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.
In line with United Way World Wide goals, our goals are to
- Improve education, and cut the number of high school dropouts — so that more people are equipped for success in life.
- Help people achieve financial stability, and get working families in our region who are financially unstable — on the road to economic independence.
- Promote healthy lives, and increase the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors.
These goals are ambitious, but with your help, and by utilizing our core strengths — a region-wide network, committed partners and public engagement capacity — we can achieve them.
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
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 YMCA
Center for Hope