The Community Chest of Macon and Bibb County was founded in 1922 through the leadership of local businessman, J. Clay Murphey. The organization was created to conduct a single, community-wide fundraising campaign for local nonprofit agencies. The first campaign raised $62,000 to support the human service programs of about a dozen local agencies.
The organization continued to grow in importance to the Macon Community in the 1930s and 1940s, and by the 1950s had become the community's preeminent charitable organization. Many of Macon's leading corporate and civic leaders provided leadership to the organization during these years, and by the 1950s the organization, now known as The United Givers Fund, had gained wide acceptance in the workplace as the best way to help the needy.
The Warner Robins Community Chest was formed in 1954, as Warner Robins Air Force Base and the city continued to grow following World War II. The creation of the Combined Federal Campaign in the 1960s would have dramatic effects on the Community Chest for years to come, as federal employees were presented the option of contributing to local, national, and international agencies. Today, more than two-thirds of the dollars contributed by federal employees go to agencies outside the local community.
In the 1970s, the United Givers Fund of Macon & Bibb County had become United Way of Macon and Bibb County, and by the end of the decade, its annual campaign total was nearing the $1 million mark. United Way of Baldwin County was created in 1976, and for the first time, United Way was an important part of community life in the three largest Central Georgia Communities.
The 1980s brought explosive growth to United Way of Macon & Bibb County, and by the end of the decade its annual campaign total had doubled to more than $3 million. Unfortunately, times were more difficult for Houston and Baldwin where campaign growth and stability proved to be daunting challenges.
The year 1989 was a period of momentous change for the three United Ways, as the decision was made by their respective volunteer boards to merge and create United Way of Central Georgia, with a mission to unite the citizens of Central Georgia in an effort to increase the organized capacity to care for citizens throughout the region. The first Regional United Way Campaign, led by Melvin Kruger, raised more than $3.6 million!
In 2014, The United Way embarked on shifting the focus of their community investment and leadership efforts to a “community impact model.” Community Impact is defined as an approach that looks at participant needs beyond just the services offered by a single program, and integrates services to provide a full spectrum of personal and social solutions. It is a comprehensive approach to social services and how they impact individuals, families and communities.
United Way of Central Georgia's current mission is to change lives and improve community conditions. More than ever, United Way of Central Georgia is focused on developing the community's human and financial resources to produce a measurable impact on the community's most serious social problems.