UWFC began as a Community and War Chest, as early as 1942 in Chambersburg. The initial Community and War Chest was to benefit a handful of organizations, including American Red Cross, Scouting, the Chambersburg Hospital and United Service Organization (USO). People in our community would combine funds and distribute them to help during times of need. The first campaign raised $41,579 for the local community of Chambersburg. For the next thirty years, the Community Chest grew at a steady rate, expanding to serve more organizations within our community.
By 1970, United Way was raising $161,179 to help the community and helping additional organizations like Catholic Social Services, Children’s Aid Society, ARC, Salvation Army, Shook Home, and YMCA. From the early 1970’s through 1990, growth of United Way and our campaign efforts increased at a steady rate, between 3 and 10 percent growth for most years. Over time, the community fund became known as the United Fund, and finally in the early 1970’s, as a national movement was created, we became United Way.
As United Way grew, and our communities of Franklin County grew, the needs of our community were obviously crossing from one place to another across the county and our business community was expanding so that people were living and working across the county so that lives were intersecting. Our work was intersecting as well. In 1994, United Way became a single organization to serve all of Franklin County, with the merging of 3 separate United Ways serving Waynesboro, Mercersburg and Chambersburg, so that UWFC came to existence.
Currently, UWFC serves to support our community and the services of 33 partner programs. We work, not only to provide financial support, but to foster collaboration between these organizations and to help build their capacity by providing funding, volunteer resources and gifts in kind. We work to advocate for the needs of our community by bringing for-profit and non-profit entities together in conversation. We are at the table for a wide range of issues from work force development, to capacity building for our community, and issues related to health, education and financial stability.
Our vision is a community where all families achieve their potential through education, income stability and healthy living. We are the go-to organization for volunteer efforts, and are taking beginning steps to engage our community in the work of advocacy so that we can move our community toward solutions for the issues that impact quality of life.