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Who We Are

Mission & History


Our mission is to improve lives across Cumberland County by strategically raising and investing resources that successfully impact prioritized human service and health needs while working in effective and innovative partnerships with direct provider agencies.


For Cumberland County to be a diverse and dynamic community where individuals and families thrive, where people willingly share the responsibility of ensuring a safe and healthy community, and where there is ongoing emphasis on enhancing the quality of life for all citizens.


United Way of Cumberland County strongly opposes all forms of racism.  We celebrate diversity and its power to improve any endeavors that guide our work.


The concept of United Way originated in Denver, Colorado in 1887 when four clergymen and one public-spirited woman formed the first joint appeal for organized help in the United States. Their immediate goal was to help people who came searching for riches in the gold mines but instead, found misfortune. The concept that launched the first organized fundraising effort is still true of United Way today. Contributions are sought from everyone - not just the wealthy, and the money is distributed where it is needed most.

United Way was born in Cumberland County on April 13, 1939. Representatives of the YMCA, The Salvation Army, Boy Scouts and Cumberland County Association for the Blind (known today as the Vision Resource Center) met at the former Anderson Street YMCA Building to lay the foundation for a Community Chest in Fayetteville. They were motivated by a “spontaneous demand on the part of Cumberland County residents for an organization to combine all worthy purposes into one campaign,” according to a news report in The Fayetteville Observer. By the time of the first Community Chest drive, three other organizations became affiliates, Girl Scouts, Travelers Aid and the PTA free lunch program.


In the 1950’s the Community Chest hired its first full-time professional director and the name of the organization was changed to United Services Fund. Known also as United Fund, the organization operated under strong business principles and the key to its fundraising success was payroll deductions.


In the 1960’s, President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order making health and welfare agencies eligible to receive gifts from federal employees through payroll deduction. As a result, what is now the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) began in Cumberland County.


In the 1970’s, the United Fund Board of Directors voted to change the organization’s name to United Way.


In the 1980’s United Way became administrator for distribution of funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and initiated Response Grants to meet housing, homelessness, food insecurity and utility assistance needs. The name has since been changed to Emergency Food & Shelter Program Grants


In the 1990’s, the United Way began the administration of the Youth Growth Stock Trust.


In 2004, United Way of Cumberland County graduated its first class from the Leadership Development Program (LDP). The mission of the LDP is to recruit volunteer leaders, enhance leadership skills and prepare volunteers for leadership roles within non-profit organizations throughout Cumberland County.


In 2005, UWCC launched the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program. This program is designed to encourage the love of reading and learning. It provides support to children – ages birth to age five – by mailing one free book each month.


United Way of America changed the slogan “what matters” to “live united”. United Way brings together people and resources to make a difference. We believe that all of us, as members of this community, share the responsibility of improving the quality of lives in Cumberland County. We at United Way see “living united” as giving, advocating, and volunteering.


In 2012, UWCC developed a Strategic Plan that included community focus groups and survey analysis from the community regarding emerging issues and needs. In 2012, UWCC announced the implementation of 2-1-1, a free, 24/7 telephone referral service. Just as people call 9-1-1 for emergencies, callers in Cumberland County could now call 2-1-1 and speak with a trained referral specialist who will refer them to the health and human service program that meets their needs. In 2013 there will a total of 2,655 calls received.


UWCC celebrated 75 years of service to Cumberland County. The programs provided over 344,000 instances to individuals and families including 106,000 instances to military individuals and families.


United Way of Cumberland County held Community Focus Group Meetings in neighborhood recreation centers across Cumberland County. The total number of meetings was 22 and a total of 234 Cumberland County residents attended the meetings. The results are the force behind Community Impact driven funding.


In 2015, we proudly supported programs provided over 344,000 instances to individuals and families including 106,000 instances to military individuals and families.


UWCC launched Character Playbook, a digital character development program, in 17 Cumberland County Middle Schools. The program is made possible through a partnership with United Way and the National Football League. By the end of the 2016 – 2017 Academic Year, 4, 524 students were reached by Character Playbook.


In 2019, UWCC moved from traditional funding to a Community Impact Model of funding programs versus organizations.  UWCC opened the Request for Funding process to include any program with a two-year history in Cumberland County and also aligning with UWCC’s targeted impact areas.


UWCC held its first annual meal-packing event. Packing over 25,000 meals for those facing food insecurity living in out community. In 2022, we packed 35,000 meals and in 2023 we packed 75,00 meals.


In 2024, UWCC moved from 222 Maiden Lane, located in downtown Fayetteville after 26 years, to a new temporary home located at 559 Executive Place, Suite 101.

Our Impact In 2022/2023

  • People Helped


  • Volunteer Hours


  • Funds Granted


  • Volunteers


  • PWC Logo 2020

  • City Logo 2021
    City Logo 2021
  • Cumberland County Logo 2020
    Cumberland County Logo 2020
  • United Way Membership
    United Way Membership
© 2024 United Way of Cumberland County

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