United Way of the CSRA is steeped in a rich heritage of volunteer leadership, fundraising and community service spanning several decades.
• In 1936, a group of local businessmen and community leaders formed the Character Coalition in an effort to unite community fundraising efforts. This first fundraising effort achieved a campaign of $80,000 with funds distributed to five youth serving agencies, the YMCA, YWCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the Salvation Army. The campaign quickly increased to nearly $150,000 by the end of its first decade of existence.
• With the advent of the Savannah River Project in 1951, approximately 45,000 workers and their families moved to Richmond and Aiken Counties. This brought about the need for a new approach to health and welfare services, and the Character Coalition evolved into the Community Chest.
• In 1956, after considerable collaboration between agencies in Augusta and North Augusta, leaders in both communities decided to join forces and conduct one joint campaign. During this period of time the Community Chest grew to be called the United Fund.
• Through the years, the United Fund grew, and in 1974 a new campaign structure was developed which resulted in the first $1 million campaign which funded programs in 26 member agencies. In 1975, the United Fund moved from its location in the Bankers First Building to its present location at 630 Ellis Street.
• In the 1980s, United Way underwent several name changes, finally changing to United Way of the CSRA in 1982. And now, more than 65 years after that first campaign, the children and grandchildren of those early visionaries are embracing that same commitment to making the CSRA a better place to live through their support of United Way.