Our History

United Way Our History Bnr

Creating lasting change for over 130 years

In 1887 a priest, two ministers and a rabbi in Denver recognised the need to work together to create change in their city. Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman collaborated to create an organisation to collect the funds for local charities, to coordinate relief services, to counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and to make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred.

That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would become United Way.

Today, United Way is the largest not-for-profit organisation in the world. Our global network of 1800 local chapters, operates across more than 40 countries.

United Way began in Australia 50 years ago. With a focus on education, United Way Australia operates as a grass-roots organisation, working to understand the complex issues Australian communities face, and collaborating with residents, business, government and philanthropy to build the foundations for communities to thrive.