United Way organizations around the country trace their history to the formation of Denver’s Charity Organization Society in 1887. Subsequently, United Way as we know them today evolved in the ’20′s, ’30′s, and ’40′s, when business and labor leaders joined together to conduct a single, efficient, workplace fund-raising drive, thus reducing the number of charitable appeals and answering the employees’ and employers’ desire for a single community campaign.
There are more than 1,400 independent and autonomous United Ways in the United States. Regardless of the size of the community or staff, each United Way is incorporated in its own community as a charitable organization that is tax exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, governed by a board of volunteers.
The United Way of Southwest New Mexico was formed in 1957 with the first president Russell Poole, and first campaign chair, Bill Johnson. The first fund drive raised a total of $48,577, exceeding the $47,000 goal. There were five (5) participating agencies: American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, New Mexico Boys Ranch and Girl Scouts.
United Way of Southwest New Mexico has had a few different names over the last 50 years. The first name was United Campaign of Doña County. From 1974-1985 the name was changed to United Way of Doña Ana County; during that time United Way hired the first Executive Director, Lt. Col. Ret. Donald Buck. Mr. Buck led the organization for the next 20 years very successfully, which increased the area served. The name needed to reflect that success. The name now reflects the area we serve, United Way of Southwestern New Mexico