1920 – 1950
The United Way of Southwest Alabama began with the creation of the Community Chest of Mobile in 1926. The first campaign for funds was launched on January 24, 1927, and raised a total of $194,881.01 in one week.
Between 1927 and 1951, the Community Chest supported 32 different local agencies, including the U.S.O. and War Relief Agencies during World War II.
In 1954, public officials unanimously voted to organize a United Fund that campaigned for both local and national agencies, expanding the reach of the Community Chest of Mobile beyond the boundaries of Mobile County.
During the 1960s, the focus of the United Fund/Community Chest’s activities began to center on the health, welfare, and recreation of the children in Mobile County.
1971 marked an important event in UWSWA’s history when the United Fund surpassed the 2 million dollar mark in its campaign for the first time.
The United Fund organization established the Community Leadership Development Program in 1974 in order to continue impacting the children and youth of Mobile County. This was one of the first leadership development programs in the country.
In 1980, Washington County became affiliated with the United Fund and in 1981 the United Fund became the Mobile Area United Way.
With the inclusion of Clarke County in 1990, the organization changed its name to United Way of Southwest Alabama.
In 2010, UWSWA’s Board of Directors approved a new community impact mission that sought to achieve positive and sustained community change. The four Building Blocks for a Better Life were established to help the community at large and continue to be the primary drive of UWSWA and its partners today.