Our Story

Learn more about our history.  
It just might inspire you to build a better future.



  • In 1887, religious leaders in Denver founded the Charity Organizations Society, the first United Way Organizations that planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fund-raising campaign for 22 agencies.

  • A year later, the first United Way Campaign in Denver raised $21,700, which created a movement that would become United Way.

  • In 1919, nation’s first Community Chest was born in Cleveland, Ohio.  It is here where a program for allocating campaign funds was develop.

  • More than 1,000 communities have established United Way organizations.

  • In 1974, United Way of America raised $1,038,995,000 in America and Canada-first time in history. United Way International was formed to help nations around the world form United Way type organizations. United Way and the NFL have worked in partnership raising public awareness of social issues facing the country.

  • Today, the United Way movement is made up of 1,400 independent United Way organizations in the US; nearly 1,800 local United Way is around the world.



  • United Way of Portage County was organized early in 1967. It represented the merging of the Kent Twin Lakes, Ravenna and Portage County United Fund. 

  • The first Board of Trustees was 36 members; President, Robert White, total of 17 agencies plus local assistance programs were supported.

  • Fred Haschel, served as Chairman for first Budget Committee.    

  • Robert C. Dix, served as Campaign Chairman in 1968.               

  • In March 1976, the United Fund of Portage County became the United Way of Portage.

  • In 1987, 1st Annual Portage Senior Bowl.

  • As a thank you to all the volunteers, UWPC sponsored a “Night to Remember” at Sea World on September 10, 1987. 

  • UWPC hit its goal and then some in 1988. 

  • UWPC service “Thanks to you” contribution, helped 75,000 People in Portage County. 

  • In 1994, First Annual Days of Caring-more than 140 individuals represented 18 companies & organizations participated.

  • In 2004, UWPC Video Honored-Campaign earns first place at competition award of excellence.

  • In the same year, provided free charge for all Portage County residents, formerly call “First Call for Help”, manages over 14,000 calls a year, maintains a data base of over 800 programs in Portage County and produces numerous resources pub for schools, hospitals and other organizations.

  • In 2005, United Way of Portage Campaign goal $275,406.

  • In 2006, First call for help-UWPC gets phone grants-received $10,000 from the Dominion Foundation and Henry V. & Frances W. Christenson Foundation. Extending its services to wireless customers in Portage County, during this period, cell phones replacing land lines as primary telephones.

  • 2018-2019, UWPC supported agencies served 32,753 meals to Portage county residents, last year UWPC agencies also run food cupboards to provide emergency food to the needy.


United Way of Portage County is a volunteer-based organization that supports the greatest variety of health & human services in the county, reaching people from all walks of life and income groups. Its single community-wide campaign unites businesses, volunteers and citizens to raise funds to support local family and community needs.



As you see, over the years many lives and communities have been enriched and improved; however, there is still a need to change and further improve the quality of every individual and community; but we can’t do it without you.  We can make a difference the United Way… join us.