Metro United Way

The mission of Metro United Way is to improve lives and our community by engaging people to give, advocate and volunteer.

Our vision is a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives.

1887-10-01 00:00:00

Charity Organizations Society Founded

In 1887 in Denver, two ministers, a priest and a rabbi founded the Charity Organizations Society – the first United Way – which planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fundraising campaign for 22 agencies.

1894-10-01 00:00:00

Charitable Institutions Became Exempt

In 1894, charitable institutions became exempt from the first federal act that imposed a tax on all corporations organized for profit.

1917-02-08 15:26:11

First Campaign

During the first campaign, which was door-to-door canvas for donations, volunteers raised $108,000 from 5,450 contributors; distributed to 25 charter agencies.

1917-02-08 15:26:11

Metro United Way Begins

Metro United Way began in 1917 as the Louisville Federation of Social Agencies, the first of its kind below the Mason-Dixon Line.

1917-02-08 15:26:11

Participating Agencies

Several of the original agencies, although renamed, are still MUW participating agencies today: Family & Children's Counseling Centers, Wesley Community House, Jewish Family & Vocational Service, Home of the Innocents, Neighborhood House, Presbyterian Community Center and the Salvation Army.

1918-10-01 00:00:00

War Chests Formed

In 1918, War Chests were formed during the World War I era to provide relief for the armed forces and their families, as well as refugees in Europe.

1919-10-01 00:00:00

Changed Name to Welfare League

A year after War Chests were formed during the World War I, we changed our name to Welfare League.

1923-10-01 00:00:00

Changed Name to Louisville Community Chest

The campaign this year raised $634,999.

1937-07-27 05:40:15

Volunteer Connecton Developed

Our Volunteer Connection was developed to meet the heavy demand for volunteers to help thousands of people left homeless by the flood of the Ohio River. We still use this, most recently for tornado recovery efforts.

1940-10-01 00:00:00

Over $1,000,000 for First Time

In the 1940's during World War II, our campaign went over the million-dollar mark for the first time and payroll deduction was introduced; the development of employee group solicitation and payroll deduction were two important aspects of effective cooperation between management and organized labor on behalf of United Way.

1947-10-01 00:00:00

Red Feather Introduced

The red feather - the badge of courage for American Indiana and the legendary Robin Hood - was introduced as a symbol in 1947.

1948-10-01 00:00:00

1,000 United Ways

More than 1000 communities had established United Way organizations by 1948.

1950-10-01 00:00:00

Over $2,000,000

During the 1950’s saw $2 million surpassed in the campaign.

1960-10-01 00:00:00

Changed Name to United Appeal

Name changed to United Appeal in the 1960’s to mark a new fundraising partnership with the Louisville Chapter of the American Red Cross.

1960-10-01 00:00:00

Los Angeles First to Adopt UW Name

Los Angeles became the first community to formally adopt the name United Way in 1963.

1964-10-01 00:00:00

War on Poverty Declared

In 1964, President Johnson declared the War on Poverty in a State of the Union address and marked the beginning of what is known today as the Combined Federal Campaign.

1965-10-01 00:00:00

MUW Partners with AFL-CIO

Metro United Way became an integral partner in the local AFL-CIO training union counseling training program and in 1965, initiated a union counselor training program to encourage involvement of organized labor.

1967-10-01 00:00:00

$700 Million Raised by UW

Despite work shortages and civil unrest, United Way campaign raised more than $700 million in 1967. United Ways helped 27.5 million families; 31,300 agencies were members; 8.5 million people were volunteering; and 32.8 million made donations.

1971-10-01 00:00:00

Changed Name to UW of Louisville and Jefferson County

1971 name change to United Way of Louisville and Jefferson County, and the following year to Metro United Way to reflect the expansion to serve other counties in Kentucky and Indiana.

1972-10-01 00:00:00

UW Logo Created

The United Way logo was created in 1972, representing the helping hand cradling mankind and surrounded by a rainbow symbolizing hope.

1972-10-01 00:00:00

Alexis de Tocqueville Society Formed

United Way of America incorporated the national Alexis de Tocqueville Society in 1972, recognizing persons who have rendered outstanding service as volunteers in their own communities or nations, granting membership in the Society to individuals who contribute at least $10,000 annually to the United Way. Previous winners of the Tocqueville award for volunteerism include President Ronald Reagan, President Jimmy Carter, Senator and Mrs. John Glenn, Vernon Jordan, and Bob Hope.

1973-10-01 00:00:00

UW and NFL form Partnership

The National Football League and the United Way establish a partnership to increase public awareness of social service issues facing the county in 1973.

1974-10-01 00:00:00

$1 Billion Raised for First Time in History

In 1974, United Ways raised $1,038,995,000 in America and Canada – the first time in history that an annual campaign of a single organization raised more than $1 billion.

1975-10-01 00:00:00

Campaign Shortfall

1975 saw a campaign shortfall of over one million dollars after rumors circulated that MUW bought buses for the court-ordered public school desegregation efforts and funded the ACLU.

1976-10-01 00:00:00

First Woman Chair

First woman chair of the campaign in 1976 raised 8.1% over the previous year in campaign dollars.

1983-10-01 00:00:00

$10 Million Mark Broken

$10 million mark in campaign broken in 1983, $15 million in 1988, $20 million in 1991, and $25 million in 1997….placing it among the largest local United Ways in the country.

1987-10-01 00:00:00

UW Centennial celebrated

In 1987, United Way recognized its centennial by saluting the American volunteer through many programs, including the dedication of a United Way postage stamp by the US postal service.

