Live United

History of United Way

The United Ways of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's Counties were independent, separately incorporated organizations governed by local volunteers who served their specific county.

These three United Ways began by supporting just a few agencies and grew to serve a multitude of agencies through Community Impact grants, Basic Needs grants and other funding designations.

United Way has evolved from a fundraising organization into a community building partner, focusing on three vital impact areas: Education, Health, and Financial Stability.

History of United Way Worldwide

There are approximately 1800 United Ways across the world. Where did it begin? In 1887, a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put their heads together to plan the first united campaign for ten health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, as well as to coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred.  That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. Over 135 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.