United Way of Palm Beach County – History
Following the devastating hurricane of 1928, community leaders recognized the need for a unified effort to respond to human needs. Therefore, in 1929, several federated organizations were formed in Palm Beach County.
Since that time, the original organizations have undergone many changes in title and structure. At one time, four separate United Way organizations existed in Palm Beach County. In 1987, United Way of Delray Beach and United Way of Greater Boca Raton joined to form United Way of South Palm Beach County. This was followed by the staff consolidation of United Way of Palm Beach County and United Way of South Palm Beach County in 1990. The merger of these organizations was completed in July 1992, forming what is now known as United Way of Palm Beach County, Inc. Today, United Way of Palm Beach County, Inc. serves all of Palm Beach County except for the island of Palm Beach, which is served by Town of Palm Beach United Way.
It is still true that challenging times such as natural disasters, bring us all together. When a hurricane impacts our community, United Way is one of the first to step up and leverage its partnerships with several other community organizations and businesses to assist residents and nonprofits that are impacted by the storm, as well as invest in long-term recovery efforts. The way these important relationships were leveraged to do the most good in the most impactful way for disaster relief is the same way that United Way collaborates with our community to solve issues year-round. Since 1929, United Way of Palm Beach County as raised and distributed an astonishing total of $316 million that has significantly impacted our community.
To ensure that everyone in Palm Beach County has access to the basics: a quality education, a place to live, financial stability, good medical care, and enough to eat.
To be a community where all individuals and families achieve their full potential. Click here to view our video.
Giving to United Way of Palm Beach County is the best way for you to make a difference in our community. Every gift made to United Way of Palm Beach County is considered an investment in our community, one whose impact will be multiplied when combined with others.
Guiding Principles and Values
The following are guiding principles and values that describe who we are, what we believe and how we behave. It is a combination of who we are today and who we are striving to become: a community leader, collaborative partner, and solutions provider.
Caring: We are about people helping people. We care deeply about the individual lives that are changed with the help of United Way. We care about improving the overall quality of life in the communities we serve. United Way stands for helping, hope and optimism.
Inspiring: Our style of leadership is to encourage and motivate. Others in the charitable community are inspired by our spirit and actions. Our aim is to guide and empower them.
Innovative: We are the leader and catalyst for change in the business of caring. We do not rest on our laurels. We look for approaches that have not yet been taken. We explore alternatives and seek new ways to solve community problems.
Approachable: We understand the importance of being accessible and empathetic to all those we serve. Our local presence and our intimate understanding of community help us build lasting partnerships. We believe great results come from working together.
Trustworthy: United Way sets high standards for its conduct. We must always be above reproach. The contributions that donors and volunteers make through United Way are investments in their communities. They trust us to be effective, efficient and good stewards of these investments.
Dynamic: United Way is energetic and passionate. We tirelessly pursue building stronger communities. United Way is vital and resolute – a positive force for change.
Results-Oriented: United Way holds itself accountable not just for action, but also for results. We are driven by the commitment to make a real difference in the community we serve. We are in the business of solving community problems.
Diversity and Inclusion
Recent events in the U.S. involving violence and threats against Black Americans expose our society’s underlying racism, prejudice, and privilege and prevent too many people from being treated with the humanity and respect they deserve. These incidents are abhorrent and run counter to everything that United Way, its volunteers and professionals value, live and fight for every day around the world. The United Way global network must do its part to make our communities reflect the core values we represent – equitable, respectful, and opportunity-filled. As a network, we must do more to guarantee that the basic human rights and freedoms of every person in every community are protected, today and for generations ahead.
As a member of United Way Worldwide network, United Way of Palm Beach County is committed to the following:
- Develop, maintain, and publicly post an organization position opposing all forms of racism;
- Annually, provide racial equity training for all board members and staff; and
- Develop and use racial equity as one of the criteria in making community investments.
United Way of Palm Beach County is committed to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout our sphere of influence, including the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, affinity groups, partner agencies, and donors. We are implementing the following strategies to enhance our ability to achieve our Mission and Vision:
- Build our organization’s capacity to develop and implement this plan for the long-term. We have created a Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee of the Governance Committee who will monitor the activities supporting this plan; develop appropriate metrics; ensure that Diversity and Inclusion training is provided in our organization and with partner agencies; and provide expert advice and counsel.
- Modify the United Way committees and affinity group charters to incorporate diversity and inclusion in their work, and review the organization’s policies and practices.
- Encourage partner agencies to establish their own diversity and inclusion strategy that supports their mission, as well as United Way’s mission and vision.
A Message from our President & CEO, Dr. Laurie George on Racial Equity
Our President & CEO, Dr. Laurie George serves on the National Equity Advisory Committee with United Way Worldwide. Along with 40 other leaders in social justice, she helped launch United Way Worldwide’s Equity Framework: “Strengthening Our Equity Muscle to Accelerate Impact” to serve as a guiding light for the entire United Way network in this important work. The core principles include a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work; and that local United Ways must be a leader in the fight for equity and strive to create communities where everyone has the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive.
In her personal statement, Laurie shares: “I find myself, a white, middle-aged, educated woman in a community leadership position as CEO of United Way Palm Beach County. I must use my platform to have the difficult conversations with our community leaders to find solutions that eradicate these injustices against our Black neighbors. I must denounce all forms of racism-including structural and institutional racism-always.”