History

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Our Mission

Our mission is to improve people's lives by mobilizing the caring power of the people in Bonneville, Clark, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison and Teton counties.
 

Our Goals

We strive to focus on the building blocks for a good life; health, education, and financial stability. We help children and families throughout the region reach their full potential and lead healthy, productive lives.

History of the United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County                   

What is now the United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County began in 1940, when E.F. McDermott, editor and publisher of the Post-Register newspaper, organized the Community Chest of Idaho Falls to coordinate multiple fund-raising activities in Idaho Falls. The first agencies to participate were the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the Salvation Army. The campaign goal was $13,505.

McDermott's idea was not new. Rather it was part of a trend that began in Denver, Colorado in 1887. In that year, a Catholic priest, a rabbi and a protestant minister joined in a united drive to raise funds for 23 charitable agencies that served the health and welfare needs of that frontier town.

The idea spread quickly to other cities. In 1919 the name "Community Chest" was first used for this community effort in Rochester, New York. It was quickly adopted by other cities. By 1940, when McDermott organized the Idaho Falls Community Chest, there were 598 such campaigns nationwide, which together raised more than $90 million.

The annual Idaho Falls Community Chest Campaign grew and prospered. In 1943, the American Cancer Society was added as a fourth member agency -- and the campaign goal nearly doubled to $26,274. From 1943 to 1947, the campaign was combined with the Idaho National War Fund, which benefitted agencies serving members of the armed forces.

By 1964, when the name was changed to Community Chest of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County, the annual goal was $85,000. In 1976, when the name changed again, this time to United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County, the first full-time professional director was hired. This United Way reached its first $1 million campaign in 1990, and has had a number of $1 million annual campaigns since.

The United Way of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County served a five-county area for many years, providing vital social, educational, and vocational services to the people of Bonneville, Fremont, Jefferson, Madison and Teton counties through as many as 28 different member agencies. The agency list changes based on the needs of our service region and the services various agencies offer; new agencies start up from time to time and some agencies cease operations.

In 2015 Clark County and Lemhi County joined our United Way service region. Today our seven-county region is just over 12,000 square miles, with a population of more than 203,000 people. We are pleased to serve them through the following United Way member agencies:

 

American Red Cross                                              Boy Scouts, Grand Teton Council

Civil Air Patrol                                                       CLUB, Inc.

Development Workshop, Inc.                                 Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center

Eastern Idaho Comm. Action Partnership              Family Crisis Center

Foster Grandparents                                               Girl Scouts, Silver Sage Council

Hospice of Eastern Idaho                                       Idaho Falls Rescue Mission

Idaho Legal Aid                                                      Senior Citizens Center - Idaho Falls

Senior Citizens Center - Madison County               Senior Citizens Center - Rigby

Senior Citizens Center - South Fremont                 Salvation Army

Upper Valley Friendship Club                                 Idaho Falls YMCA

Center for Hope