History of United Way of the Plains
The United Way movement began in 1887 in Denver, Colorado, when religious leaders founded the Charity Organizations Society which planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fundraising campaign for 22 agencies. In 1913, the nation’s first modern Community Chest was born in Cleveland where a program for allocating campaign funds was developed.
From 1919 to 1929, communities across America began establishing Community Chests which would later be known as United Funds and now United Ways.
It was during this time that United Way of the Plains began as the Wichita Community Chest in 1922. The Wichita Chamber of Commerce had recommended that the organization be established to coordinate funding of 25 local social service agencies. The Wichita Community Chest raised and distributed $183,296 that first year.
From 1943 - 1946, the name was temporarily changed to Community War Chest. From 1946 - 1957, the Red Feather was adopted as a symbol of member agencies. Campaigns were often referred to as Red Feather Campaigns.
In 1957 the name was changed to United Fund of Wichita and Sedgwick County. In 1975, United Way of Wichita and Sedgwick County was adopted and then changed again to the current name of United Way of the Plains in 1987.