We started in 1922 as the Community Chest of Greater Knoxville.
The idea for our giving structure began in Denver, Colorado after the 1887 gold rush went bust. The idea came from local clergy members and a volunteer, who organized a citizen’s response effort to render aid to hungry and homeless individuals. Their first campaign raised $21,700, and their idea spread throughout the United States and landed in our great city in 1922. Since that time we have worked to understand local needs, mobilize volunteers, to raise awareness and money to meet community needs by granting money to programs that align with predetermined goals.
Our name changed and we evolved into United Way in 1972. The official logo and current symbol was adopted in 2004. Our focus and strategy have evolved over the last 100 years, but the goal is the same.
We are a citizen’s action organization focused on improving community conditions.
We are local
We invest donated money in programs focused on health education, and financial stability.
Lasting community change means improving lives by identifying the root cause of problems and then working to alleviate or prevent them by influencing community attitudes, networks, and organizations. Prevention and Development services improve lives by partnering with agencies whose programs provide direct services focused on preventing specific issues and includes direct services to individuals and families.
With your help, we will continue to preserve key existing community relationships while forging new partnerships to properly identify core issues, share responsibilities, and ensure lasting, effective change.
Local United Way’s are dues paying affiliates of the United Way Worldwide. All local United Way’s are autonomous and independent yet abiding by standards set by United Way Worldwide. We pay our national organization 1% of what we raise in the annual campaign each year. United Way of Greater Knoxville is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization and is governed by a volunteer board of directors. United Way is fully compliant with all local, state, federal, and United Way Worldwide standards. There are 1,800 local United Ways globally and it is the largest charitable organization in the world.
United Way is launching a Direct Neighborhood Fund to support youth and family enrichment work in East Knoxville. Click the link to learn more and get involved!