The Early Years: 1923-1943

United Way of the Midlands began in a very different time. Calvin Coolidge had just become President of the United States and the country was 5 years out of World War I. It was in 1923 that local citizens and community leaders banded together to create United Way of the Midlands' prototype, The Community Chest. We were, and still are, dedicated to responding to the community's needs, allocating dollars to local health and human service programs that make the most impact. In our first year, funds were allocated among 30 participating nonprofit agencies in Douglas County.

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Campaign posters from the Great Depression era  

While still in our infancy, the Great Depression swept the nation, causing the level of need for local individuals and families to reach new heights. The relief requests were overwhelming, requiring the struggling Community Chest to borrow money to meet the needs of our agencies. Through those rough times, we were able to continue to provide for local programs, raising funds from across the community to help ease the strain of the economic climate.

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With the introduction of federal relief programs in 1933, the Community Chest changed it's focus to those unable to receive government relief. It was a time of recovery and growth for the organization, and we saw increases as local families began to feel a strain from World War II. 

1923 Collage _a