United Way of Greater St. Louis mobilizes the community with one goal in mind – helping people live their best possible lives. We unite people, resources and funding to help build strong and equitable communities where everyone can thrive.
United Way was formed in 1887 when a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The first campaign raised $21,700 for 22 nonprofits.
United Way of Greater St. Louis began in 1922 as the Community Fund, organized by volunteers to raise money to help operate 40 charities.
By the 1950s, more than 1,000 communities across the U.S. and Canada had established United Ways. In 1974, United Ways raised nearly $1.04 billion, marking the first time in history that a single organization raised more than $1 billion in an annual campaign. Over its long history, United Way has helped with everything from the Persian Gulf War to the Olympic torch relay to the President’s Summit for America’s Future. It’s won awards, such as the Charity of Choice from Financial World magazine. Across the country, United Ways now raise more than $4 billion annually.
United Way continues to flourish and use its storied past as a guide on how to best serve the community. Instead of supporting a single cause, we focus on 5 impact areas – essential needs, early childhood and youth success, health and wellbeing, jobs and financial mobility, and community stability and crisis response.
United Way equips over 160 local nonprofits with vital funding and training resources to keep our region’s safety net healthy and help us fulfill these impact areas. These nonprofits and more make use of United Way’s Volunteer Center to galvanize the community around their efforts. We operate the region’s largest Volunteer Center that mobilizes thousands of local people, companies, and groups through meaningful volunteer opportunities.
We also connect our neighbors to resources and support near them using our 211 helpline and navigation center. 211 is a free resource that is available 24/7 to find providers, programs and services for those in need. Each year we receive more than 100,000 requests for help from our community through 211.
All of these efforts are a part of our valued mission of helping people live their best possible lives. Working together, we will continue to create a stronger, healthier, and more equitable St. Louis region.
Mobilizing Donors & Volunteers
It takes just a single person to initiate change. United Way connects people with causes close to their hearts and inspires them to roll up their sleeves in their community.
United Way convenes and collaborates with organizations across sectors to surround our community’s most critical problems. Because no one can solve them alone.
Local businesses are the economic engine for our community. United Way helps them leverage their people and resources to connect to causes that are important to them.
Our Core Values
United Way of Greater St. Louis is the place where people of our community come together in the spirit of teamwork and servant leadership to share our responsibility to care for one another.
As excellent stewards of financial and human resources entrusted to us, United Way of Greater St. Louis ensures that those resources are effectively developed and properly invested to achieve optimum impact in the community.
We are an integral part of this community’s leadership; we conduct ourselves with the highest regard for trust, fairness, ethics and respect for one another.
Volunteers are our foundation and most valuable resource. We were founded by volunteers and are a volunteer-directed organization.
We take responsibility for directing and managing this organization and in partnership with our agencies, we meet our community’s critical human service needs.
United Way of Greater St. Louis values and is committed to the richness of diversity in all aspects of our organization and those with whom we partner and serve.
We are a catalyst for change, creating awareness of needs and celebrating successes in caring for one another and in creating a more compassionate community.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We value and are committed to the richness of diversity in all aspects of our organization, our partners and those we serve. Our internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee continues to develop strategies that recognize diverse experiences in the workplace, advise staff leadership to create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable work environment and evaluate our progress.