Our History

News and notes through the years tell the United Way story

 


1922


The Aurora Social Service Federation is formed, later becoming United Way of the Aurora Area.

1923

The Federation launches a fund drive for Central Europe and the Russian Relief program. 


1924


Merchants Bank makes an interest-free loan to the Federation of $5,000.

1926

The Salvation Army begins raising funds to buy a building on the south side of Main Street near Root Street. Members of the Aurora Social Service Federation (United Way) meet with the Salvation Army to discuss the handling of transients in Aurora.


1927


The Federation becomes the Community Chest of Aurora. A committee is formed to study the cooperation and overlapping of agencies' work.

1929

The Community Chest of Aurora's campaign goal is set at $115,100.


1932


The Family Service Organization finds an increasing number of families being evicted from their homes due to non-payment of rent.

1934

The Community Chest gives $75 to the Dental Clinic, an agency that was established and supported by Aurora dentists.


1937


Excerpts from "A Study of the Problems and Resources in Aurora, Illinois to Determine the Need of Reorganizing a Family Service Organization" show some of the concerns faced by social service organizations of the time.

Case 1:

A woman, deserted, on relief, claimed she was unable to get along and wanted to place her four children.

Case 2:

A husband wanted to leave his wife and place the children because the economic stress of unemployment had weakened his morale and had made him unable to cope with his responsibilities.

1940

A Refugee Committee is appointed to serve the United States Children's Committee on Care of European Children. From "Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Community Chest of Aurora," on Oct. 24: "He (Mr. Savage) told the board that the United States Committee had notified us that the evacuation of British children would be discontinued for the duration of the winter…"


1942


A War Chest Committee is established.

1944

The annual meeting of the Community Chest is held at the YMCA auditorium and is attended by 225 members of the public to hear Mr. Louis J. Alber give "a fascinating talk on "The Irresistible Winston Churchhill"."


1945


A $2,000 grant-in-aid is made to the Community Council for the purpose of starting a "Mental Hygiene Clinic" in Aurora which would serve the needs of both veterans and civilians. The purpose of the clinic is to "give psychological and psychiatric services to returned veterans, children's cases, and civilians."

1949

Dr. T.P. Stephens is honored as president of the Community Chest for seven years and his chairmanship of seven fundraising campaigns.


1950


Campaign goal increases to $199,500. The executive director says the primary concern was the nine city-wide campaigns, each raising between $100,000 and $125,000, in addition to the Red Feather Community Chest campaign. His fear is that "the public is confused between strong moral impulses to meet human needs and the inability to be intelligently selective of the recipients of limited funds available as contributions."

1953

Community Chest hires a fundraising firm to assist in revamping campaign organization.


1954


The Free Milk Fund is discontinued.

1959

The Community Chest receives $5,400.52 from Charity Day--an event on opening day at the Aurora Downs racetrack. The February meeting minutes calls it "a highly promoted affair with movie stars, radio and TV stars, etc."


1961


The Campaign raises $411,000. The Community Chest of Aurora becomes known as United Fund.

1967

An outstanding citizenship award is given to Mr. W.B. Greene, of Barber-Green manufacturing company, for his outstanding contributions to the community. Funding is provided for an alcoholism treatment program.


1969


The scholarship committee awards a one-year $3,000 scholarship grant to a second year graduate student at the University of Illinois, Jane Addams Graduate School of Social Work. Upon completion of studies, the student is to work for two years in an Aurora Agency.

1970

A study is conducted "to determine the need and demand of day care services for the entire community." Part of the study is a profile of working mothers who indicated they would use day care services. The Marie Wilkinson Child Development and Community Center is established.


1971


In conjunction with "Operation Lead Poisoning," medical authorities release information stating that lead poisoning is a serious problem. The group agrees that a cooperative community effort is needed.

1972

United Fund becomes known as United Way of the Aurora Area. Primary focus during this year is "to realize the full potential benefit of our new combined Budget-Planning Task Force, our new year-round Fund Raising Division, our intensified Public Information effort…"


1974


Campaign goal is $1,032,684.

1982

Congressman Tom Corcoran, in a letter to President Ronald Reagan, says, "The participation of the Right to Work Legal Defense Fund has Clearly deterred labor organizations form giving to United Way…"


1994


The Donor Choice Program begins, allowing donors to designate which area of social service they would like their dollars to be spent. Also, Payments by Visa or MasterCard are allowed.

1995

An area Needs Assessment is conducted.  Bi-annual updates will be conducted and published.  Every fifth year, a full, detailed Needs Assessment will be conducted and consist of a more detailed process.  This document will assist United Way in determining which issues are most important to the community at the time. Also, a Freedom Flight raffle is held for a plane ride on a B-17, in conjunction with the national Freedom Flight tour of historic warplanes, which stopped at Aurora Municipal Airport. Six people are able to ride on the historic plane.


1996


A new allocation process is developed, which asks for a request for proposals in 10 service areas. The agencies submit the programs, and these are compared to the community needs assessment.

1997

The Funders Consortium is formed,which allows the community to view the proposals and work collaboratively at addressing health and human service issues in the community.


1998


United Way receives a grant from the City of Aurora to develop an outcome measurements program. Member agencies receive training on measuring outcomes which are beneficial to the agencies as well as the donors. Outcome measurements provide invaluable information to improve programs and track results.

1999

The United Way campaign is enhanced by new computer technology, a web site and a regional marketing effort. United Way works constantly to ensure that community needs are met efficiently and effectively. United Way chairs the local FEMA Board, serves on the Continuum of Care Leadership Board, and launched the Charter for Illinois Children in the Aurora area.


2000


United Way completes the second community-wide needs assessment. The Allocation Committee uses the assessment as a tool for making funding decisions, reviewing critical issues, and seeking programs that best fill those needs.

2001

September 11th tragic events are different from any other we have experienced in our lives. In our sadness, and as our nation prepares for a war on terrorism, people everywhere come together to help in any way they could. Donors turn to United Way as a way of expressing their feelings for the victims in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Americans show their generosity by giving more than $200 million to the September 11th Fund, and millions more to the American Red Cross National Disaster Fund. The United Way of the Aurora Area faces a challenging campaign with an aggressive goal of $1,554,000 and a declining economy. Aside from all the money donated to the September 11th Fund, the campaign surpasses the campaign goal raising $1,570,367 which is the largest amount ever raised during a campaign.


2002


By collaborating with area funders and social service agencies, United Way is awarded an SBC Excelerator Grant in the amount of $37,500.  The grant allows United Way to enhance a donor's ability to give and make a difference, provides an avenue for agencies to access state of the art technology and offers the needy a means to access services.  The grant enables United Way to generate, allocate, and manage resources which matches services with donors' charitable choice.  This opportunity fosters standards of excellence in member agency management, stimulates community volunteer involvement, encourages collaboration among all service organizations, and provides leadership for a positive response to emerging community needs.  This is just one of the many ways United Way was able to leverage resources throughout the year to help build a strong healthy community.

2003

1st Annual Cardboard Boat Race & Youth Initiative Grant takes place.


2004


Name changes to Fox Valley United Way, merges with
Plano & Yorkville and raises $2.1M