1918: The Early Days
The year was 1918. The "War to End All Wars" had been raging in Europe for four long years, and America was one year into its involvement. In Greater Rochester, dozens of social-service and war agencies conducted separate fundraising appeals to provide much-needed help, especially to soldiers and their families.
1918: Making History
But history was made on one evening in 1918 at the home of George Eastman, where Rochester's civic, religious and business leaders gathered to discuss launching a single large-scale campaign to combine the appeals of many war agencies.
1918 - 1930s: Unified Fundraising Appeal
And so, the Rochester Patriotic and Community Fund, Inc.—the War Chest—was born.
1920s - 1930s: The Community Chest
Even after World War I, the idea of a unified fundraising appeal took hold. With a new name, the Community Chest, it continued to thrive.
1945: World War II
With World War II, needs increased again. The peacetime Community Chest became the Rochester Community and War Chest. It expanded its base of support to include all Monroe County towns and villages, reflecting expansion of services to people throughout the county.
1950s - 1960s: Community Chest Thrives
After World War II ended, business played an ever-increasing role in the appeal. Between 1946 and 1970 the campaign missed its goal just once.
1970s: United Community Chest of Greater Rochester
In 1973, the Community Chest was renamed the United Community Chest of Greater Rochester, reflecting a merger of the Chest, which raised and allocated funds, with the Council of Social Agencies, which studied community needs.
1980s: United Way of Greater Rochester
In 1980, the organization changed its name to United Way of Greater Rochester to be consistent with the national United Way movement.
Today: United Way Gets Results
United Way of Greater Rochester continues to be a leader among United Ways, setting a standard for fundraising, and investing dollars where they're needed most. United Way of Greater Rochester invests funds in programs that demonstrate measurable results for people in need and the community as a whole.
Our name may have changed over the years, but our fundamental mission remains the same: we are an organization of donors committed to making our community a better place to live.