1920 was the inaugural year of United Way of Midland County, originally deemed the Midland Welfare Association. The first campaign raised $22,187 and was chaired by Ralph J. Hyde. During this decade, our country fell under the Great Depression. Despite the struggles that the country faced, our community increased their giving by 10%, raising $20,948. The board was led by M.E. Putnam.
In 1931, the Midland Welfare Association was incorporated. Together with Kiwanis, the organization purchased Camp Neyati: an oasis north of Clare that provides camping for kids and families. The first campaign chair, C.N. Morrison, was appointed to lead the community campaign. They raised $23,812 to meet those so negatively impacted by the Great Depression.
The Midland Welfare Association changed its name to Midland Community Fund. In the boom after the end of World War II, our community raised an astounding $84,967, more than doubling their support since 1940.
The 1950s was an exciting decade of growth for the campaign, reaching $100,000 and then exceeding the $200,000 mark when $219,000 was raised in 1956.
We incorporated under the name United Community Fund of Midland County and saw donations of $532,671.
The Midland community crossed the $1 million mark, raising an astounding $1,167,644 under the leadership of Esther Schuette Gerstacker and David Rooke.
Our name officially became the United Way of Midland County. Midland, Michigan had the highest per-capita giving throughout the nation. Since that date, our generous community has been in the top five for the highest per-capita giving.
The Strosacker Building was opened and housed United Way and numerous partner agencies. The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation provided the first matching grant for new and step-up Leadership Circle Donors, earning our community $50,000. In 1996, the first United Way of Midland County website was launched.
United Way’s First Call for Help was created to help connect those in need to available services. The community investment process moved from funding agencies to funding specific programs. In 2008, the LIVE UNITED message was launched, which became a rallying cry for giving, advocating and volunteering. United Way 2-1-1 of Northeast Michigan launched, initially serving five counties.
Young Leaders United launched to promote philanthropy and volunteerism among leaders under 40. In 2013, the inaugural Community Colors 5k fun run brought over 1,800 community members together.
United Way of Midland County celebrates our Centennial with community-wide events and story-sharing. We look ahead to the future and identifying new ways to collaborate with the community to unite to change lives.
GET IN TOUCH
United Way of Midland County 115 Jerome St, Midland, MI 48640 Phone: (989) 631-3670 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org