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United Way Worldwide is an international umbrella organization that hosts thousands of non-profit organizations (often referred to as United Ways). It is the overarching organizational structure in charge of approximately 1,800 community-based United Ways in 45 countries and territories. Subdivisions include the United Way of America in the United States. Charities under the United Way structure organize volunteers and charitable donations to help local communities.

United Way Worldwide
United Way Worldwide logo.svg



The United Way concept was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1887. In the mid 1900s local United Ways founded a national organization, later called United Way of America. In 1928, a Community Chest organization was established in Cape Town, South Africa — the first United Way outside North America.[1] By 1974, there were enough United Way organizations internationally to demand the kind of support provided by the national organization, United Way of America, and United Way International was born. Its staff spoke eight languages, with a Board of Directors from more than seven countries, working with member organizations in 45 countries and territories outside the US.

In May 2009, United Way of America and United Way International were integrated as one global entity, United Way Worldwide.


There is a significant history of misappropriation of funds and false accounting at United Way, with several high-profile frauds by high-ranking officials leading in part to the collapse of United Way of America and the organisation's rebirth as United Way Worldwide [1]. William Aramony, a founder of United Way, was himself jailed for theft of funds [2].

Global expansionEdit

In its first 100 years, the United Way network reached 20 countries. Since 1990, United Ways have been created in 25 additional countries.

United Ways worldwide are led by local volunteers and professional leadership. In communities around the world, the United Way model is to convene local leaders to identify needs and create strategies that allow individuals and families to experience economic and human success through educational achievement, income stability and healthy lives. The historical business model up until 2008 was to provide, assist or promote:

  • Community needs assessments
  • Information and referral to human service agencies
  • Fostering information exchange and collaboration among service agencies
  • Community fundraising campaigns inviting all people to give, and not just the wealthy
  • Organizational activities and money managed according to a strategy, a budget, and strict financial controls
  • Community planning committees, bringing agencies, donors, city leaders and other groups to a single table to address problems together
  • Allocation of funds to carefully investigated agencies, based on the community councils’ strategies
  • Volunteering[2]

As of 2017, the United Way network spans 43 countries and territories.[3]

United Way in FranceEdit

United Way Tocqueville (UWT) was created in France in 2008 as a non-profit organization, and forms part of the largest private charitable organization in the world, United Way Worldwide. UWT's ambition is to gather together the economic, political and social leaders to initiate collective community efforts to solve social problems.

United Way France mobilizes corporates, volunteers and public institutions around education programs for junior-high school students. Their main actions include:

  • Mobilizing volunteers and raising funds to support non-profit organizations and projects
  • Bringing together all stakeholders of a community (non-profit organizations, corporations, individuals, donors, elected officials, etc.) around innovative social projects
  • Accompanying companies in the development of their social initiatives and the achievement of sustainability
  • Raising awareness among people and corporations about the values of mutual aid and local community involvement

United Way France and the Airbus Corporate Foundation launched in 2011 the Flying Challenge Program to support and inspire youth.
Airbus employees and college students tutor middle school and high school students, in order to help them succeed at school and develop their awareness of the importance of their orientation choices and potential career.

United Way New ZealandEdit

United Way New Zealand (UWNZ), officially known as United Way (NZ) Inc., was established in 1975 as the United Way of Greater Auckland. In 1998, the geographic scope of the organization was expanded, and the name was changed to reflect the new national focus.

Response to earthquakes in Chile, Haiti and JapanEdit

United Way's local organization in Chile, along with other United Way organizations throughout Latin America have mobilized to respond to the earthquake that hit Chile on February 27, 2010. They provided support in areas with the most pressing long-term recovery needs.[citation needed]

United Way Worldwide established the United Way Worldwide Disaster Fund,[4] introduced a text-to-give program, and is coordinating the integration of efforts from United Ways around the world. United Way Worldwide has worked with the United States government – the White House, Congress, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and to underscore the vital role of U.S. and international NGOs in Haiti's long-term recovery.[5]

Immediately following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, United Way began raising crucial funds needed for the Central Community Chest of Japan, part of the United Way worldwide network. Almost 90 volunteer centers have been set up throughout the country at the prefectural, municipal, district, and community levels. As of March 22, eight consultants and 23 volunteer coordinators have been dispatched to Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori Prefecture, with another 68 coordinators preparing for dispatch. The Central Community Chest of Japan has helped provide supplies to volunteer centers including: bicycles, mattresses, cell phones, and laptops. Additional supplies requested by the volunteer centers include motorbikes, prefab houses and tents, copy and fax machines, PCs and printers.

The Central Community Chest of Japan is collaborating with 43 affiliated non-profit organizations through the Council for Disaster Relief Project for Volunteers. This number is expected to grow rapidly as transportation conditions continue to improve.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Aft, Richard; Aft, Mary Lu (2009). Global Vision & Local Action: The History of United Way International. Cincinnati, OH: Philanthropic Leadership. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-9676-3822-5. OCLC 673402830.
  2. ^ Aft, Richard; Aft, Mary Lu (2009). Global Vision & Local Action: The History of United Way International. Cincinnati, OH: Philanthropic Leadership. ISBN 978-0-9676-3822-5. OCLC 673402830.
  3. ^ "United Way Worldwide". Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  4. ^ "Live United | Contribute". Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  5. ^ "United Way Worldwide - Homepage". Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  6. ^ "Home Page". Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)

External linksEdit