History

Your Local United Way

Like every United Way chapter, United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties is an independent locally-governed agency designed to serve the local community. Like our view of the world, our United Way is “Unique Apart and Powerful Together” because we marry the strengths of our two counties, while treating them like the individuals they are. We have joint governance for both counties, but keep donor investments strictly separated.

Just as we are here for the community we are also governed from the community. All our board members and committee members are community volunteers. They are your friends and neighbors (and maybe you!), working in concert to advance the common good by mobilizing resources for community-wide impact.

Read about our Mission, Vision and Values, and how we approach community-wide problem solving. Find information about how we are governed, the membership of our committees and detail about our finances.

The Benton County United Fund (BCUF) was incorporated in December 1954 under the leadership of Board President James Metzger.  The 21 member board managed operations with no paid staff. The following year, the United Good Neighbors of Lincoln County (UGNLC) incorporated in 1955 and included seven members and no paid staff. In 1970 The BCUF became United Way of Benton County, hiring a part-time Executive Director, and part-time clerical staff, while the United Way of Lincoln County began to operate with part-time staff.

In 2005 United Way of Benton County and United Way of Lincoln County merged to become United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties, serving the two-county region from a main office in Corvallis, OR and staff in each county.

Since this merger, United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties has funded dozens of agencies and scores of programs, helping tens of thousands of people in the two-county region. In our most recent year, your local United Way invested more than $770,000 in direct and leveraged funds across Benton and Lincoln Counties.

In addition to meeting need today, and working to prevent need from happening, United Way is also active in crafting public policy. We are members of the Homeless Oversight Committee of Benton County and the Public Health Advisory of Lincoln County, which advises the Board of Commissioners. Our Executive Director serves on the Governing Board of the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Early Learning Hub.


System History

In 1887, a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put their heads together to plan the first united campaign for ten health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, as well as to coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred.  That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. Over 118 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives. 

1948:

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

1954:

The Benton County United Fund (BCUF) was incorporated in December 1954 under the leadership of Board President James Metzger.  The 21 member board managed operations with no paid staff.
1955:

The United Good Neighbors of Lincoln County (UGNLC) incorporated in 1955 and included seven members and no paid staff. 

1970:

The BCUF became United Way of Benton County, hiring a part time executive Director, and part-time clerical staff, while the United Way of Lincoln County also contunied  to operate with only part-time staff.

1973:

The NFL and the United Way establish their partnership to increase public awareness of social service issues facing the country. In addition to public service announcements in which volunteer NFL players, coaches and owners appear, NFL players support their local United ways through personal appearances, special programs, and sitting on United Way governing boards.

 

1996:

In October of 1996, United Way of America identified healthy children, healthy families and healthy communities as focus areas under the strategic plan.

2000:

United Ways embark on a national brand management strategy designed to differentiate United Way brand and system. The strategy helps to reposition United Way as more than a "fundraiser," but rather as the leading community impact organization.
United Way and its partners, the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, successfully petition the Federal Communications Commission to designate
"211" for health and human services information and referral. Originally created by United Way of Atlanta, 211 is an easy-to-rememberand universally recognizable telephone number that makes a critical connection between individuals and families in need and the appropriate community-based organizations and government agencies.

2002:

In January, Brian Gallagher assumes the position of United Way of America president and CEO. A 20-year veteran of United Way, Gallagher was president of the United Way of Central Ohio in Columbus, the 16th largest United Way in the country. Gallagher becomes UWA's fourth president, succeeding Betty Stanley Beene, whom concluded her service to United Way on January 31, 2001.

2005:

United Way of Benton County and United Way of Lincoln county merge to become United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties, serving the two-county region with offices in Corvallis, OR and Newport, OR.

2009:

United Way International and United Way of America came together to create United Way Worldwide, the largest privately-funded nonprofit in the World, with more than 1,800 United Ways in 41 countries and territories.

2012:

United Way celebrates its 125th anniversary and enters into partnerships with CNN and CNN international to share the LIVE UNITED message in communities around the world.