In 1887, a Denver woman, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. Frances Wisebart Jacobs, 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. More than 125 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives. (Red text denotes information directly about United Way of Central Arkansas)
1887: In Denver, religious leaders founded the Charity Organizations Society, the first "United Way" organization, which planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fund-raising campaign for 22 agencies.
1888: First United Way campaign in Denver raised $21,700.
1913: The nation's first modern Community Chest was born in Cleveland, where a program for allocating campaign funds was developed.
1948: More than 1,000 communities had established United Way organizations.
1957: Faulkner County Community Fund was created on October 14.
1964: Name change to United Funds of Faulkner County, Inc.
1973: The NFL and the United Way establish their partnership to increase public awareness of social service issues facing the country. In addition to public service announcements in which volunteer NFL players, coaches and owners appear, NFL players support their local United ways through personal appearances, special programs, and sitting on United Way governing boards.
1973: Name change to United Way of Faulkner County, Inc.
1974: United Ways raised $1,038,995,000 in America and Canada — the first time in history that an annual campaign of a single organization raised more than $1 billion. United Ways undertook with the National Football League (NFL) the largest public-service campaign in the nation's history; a major part of that campaign was Great Moments, the televised United Way/NFL public-service announcements.
1998: United Ways and the NFL celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their unique partnership and the longest-running sports/charity public service announcement campaign of its kind. The partnership has enabled the United Way to share their special message with 110 million viewers during football season. Over 950 spots have aired since 1973.
2004: In response to the devastating hurricanes that ravaged the state of Florida, United Ways throughout Florida led response and recovery efforts by identifying the most serious needs in devastated communities. The Florida 2-1-1 Network responded to thousands of telephone calls directing victims to services such as shelters, food, medical assistance, disaster preparedness and response activities, post-disaster assistance, and recovery information. Local 2-1-1 operators also matched volunteers with opportunities to give help in affected communities.
The tragic tsunami that struck South Asia focused attention on that area of the world. The United Way Coordinated Crisis Response Team worked collaboratively with staff from United Way International, United Way of America, and United Way affiliates in India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, and Thailand to collectively respond to the Indian Ocean communities impacted by the disasters.
2006: United Way of America and MTV created Storm Corps, an Alternative Spring Break program that invites young people to help United Way rebuild the Gulf Coast after the devastating hurricanes of 2005. Nearly 100 young adults traveled to Biloxi, MS, and Foley, AL, to assist with rebuilding and recovery efforts.
2008: United way Faulkner County, Inc. changes its name to United Way of Central Arkansas, Inc.
2008: United Way introduced the bold goals for the common good focused on education, income and health, and LIVE UNITED, a new call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.
2012: United Way celebrates its 125th anniversary and enters into partnerships with CNN and CNN international to share the LIVE UNITED message in communities around the world.
2014: On April 27th 2014 Faulkner County was hit by a devastating tornado. The communities of Mayflower, Vilonia, Saltillo and Black Oak were all deeply affected by the storms. Many of the residents lost their homes and their source of income.
Many organizations stepped up to help during this time of great need. United Way of Central Arkansas took clothing and supplies from many sources and made sure they were transferred to the proper recipients. We went out and worked in the field and helped to clean up many of the resident's properties. UWCA also collected funds which we are still allocating to tornado victims that have unmet needs. UWCA was one of the few organizations that took no administrative costs from the funds collected. We are proud and fortunate to help our community.
After the tornado United Way started its own program called Charity Tracker. This software is made available to free to our communities nonprofit agencies churches and schools. Charity Tracker, is a software service database, makes it possible for agencies to track their inventory, keep records of people they have helped, easily print reports based on the information stored in the database and more. Additionally, various organizations can be given access to the program in order to share information with one another, which can cut down on abuses in the system.
2016: In 2016 and 2017 United Way of Central Arkansas met their goal of $575,000.
2017: United Way of Central Arkansas elebrated their 60th anniversary birthday party in September.