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History

What we now recognize as United Way began in 1887 when a woman, a priest, a rabbi and two ministers created an organization in Denver to collect funds for local charities. The first year $21,700 was raised for 10 health and welfare organizations. And that was just the beginning …

In 1950, United Way of Northwest Illinois began its work as the Freeport Community Chest. Citizens and civic organizations joined together under the principle that “Working together we can accomplish so much more for our community.”

That guiding principle on which the United Way of Northwest Illinois was founded is still alive and well. Many people know the United Way as a funder, but we are so much more than that in our local community. United Way is a change agent that helps non-profits, businesses, and other stakeholders develop solutions to address health and human service needs in our community. Think you know your local United Way?  Well, did you know that?

  • The United Way provides funding to over 25 health and human service programs in Northwest Illinois. From providing assistance to make childcare affordable for working families, to providing home delivered meals to home-bound seniors, to helping parents learn needed skills, there is not an area in our community untouched by the work of the United Way and our partners.

  • The United Way recently partnered with stakeholders from the education and business community to conduct a survey of barriers facing our local workforce. The United Way is working with these same partners to develop solutions around these same barriers. One such solution was recently featured in the Journal Standard

  • The United Way focuses on the building blocks that make up quality of life which include; Education, Income (Financial Stability), and Health. Focusing in these areas, has an impact for everyone in our community.  

  • The United Way strongly encourages and assists our non-profits and other stakeholders in working collaboratively together. The United Way provides assistance to our community in sharing resources, utilizing funds to reach underserved populations. 

  • United Way of Northwest Illinois helps leverage additional dollars for our agencies and needs in the community.  Many companies will match donations to the United Way by their employees. On top of this, many of the agencies who receive funds from United Way use these funds to leverage additional grant dollars. This means your $5.00 donation to the United Way can mean up to 8 times that amount, working in your community.

  • Want to learn more about the United Way of Northwest Illinois and be a part of the change?  

    • Call our office at 815-232-5184 and find out how you can make a difference.