Looking Back

Our Timeline of 100 Years


In Denver, religious leaders founded the Charity Organizations Society, the first “United Way” organization, which planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fund-raising campaign for 22 agencies 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. 


Charitable institutions became exempt from the first federal act that imposed a tax on all corporations organized for profit. 


United Way California Capital Region (UWCCR) began as the “Sacramento Community Chest” a community-wide effort to raise funds to help local social needs. That first year, 19 nonprofit agencies banded together to create a single campaign for all. Today, 5 of the original nonprofit agencies are still affiliated with United Way California Capital Region. They are: American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Sacramento Children’s Home, Salvation Army and YMCA. 


United Way and the AFL-CIO enter into a partnership to help local working families.  


More than 1,000 communities have established United Way organizations.


Sacramento Community Chest consolidated with other fund drives to become the “Sacramento Area United Crusade” and Ford Motor Company began offering payroll deduction as a convenient way for its employees to contribute. 


The State of California established a workplace giving campaign for California State Employees and this effort is managed by United Way’s across California. 


Sacramento Area United Crusade established the “Sacramento Foundation” as a supporting organization.


Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was founded in 1965 as an anti-poverty program to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift communities out of poverty. UWCCR became an AmeriCorps VISTA Intermediary Program in 2018. 


Sacramento Area United Crusade changes its name to “United Way Crusade Sacramento Area.” This was done in conjunction with a national effort to identify all community funds with one name, yet maintain local autonomy and accountability.


United Way of America undertook with the National Football League (NFL) the largest public-service campaign in the nation’s history; a major part of that campaign was Great Moments, the televised United Way/NFL public-service announcements. United Way International was formed to help nations around the world form United Way-type organizations.


United Way Crusade Sacramento Area elects first female board chair, Eleanor Kausen.


United Way Crusade Sacramento Area changes its name to United Way Sacramento Area.


United Way establishes Alexis de Tocqueville nationwide program to recognize donors giving at the $10k annual level.


Susan Cotton becomes the first female President & CEO of United Way Sacramento Area.


United Way Sacramento Area moves its offices from 926 J Street to Volunteer Lane in Sacramento at the corner of Folsom Boulevard and Watt Avenue. 


United Ways and the NFL celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their unique partnership and the longest-running sports/charity public service announcement campaign of its kind. The partnership has enabled the United Way to share their special message with 110 million viewers during football season. Over 950 spots have aired since 1973.

United Way Sacramento Area changes its name to United Way California Capital Region to better reflect the entire region it serves.


In response to terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United Way of New York City and the New York Community Trust establish the September 11th Fund. The purpose of the Fund was to mobilize financial resources to respond to the pressing needs of the victims, their families, and communities affected by the tragedy. 


United Way California Capital Region begins a women’s initiative called “‘Women in Philanthropy”’ and the group holds its first annual luncheon at Arden Fair Mall. Now known as Women United.


Loretta Walker is elected as United Way California Capital Region’s first African America female board chair.


United Way California Capital Region launches its Young Leaders Society to connect younger donors with philanthropy and volunteer service.


United Way California Capital Region moves its offices from Watt Avenue and Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento to Old Placerville Road in Rancho Cordova.


United Way California Capital Region launches its annual Toilet Paper Drive to collect toilet paper for local nonprofits. This event continues for many years to come and collects more than half a million rolls of toilet paper.


Stephanie Bray becomes the first African American female President & CEO of United Way California Capital Region.


United Way California Capital Region establishes the Square One Project focused on ending poverty in our region starting in school. The project has four key pillars: keeping kids in school, keeping kids on track, setting high expectations and ensuring strong support.


In partnership with both board of directors, United Way of Woodland merges with United Way California Capital Region.

Stockton, California’s then-Mayor Michael Tubbs helped create the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, or SEED, the first citywide guaranteed income program in the country and in the state of California. Launched in February 2019, 125 randomly selected citizens received $500 a month for two years.

As part of the United Way and AFL-CIO partnership, letter carriers collected more than 76.1 million pounds of food, the 15th straight year that collections exceeded 70 million pounds. Since the drive began in 1993, nearly 1.4 billion pounds of food have been collected.


United Way California Capital Region raises more than $500k in partnership with the City of Sacramento to provide funds to local community members most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott awards United Way California Capital Region with a $10M unrestricted donation. UWCCR is one of more than 40+ United Way’s awarded major donations across the U.S. This donation represents the largest single donation UWCCR has ever received.


United Way California Capital Region launches the first Guaranteed Income program in the region, DIPS (Direct Investment Program Sacramento) serving 100 individuals with $300/month for 24 months. 


United Way California Capital Region announces its 100th anniversary campaign to raise $3M to help 10,000 kids excel in school by 2025.