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 2020 campaign, more than $3.1 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

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.

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

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

Community Chest partnered with 13 different agencies.

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

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

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

The name officially changed to United Way of Portage County.

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

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.

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

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

United Way of Portage County celebrated their 50th Anniversary.

Campaign raised more than $1.6 million.

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

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

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.

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.

2020 on March 18, United Way of Portage County joined with the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin to launch the Portage County COVID-19 Relief Fund (PCCRF). The PCCRF provided flexible resources to organizations assisting individuals disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of outbreak.19 organizations in Portage County received PCCRF funding, championing a wide variety of community issues including food insecurity, childcare assistance, education interruptions, employment reductions, housing vulnerabilities, and more. The PCCRF disbanded on March 16, 2022, having raised and distributed grants totaling $617,856.