The Early Years (1929-1945)
First established in 1929 the Marion Community Chest supported 8 community agencies, of which included
the Grant County Tuberculosis Association, Marion General Hospital, Grant County Red Cross, Boy Scouts,
YMCA, YWCA, Family Welfare Society, and The Salvation Army. The first year’s campaign raised a total of
$48,851 and campaigns continued to appear successful in the years following.
The Marion Community Chest changed to the Grant County War Chest in 1943, only after the addition of
agencies such as Carver Community Center, Girl Scouts, and the Teenage Recreation Center.
United Fund for Grant County
On June 19th, 1956, 96 community members met to consider the formation of a United Fund
for Grant County. Cornell Bailey chairman of the fact-finding committee) spend ample time on
gathering information about every voluntary funding drive during the course of a year. This
information included goals, results, costs, and the number of volunteers.
Results concluded that a total of 1,256 volunteers raised a total of $176,865 in just 262 days.
This led to the recommendation of a United Fund which then came to fruition through the
United Way of Grant County in 1974. The first campaign as the United Way raised $238,608
(134% of its goal) and used its funds to aid with 20 community agencies.
In 1962, the United Find experienced two major milestones. First was the inclusion of the Boy’s
Club as a community agency. The second was the formation of a citizen’s budgeting panel.
The purpose of the panel was to review agency budgets and programs in related fields of service;
the formation of this committee paved the way for the allocation process today.
In 1964, Central Labor Union suggested a minimum fair share gift be established of one hour’s
pay per month. To meet the continually increasing need of those in the labor movement, the
Labor Liaison was created in 1969 but later resolved in 2006 due to the declining production
industry in Grant County.
The United Way Today
The United Way has seen many changes during its years but continues to remain an integral part
in the Grant County community. The United Way was created as an outlet to raise funding for the
community in a more effective way. The United Way is now on route to be an investment agency,
focusing on making strides towards community-level outcomes but investing in high quality and
high performing community agencies and organizations.
Throughout the 1990s, the United Way became involved with the Indiana Association of the
United Way’s Giant Step Initiative, funded by the Lily Endowment, which offered various grants
to United Ways throughout Indiana. During the years 1991 and 1994, Grant County received
$164,000 in grants.
In the early 2000s, the United Way of Grant County faced major funding challenges. Many
manufacturing employers in Grant Counter had closed or moved locations, leaving high rates
of unemployment. During this time, the United Way was able to focus its support on these
critical needs of community families and helped to reduce the impact of this cultural change.
In 2016 The United Way of Grant County brought on another partner agency, Project Leadership,
which is focused on mentorship of high school aged students and preparing them for college or
career. The United Way also currently facilitates the Early Childhood Coalition, Family Shelter Initiative,
and serves on the Substance Abuse Task-Force and Thriving Families-Thriving Grant County.
The United Way continues to be a leader in the community, addressing current and emerging needs.
They are committed to actively bringing all sectors of the community together to allow Grant County
to thrive and to be more successful.
The Mission of the United Way of Grant County is to build stronger families in Grant County by focusing
support for Health, Education, and Financial Stability through uniting community resources to achieve
measurable results. Each day the United Way strives to support that mission through their works and
services; Desiring to make Grant County great.
current member agencies
- American Red Cross
- Boys and Girls Club of Grant County
- Carey Services
- Family Service Society: Hands of Hope
- Grant-Blackford Mental Health Center
- Project Leadership
- Senior Center
- Services for the Visually and Hearing Impaired
- St. Martin's Community Center
- The Salvation Army
CURRENT Community Partnerships
- Thriving Families Thriving Grant County
- Early Childhood Coalition
- Substance Abuse Taskforce
- Community School of the Arts
- Habitat for Humanity
- Great Beginnings
- Marion Housing Authority
- Cancer Services of Grant County
- Boy Scouts
- Girl Scouts