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Why United Way?

Our mission:

To unite the good will and resources of the Greater Rochester community so that everyone can thrive.

A Century of Commitment to our Community

United Way addresses critical challenges by connecting local people in need with evidence-based programs, strategic funding investments, community initiatives, volunteer support and community leadership to direct resources and solve problems.
Rochester is one of the most generous and caring communities in America. We work together to create real, meaningful impact for the most vulnerable members of our community. United Way is leading this charge with the support of donors, our business community, local leaders, program service providers, volunteers and community members.

Looking Back

Nearly 100 years ago, George Eastman and local leaders created what you know today as United Way of Greater Rochester. In 1918, our community’s War Chest brought together many different agencies that were doing similar work to share in one large appeal to help people in need. While our role in the community has changed throughout the years, the legacy continues on: United Way brings together the resources of thousands of individuals and organizations to make a difference for local people in need.

Looking Forward

United Way’s vision is to unite a community where diverse organizations and individuals share their strengths to drive sustainable change that advances the common good. We will continue to build on our foundation of community generosity coupled with strategic partnerships and program investments to improve lives across our community.
The organization is also emerging as a community convener at a time when Greater Rochester is evolving and reinventing itself. United Way sits at the center of the private, public, philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors. It is uniquely positioned to bring everyone to build true community impact solutions that addresses our most devastating community challenges like poverty, abuse, neglect, failing students, struggling elders, hunger and more.

The Community Fund

United Way Community Fund investments focus on prevention, early intervention and the application of best practices to create a significant impact for local people in need. Community Fund programs provide a regional network of support services and safety-nets to help people across all walks of life and levels of need. As the Community Fund grows, so will United Way’s ability to move the needle on solutions to our community’s most critical challenges.

Poverty is consistently at the center of Greater Rochester’s most “wicked problems”. As our community works together to combat the devastating effects of poverty on families and individuals, resources and the local economy, United Way’s community impact efforts support programs and services that impact existing and emerging needs so that everyone can thrive.

Tens of thousands of local people donate millions of dollars each year to the Community Fund, entrusting United Way to make a lasting impact of change and improvement for our community today, and for generations to come.

United Way’s Investment Process

United Way revised its investment approach in 2008 to better address community needs through a focused, strategic funding process. The organization convened hundreds of community members, subject matter experts, community investment volunteers, service providers, people impacted by poverty and those needing services to provide insight about Greater Rochester’s most daunting health and human service issues.
Community input focused on four major areas of impact and need—helping people meet their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing so they can focus on addressing other major life concerns; giving babies a healthy start to life with support for new parents; setting students on a path for success in school, work and life; and supporting our aging population and those who are caring for elders locally.
Addressing poverty-related challenges and providing inclusive services for people with disabilities are overarching standards throughout all community impact strategies and investments.

Positive Results, Lives Changed

All programs and initiatives supported by United Way’s Community Fund donations are monitored, measured and evaluated regularly to confirm they’re achieving positive results for our community and local people in need.
United Way organizes learning circles to share best practices among program providers, and evaluates its Community Fund investments in two ways:

  • Program-level measurements to ensure results are meeting the needs of the people they serve.
  • Community-level assessments to make sure key issues and challenges are addresses holistically.

Regional Partners

United Way of Greater Rochester partners with local United Way’s across the region on key initiatives, community outreach, donation processing and administrative support. United Way regional partners serve communities in surrounding Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Wayne and Wyoming counties.


Join us!
Help us make our community a better place and give to United Way of Greater Rochester today by clicking here.