United Way of Central Alabama is Marking 100 Years of Service with Centennial Celebration This Summer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –Since 1923, United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) has faithfully served Central Alabama to meet the immediate and long-term needs of residents. By supporting partners and programs, responding to emerging needs and innovating services to address complex issues, UWCA provides the community with resources needed to thrive.

“We are firm believers that when we come together as a whole, the possibilities are endless,” said UWCA President & CEO Drew Langloh. “Our 100-year impact on the Central Alabama community proves this, and we look forward to continuing to pave the way for real, tangible change for the next 100 years.”

Local leaders founded UWCA, originally as the Birmingham Community Chest, in 1923 with a fundraising goal of $450,000 benefiting 31 agencies. Now, 100 years later, UWCA’s impact has grown to over 100 programs, services and initiatives across a six-county footprint.

UWCA would not exist without the community’s generosity, especially during some of history’s hardest economic and social times, including the below highlights:

  • 1929 – Birmingham turned to the Community Chest and its agencies (later UWCA) for sustained, organized relief during the Great Depression. The community rallied and met a campaign goal of half a million dollars, a remarkable event during a crisis.
  • 1943 – During World War II, the Jefferson County Community Chest (later UWCA) broke all previous records and raised more than $1 million for the first time.  
  • 1966 – Dr. A.G. Gaston served as the first Black board member and established the A.G. Gaston Boys Club in Birmingham.
  • 2006 – UWCA leveraged $20.9 million to assist Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Alabama.
  • 2022 – UWCA launched the “Forever United Campaign,” its strategic plan for the next century, to increase its endowment to $100 million, so the community’s safety net of services continues to thrive during the next 100 years.

UWCA looks forward to celebrating its rich history all year long and setting the scene for the next 100 years. A calendar of various fundraising and community initiatives will culminate in a community-wide celebration to thank all who have helped make Central Alabama a better place.

On June 24, supporters, partners and neighbors will be invited to CityWalk in Birmingham from 3-8 p.m. to enjoy a free celebration featuring live music, food, performers, games, a partner agency fair and more to honor the past and look forward to the future.

“Thanks to Coca-Cola United, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Regions and many other dedicated sponsors, we are able to host this community event to show gratitude to supporters in a meaningful and joyful way,” said Craft O’Neal, UWCA’s 100th anniversary chair and chairman and CEO of O’Neal Industries. “We hope you will join us for our Centennial Celebration event later this year and help us keep fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community.”

To honor this 100-year achievement and thank each of its communities, UWCA will complete a community project in each of the six counties they serve. Details will be unveiled in the coming months, but each project will be customized to suit the community and site location.

For more information on UWCA or ways to get involved in the Centennial Celebration, visit www.uwca.org/100years.


About United Way of Central Alabama: United Way of Central Alabama serves Jefferson, Shelby, Walker, Blount, St. Clair and Chilton counties by providing solutions for the most critical needs in the community. Through our partner agencies and community initiatives, we improve lives and community conditions by building and mobilizing resources. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. For more information, visit www.uwca.org.