becomes a program of Family Services Association.


  • The Miami Valley Relay Service for the Hearing Impaired is phased out as the state-wide relay service goes into operation. I&R played an important part in lobbying for the creation and funding of the state-wide relay service, and in how that service would be operated.


  • I&R installs the second computer system, SEARCH. SEARCH improves I&R's ability to manage the resource/services database and client assessment information. Better statistical reports, service quality monitoring, specialized lists and referral accuracy are the result. SEARCH also brought I&R one step closer to computerized access to the I&R database by other organizations, a recommendation from the 1985 Strategic Long Range Plan.
  • I&R initiates 1-800-91REACH which enables all residents of the three county region to reach I&R 24 hours a day for free.


  • I&R staff participate in three of the Community Services Network(CSN) project teams, including the Steering Committee. The CSN project affirms I&R's role as the Services Locator for the network.


  • I&R answers 59,590 requests for information or referrals, a decrease over 1995 which is the result of the loss of several answering service contracts.
  • I&R completes a review and evaluation process which results in a plan to create a state-of-the-art information and referral service with more independence for United Way and more support from the larger community


  • United Way Board appoints members to the new I&R Executive Board.
  • City of Dayton awards I&R $16,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to purchase a telephone system upgrade.


  • Memorandum of Understanding outlining the relationship between the I&R Executive Board and the United Way Board is signed.
  • I&R name changed to "HelpLink"" to increase visibility and enhance identity.
  • Job Center case managers have direct access from their computers to HelpLink computer database of community services.
  • HelpLink telephone system is upgraded to provide better customer service.

Creative Web Design donated by Willis Case Harwood
Graphic Production and Programming donated by
to comment on our web site or to ask questions
© Copyright United Way of the Greater Dayton Area

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