United Way Worldwide

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.   A movement was created that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. Over 118 years later, United Way remains focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.

United Way of Wexford-Missaukee Counties

June 23, 1943 – As an outgrowth of discussion at a meeting for information of the United War Fund Committee, a group of representatives of various civic organizations met in the Chamber of Commerce office to discuss the advisability of forming a Community Chest for Cadillac.

Judge Allison Webb was nominated Temporary Chairman, Mr. Earl Huckle was appointed Temporary Secretary.

Chairman Webb was authorized to proceed with plans for holding a meeting when all civic groups would be invited to send representatives.  A five person committee consisting of Donald Welsh, Victor Bartlett, Robert Ransom, Mrs. Gordon Hagadorn and Earl Huckle was selected to select nominations for an executive board and to formulate a constitution and by-laws.

An agreement with the Wexford County War Chest was entered into by the Community Chest, to hold joint drives and divide the money between the War Chest and the Community Chest.

October 15, 1943  the first budget was adopted. 

Results of the first drive which began by the end of October 1943, totalled  $26,842.39.  All agencies were paid their allocations with additional funds given to the United War Fund of $450.00 and Boy Scouts $800.00.  The balance was put into a contingency fund.

With the end of the war, that United War Chest was disbanded about 1946, the following year the U.S.O. was admitted to the Chest as a participating agency.

Mercy Hospital was admitted into the Chest in 1948.  In 1949 the U.S.O. agency was terminated, only to be back into the Chest as a national agency under the Health and Welfare Agencies, which was admitted to the Chest in 1949.  This later became United Health and Welfare Fund of Michigan Inc. organized under the Michigan United Fund, which included all state and national agencies in one.

In 1951 it was decided that the Community Chest should take in the entire county, not just the city of Cadillac.  At this time the Community Chest was to be renamed United Wexford County Chest.  Also many county recreational programs were to be admitted as participating agencies.  Boon, Buckley, Harrietta and Hoxeyville Youth programs.  The Manton and Mesick Youth programs were admitted in 1951.

In 1955, the Internal Revenue Services approved the non-profit 501c3 status for the agency.

In 2009, the Missaukee United Fund Board of Directors voted to dissolve the Fund and through conversations with United Way of Wexford County a new organization emerged called  "United Way of Wexford-Missaukee Counties."  

United Way of Wexford-Missaukee Counties serves the communities of:  Boon, Buckley, Cadillac, Harrietta, Lake City, Manton, McBain, Mesick, Falmouth, Moorestown, Sherman, Vogel Center and including all townships within Wexford and Missaukee Counties.