The year was 1887. In Denver, a priest, a rabbi, and two ministers founded the Charity Organization Society, the first United Way type organization. The Society planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fund-raising campaign benefitting twenty-two agencies. In 1919, a group in Rochester, New York, used the name Community Chest. The name was widely adopted by United Way parent organizations and used until the early 1950’s.
The modern-day United Way came about as the result of the outgrowth of various community chest and community fund operations. In 1947, Henry Ford started the United Fund in his manufacturing plants to stop multiple in-plant solicitations. This concept evolved into United Way annual employee campaigns. United Way of Henderson County (UWHC) was founded in 1953, and its first campaign raised $55,500. It originally funded five agencies: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, The Salvation Army and American Red Cross. UWHC is an autonomous agency incorporated under the North Carolina not-for-Profit Corporation Act.
Local volunteers make all policy and funding decisions. We are one of the approximately 1300 local, independent United Way organizations around the country. UWHC has a contractual partnership with United Way Worldwide (UWW) and abides by its membership certification standards. We also have a contractual partnership with United Way of North Carolina (UWNC) and work closely with United Way of Asheville Buncombe County and United Way of Transylvania County.
Through the years, UWHC has grown to become a community leader, convening conversations on key issues, and raising funds to support education, income, health and basic needs programs. Our campaign has grown to an average of $1.8 to $2 million annually. The campaign is supported by hundreds of local businesses and individuals who appreciate the United Way model of a single point of giving that benefits multiple programs and agencies. In 2015, UWHC launched “HC 2025”, a ten year plan designed to improve lives and make a community impact in six target areas: Kindergarten readiness, school success, financial stability, affordable housing, reducing obesity, and encouraging healthy youth behaviors.
United Way of Henderson County plays a big role in helping concerned businesses and individuals connect to the causes they care about. Whether it is by volunteering on the annual Day of Caring or with one of UWHC’s program evaluation panels, using payroll deduction to make an easy gift at a workplace campaign, or writing a check for a one-time donation, Henderson County residents show they care about our community and want to make a difference. UWHC has been a respected leader for over 60 years. We want to continue to be the “one stop shop” for community giving for many years to come!