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United Way NNY HistoryThe Community Chest was a philanthropic movement that began in Cleveland, OH in 1913. The idea was to rally community support to strengthen the work of non-profits and to encourage philanthropy.

The Community Chest launched in Watertown in 1921.  The image above depicts representatives from the first agencies to be funded through the Community Chest of Watertown – Woman’s Auxiliary of the House of the Good Samaritan, Salvation Army, Association for the Blind, Children’s Home of Jefferson County, Young Women’s Christian Association, Boy Scouts of America, St. Patrick’s Children’s Home, Women’s Auxiliary of Mercy Hospital, Visiting Nurse Association, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Young Men’s Christian Association.

Community Chest would go on to become the United Fund in 1970, serving Jefferson County, before merging with Lewis County several years later to become UWNNY.  And in 2000, another merger with UW of St. Lawrence County, and the United Way of Northern New York grew to serve a marketplace of 3 counties, comprised of 5,223 SQ miles.