About Us

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Our Mission

Arrowhead United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.


History of United Way

In 1887, a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put their heads together to plan the first united campaign for ten health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, as well as to coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred.  That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. 125 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.


History of Arrowhead United Way


Arrowhead United Way’s predecessor, the Associated Charities of San Bernardino (ACSB) formed and began a tradition of organized services for those in need.  $15,000 was raised.


The nation’s first modern Community Chest was born in Cleveland, where a program for allocating campaign funds was developed.


The San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Community Chest to replace ACSB and included character building services in the funding as well as charity work.


The first San Bernardino Community Chest campaign was a success. George W. Hellyer, a prominent San Bernardino attorney, was campaign chairman. The publicity chairman was Leslie I. Harris of Harris’ Stores. Organizations funded in the first campaign were Boy Scouts, Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA, Salvation Army, Tuberculosis Society, Home of Neighborly Service and Bureau of Catholic Charities. $40,000 was raised.


The San Bernardino Community Chest was located in the American Legion Building at 386 West Fourth Street and campaigned successfully until the infamous stock market crash on October 29, 1929.


The San Bernardino United Campaign was reinstated with three member organizations: Salvation Army, Boy Scouts and the YMCA. It expanded to six organizations in 1939.


The Red Feather drives, part of the Community Chest, became popular and continued until World War II and again after the war. During the World War II era, the campaign was named the War Chest and included International Charities along with the local organizations. The goal in 1943 was $100,000.


San Bernardino was the first city in the county to reach its goal after seven year of trying. The following year, the Community Welfare Federation of San Bernardino was incorporated and continued the Community Chest campaigns. They amended the articles in 1954 and became San Bernardino Community Chest and Council, Inc. Hugh Holmes was president and Marjorie Baily was secretary. 


Arrowhead United Fund was born. It consolidated the Community Chest group and fourteen other agencies. On April 26, it also incorporated seven surrounding communities: Bloomington, Colton, Crest Forest, Del Rosa, Highland, Muscoy and Rialto. The goal was $200,000 and was exceeded. The first president of AUF was Leslie I. Harris. The Health Foundation of the Arrowhead Area was launched in 1957 by AUF to fund major health causes. Papers were drawn up by W. R. Holcomb. Five VP’s were elected to represent major communities and the AUF, then located at 640 “F” Street in San Bernardino, with paid rent of $90 per month.  The campaign was lead by James K. Guthrie in October and lasted three weeks.


Arrowhead United Fund consolidated with Arrowhead Social Planning Council, Valley Volunteer Bureau and Health Foundation to form United Community Services (UCS) of the Arrowhead United Way Area.


UCS merged with San Bernardino County Council of Community Services and became Arrowhead United Way. The campaign was headed by Harry Lambert.


Arrowhead United Way funds 130 programs representing 51 member agencies.


Arrowhead United Way launches first “Days of Caring” program. Over 700 volunteers participated.


Arrowhead United Way – Women’s Leadership Council was formed.


In response to the December 2nd tragedy, Arrowhead United Way established the San Bernardino United Relief Fund and then partnered with the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. Over $2.5 million was raised and 100% was distributed to those affected as determined by the Relief Fund Committee.