Our History

The United Way movement started in Denver in 1887 as a fundraising campaign to help pioneers settling in the West. This initiative, known as Community Chests and Red Feather Campaigns, spread to many surrounding cities.

In 1971, these individual programs joined to form the United Way of America (UWA). UWA is a membership organization for local, autonomous United Way charities.

Locally, United Way of Marion County began in 1961 as the United Appeal of Marion County. Its first fundraising drive raised $82,822 for 10 agencies. The charity's name was officially changed the United Way of Marion County in 1972.

We all have a stake in creating a healthy and prosperous community. That’s why at United Way of Marion County we’re working to create opportunities for a better life for all. We focus on the things that everyone needs for a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement and good health.

We bring together the people and organizations from across the community who share in our vision and have the energy, passion, expertise and resources to get the work done. They are essential to our success and the success of our community.

We invite you to join us in this work. Lend your hand, your voice, your heart. Give. Advocate. Volunteer. That’s what it means to Live United.


To unite local resources to help our neighbors.


The United Way of Marion County is the community leader and trusted partner that proactively seeks solutions to change people's lives, and brings the diverse aspects of our community together to meet current health and human service needs and proactively addresses future issues.

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