Every day, United Ways Centraides across the country work to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our communities. The issues they face may vary, but the values and driving them are the same, to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action.
1917—The United Way Movement began in Canada in 1917 when charities in Montreal and Toronto started community collectives inspired by similar activities in the United States. In particular, various clergy in Denver were trying to raise money individually to support their community. They started working together in 1887 and realized they could have a greater impact if they worked together to raise and distribute funds. This approach began to be adopted in Canada during the turmoil of the First World War period.
1939—The national office was created in 1939 as a program division of the Canadian Welfare Council. The executive director at that time was Charlotte Whitton, an influential feminist renowned for being one of the first female mayors and companion of the Order of Canada.
1972—The organization’s membership recognized the opportunity to effect greater, more enduring change by taking a broader approach to social policy and development. In 1972, an independent corporate structure was established, with greater resources and capacity for long-term, strategic leadership.
1975—The Community Funds and Councils of Canada formally changed its name to the United Way of Canada.
1976—Centraide Canada was officially added to United Way of Canada’s name.
2003—The United Way Centraide Movement approved a new mission to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing community action.
2011— Today, United Way Centraide Canada is one of just a few comprehensive community organizations in North America, and is the national body representing a Movement of over 100 local United Ways Centraides across the country.