History

In 1945 a group of concerned citizens formed the Stevens Point War Chest to help the war effort through a coordinated local fund drive. While the name and the focus have changed, United Way continues to raise money through a community-wide fund drive each year. In the 2013 campaign, more than $2.8 million was raised.

United Way of Portage County is one of 1,300 nonprofit United Ways in the United States. Each operates independently and is governed by a local volunteer board of directors.

Our Timeline

1945
The Organization of the Stevens Point War Chest was formed with Ed Wotruba and Rollin Mabie as Drive Chairmen and Clarence Pfeffer as Treasurer. They started with seven partner agencies.

1946
Many residents of Portage County “adopt” 800 homeless children from Europe for Christmas.

1948
Stevens Point War Chest changed to Community Chest. Al Schein was Drive Chairman and Sam Kingston was President of the council.

1953
Community Chest partnered with 13 different agencies.

1959
Community Chest became United Fund of Portage County. It was incorporated under Joseph R. Hartz, President.

1965
United Fund of Portage County fund drive reached a new campaign high of $68,247. This amount doubled the amount raised 10 years prior.

1971
United Fund of Portage County reached a goal of $134,561 exceeding $100,000 for the first time.

1972
The name officially changed to United Way of Portage County.

1976
United Way of Portage County reached a goal that exceeded $200,000 for the first time.

1984
The campaign exceeded their goal of $473,000 by six percent and raised $501,000 for the first time. The Stevens Society was also formed in 1984.

1987
United Way of Portage County won United Way of America’s national award for outstanding allocations process.

1991
First year that United Way of Portage County reached $1 million campaign.

1995
United Way of Portage County celebrated their 50th Anniversary.

2000
Campaign raised more than $1.6 million.

2005
United Way of Portage County had 37 partner programs and celebrated their 60th Anniversary.

2006
This was the first year for United We Ride campaign kickoff event which was a motorcycle ride through Portage County.

2008
The What Matters branding is replaced with LIVE UNITED™. The new branding effort is designed by the McCann Erickson firm of New York. The intent is to be more engaging to all audiences while continuing to position United Way as the leading organization within the community to bring about lasting change with the focus of creating a good life for all.

2010
The first event Run, Bike, Unite Duathlon kicks off the campaign season and brings nearly 500 people to Stevens Point to compete.


2013 was a year of many firsts, as a family -- Ryan and Erin Andrews and their children, Josh, Riley and Eleanor -- led a campaign for the first time as Drive Chairs; United Way and Scaffidi Motors teamed up to give away a car in the first-ever DRIVE UNITED Sweepstakes (Bruce Kuhr from Sentry was the lucky winner); all people who donated $52 or more received the first-ever GIVE & GET UNITED Coupon Book containing more than $400 in coupons to local businesses; and Stevens Society donors gave more than $1 million in contributions.
 

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