1988-10-01 00:00:00

$15 Million Mark Broken

$15 million mark in campaign broken in 1988, $20 million in 1991, and $25 million in 1997….placing it among the largest local United Ways in the country.

1991-10-01 00:00:00

$20 Million Mark Broken

$20 million mark in campaign broken in 1991 and $25 million in 1997….placing it among the largest local United Ways in the country.

1992-10-01 00:00:00

MUW 75th Anniversary

1992 marked both Metro United Way’s 75th anniversary and a crisis involving misuse of funds by the president of United Way of America, the national training and service center for local United Ways. Although the negative national publicity hurt most local UW campaigns, MUW succeeded locally in maintaining the same level of contributions as the prior year.

1992-10-01 00:00:00

UW first President & CEO selected

Former Peace Corps Director Elaine L. Chao was selected as United Way of America’s President and CEO in 1992 – the first Asian American and first female to hold this position.

1993-10-01 00:00:00

First Day of Caring Held

In 1993 the first Day of Caring was held, involving groups of volunteers from local companies in completing projects to benefit Metro United Way agencies.

1995-10-01 00:00:00

United Vision launched

In 1995, the strategy “United Vision” was launched, including initiatives for increased personal connections with individual donors, and a redesigned funding system in order to focus community resources on the highest priority needs in order to make more meaningful, measurable differences in people’s lives.

1996-10-01 00:00:00

Olympic Torch Relay Volunteer Provider

The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games announced its selection of United Way of America and the United Way system as the primary provider of community support and volunteer services for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay, designated as a salute to community heroes.

1997-10-01 00:00:00

$25 million mark broken

$10 million mark in campaign broken in 1983, $15 million in 1988, $20 million in 1991, and $25 million in 1997….placing it among the largest local United Ways in the country.

1997-10-01 00:00:00

Flood recovery

After the 1997 flood, MUW teamed with WAVE 3 to recruit volunteers to help hundreds of flood victims take the first step toward recovery by removing heavy debris from damaged homes so that clean-up could begin.

1998-10-01 00:00:00

NFL & UW Celebrate 25 Years

The NFL and United Way celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their unique partnership in 1998; it is the longest running sports/charity public service announcement campaign with the gift of airtime from the NFL exceeded $1 billion.

1999-10-01 00:00:00

Bill & Melinda Gates Donate $10.5 Million

In 1999, Bill and Melinda Gates donated $10.5 million to support vital United Way programs and services to strengthen the United Way system.

2000-10-01 00:00:00

Gift Annuity Program Began

In 2000, United Way approved implementation of a national charitable gift annuity program, a simple contract between a donor and a charity; the donor makes an irrevocable gift to charity and in return, the charity pays the donor or beneficiary a fixed income over a lifetime. At the death of the donor or beneficiary, the amount remaining is available to be used for charitable purposes.

2000-10-01 00:00:00

Vision 2010 Launched

In 2000, MUW launched a 10 year strategic direction called Vision 2010, calling for MUW to be a community solutions lead in building the most vital, caring community in America and the best way to care for people in our community.

2000-10-01 00:00:00

$30 million mark broken/Success by 6 launched

Campaign totaled past $30 million in 2000; American Cancer Society became a fundraising partner and MUW and WLKY TV launched a media partnership to build awareness of Success by 6.

2000-10-01 00:00:00

2-1-1 Began

The Federal Communications Commission approved a petition filed by United Way of America and the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems and others requesting national designation of 2-1-1 for health and human services information and referral in 2000.

2001-10-01 00:00:00

First African American campaign chair

First African American campaign chair in 2001, launching a major giving initiative for women and a leadership giving initiative for African-Americans.

2001-10-01 00:00:00

$438 Million Raised for 9/11

The fundraising campaign kicked off the morning of the infamous September 11th terrorist attacks. The next day MUW joined with local foundations and local Red Cross and Salvation Army chapters to announce a cooperative effort to assist people affected locally as well as to collect and send donations to national relief funds. Nationally, over $438 million was raised in response.

2008-10-01 00:00:00

Live United Launched

Live United was launched in 2008 as well as the ten year goals for Education, Income and Health.

2011-10-01 00:00:00

Kindergarten Readiness Goal Set

In 2011 after more than a decade of work, MUW published its first comprehensive Education Agenda which set an aspirational goal regarding Early Childhood Education - that all children will be screened as ready for kindergarten by 2018.

2012-03-01 00:00:00

Tornado Recovery

MUW has deployed more than 11,000 volunteers to help survivors of the March tornadoes in southern Indiana. We remain committed to long-term recovery efforts.

2012-10-01 00:00:00

90,000 Volunteers for Mayor Give a Day

Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer’s goal of creating a more compassionate Louisville took a big step in 2012 with the city-wide week of volunteering. Working in partnership with MUW, the new service event was called “Give A Day” and over 90,000 volunteers took part.

2012-10-01 00:00:00

OST Council Formed

One of the MUW’s key initiatives is directed at Out-of-School Time (OST), and helping our youth to better use that time as an opportunity to ensure all youth graduate high school on time prepared for college, work and life. The Louisville Out-of-School Time (OST) Coordinating Council is a community partnership convened to create a coordinated system for the enhancement of youth services in Louisville. Founding organizations include Metro United Way, Metro Government and Jefferson County Public Schools. The OST Coordinating Council aims to enhance the effectiveness of Louisville’s goal to increase educational attainment, adding 40,000 additional bachelor’s degrees and 15,000 associate degrees by 2020 – also known as the “55,000 Degrees” initiative. Their work will specifically target “at-risk” young people, helping them access high quality OST programs that will encourage them to stay in school, remain on grade level and graduate from high school on time.

Metro United Way

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