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The United Way Story

In 1887, a Denver, CO woman, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi got together... It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but they didn't walk into a bar; what they did do was recognize the need to work together in new ways to make Denver a better place.

Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put together an idea that became the nation's first united campaign, benefitting 10 area health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to collect the funds for local charities, to coordinate relief services, to counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and to make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 for this greater good, and created a movement that would become United Way.

Not only did this first branch help the community through its direct services and partnerships, but it also strengthened the community as people came together under a common goal - and it's still happening today.

Black River United Way is committed to improving our community's capacity to care for one another through our work in 3 primary areas: Long Term Recovery, Third Grade Reading, and Career Readiness & Workforce Development. Check out some highlights from 2015, our first year with the new Community Impact Model - great things are happening as we LIVE UNITED!