History

For more than 100 years, we have evolved to meet the changing needs in the greater Twin Cities, while staying true to why we were founded. We understand and respond to our community needs today, while helping to ensure a better future for all.

1915

United Way of Minneapolis Area is formed by local civic leaders to increase the business and public sectors’ participation in social service agencies.

1920

The need for social services increases following World War I and prompts a group of St. Paul civic leaders to form United Way of the St. Paul Area.

1930s

The Great Depression creates a dramatic rise in the need for services. The U.S. government begins providing social services, enabling the area United Ways to shift their focus from relief to prevention.

St Paul Community Fund

1940s

World War II changes the community and workforce. United Way comes to the aid of families of servicemen by organizing salvage drives and providing nursery schools for children of working mothers.

1948

First Call for Help (precursor to United Way 2-1-1) call center answers 3,307 calls.

1950s

The Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs grow rapidly due to the baby boom. In response, area United Ways devote more resources to youth and family services.

Community Chest Fund - Group of Kids

1960s

United Ways in Minneapolis and St. Paul respond to ethnic and social transformation by serving more communities of color and low-income people.

Neighbors play ball

1970s

Concern for deteriorating neighborhoods in the East Metro prompts United Way of the St. Paul Area to devote 40 percent of funds to neighborhood-based services.

1980s

Growing research and awareness of the importance of early learning prompts United Way of Minneapolis Area to launch its first major community initiative, Success By 6, a collaborative venture in early childhood development that is later replicated nationally and paves the way for continued leadership in education through the Childcare Accreditation Program and Career Academies.

1990s

With rapid advances in technology changing our world, United Way of Minneapolis Area develops “Service Through Technology,” a special initiative to help 200 agency partners transition to new technologies like PCs and electronic data.

2001

United Way of Minneapolis and United Way of the St. Paul Area merge for greater efficiency and effectiveness to become Greater Twin Cities United Way, serving people living in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott and western Washington counties.

United Front Event Attendees

2010

As the Great Recession deepens, United Way convenes the first United Front gathering of nonprofit, philanthropic, business and government leaders to discuss better ways of working together for the community in difficult times.

history-2015-volunteers-in-kitchen

2015

As our country and our community struggles with divisions and polarization, Greater Twin Cities United Way celebrates its Centennial year by continuing to bridge gaps and build relationships, including engaging more than 100,000 volunteers across the community.

United Way 2-1-1 Call Center

2018

To reflect the community we serve, United Way 2-1-1 (formerly First Call for Help) now makes 500,000 referrals annually in multiple languages with 24/7 service by phone and online and connections to over 40,000 resources.