The “United Way” all began in 1887 in Denver, Colorado when religious leaders formed the Charity Organizations Society comprised of 22 agencies that addressed human care concerns. The first United Way campaign in Denver raised $21,700. By 2017-2018 the global United Way network generated a record-breaking $4.7 billion in resources.
The first United Ways were called Community Chests. On January 14, 1930, a group of agency representatives assembled to form the United Community Chest serving the cities of New Brunswick and Highland Park. The first fund raising effort totaled $119,913, an amazing accomplishment in the midst of the Great Depression.
During the late 1940's, business expanded rapidly, and the community began to disburse to areas of the county such as South Brunswick, Metuchen, Edison and Piscataway. The growth in population spurred the expansion of human care programs and services among existing agencies.
In 1951, the United Community Chest consolidated the fund raising appeals that had spread through Raritan Valley and became the United Fund of the Heart of Middlesex County. The United Fund's member agencies now totaled 23, and served the greater portion of Middlesex County, excluding the Perth Amboy area (which was included in the United Fund of the Raritan Bay area). The 1951-52 campaign raised $374,000 for the support of its member agencies, more than double the previous year's campaign.
In 1967, the United Fund of the Heart of Middlesex County reorganized into a much broader and more comprehensive organization. The United Fund merged with the Community Services Council of Raritan Valley in June of that year to become United Community Services of Central Jersey, Inc. The reorganization introduced the element of centralized social planning, complementing the functions of federated campaigning and budget and agency relations in the community. On March 14, 1969, the United Community Services (UCS) expanded to cover 93% of Middlesex County. The expansion was the result of a merger with the Raritan Bay United Fund, which covered the Perth Amboy side of the county. UCS was now raising in excess of a million dollars.
In August 1973, recognizing the public's lack of knowledge and understanding of the name United Community Services, the name: United Way of Central Jersey, Inc. was adopted.
The United Way of Central Jersey (UWCJ) has built a proud record since its inception in 1930. UWCJ has become a unifying force in the Central Jersey community– a place where community problems can be seen as a whole, a place where people can decide what kind of community response is most appropriate to the need.
The United Way of Central Jersey is not a chapter of any state or national fund raising organization. It is a separate company from any other United Way organization. It does, however, identify with the United Way movement, and as such, holds voluntary membership in the United Way Worldwide, the national organization which has existed since 1918 to assist member organizations in every phase of operation.
For more information about The United Way Worldwide > click here.