History of United Way of Central Alabama
United Way has a rich history in helping neighborhoods and communities in Central Alabama. It began as a cooperative action to address our city’s human services problems.
United Way of Central Alabama, Inc. (formerly The Birmingham Community Chest) was organized in 1923 with 31 agencies and a goal of $450,000. Even in 1929, the year of the stock market crash, the goal was met as more than half a million dollars was raised-a remarkable amount, considering the economic conditions.
In 1943, during World War II, the Birmingham Community Chest campaign raised more than $1 million for the first time. In 1956, it changed its name to the United Appeal. Two years later, the $2 million milestone was passed.
In 1969, the local organization was invited into neighboring Shelby County and in 1970 agencies in Walker County asked to be included, too., The legal name was changed to the United Way-Community Chest of Central Alabama, Inc. in 1985. And in 1992, the name was changed to United Way of Central Alabama, Inc.
Today, United Way’s impact has grown to over 80 programs and initiatives and a fundraising impact of more than $38 million. Throughout its history, the United Way has not changed its basic purpose-to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another and to improve their communities.