About United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties-
In 1959 the first United Way fundraising campaign took place in Longview as the Cowlitz County United Fund. The goal of that campaign was $100,000 to be allocated to 12 charitable organizations. That first effort raised $107,069, surpassing its goal by 7%. In ten year’s time, the Cowlitz County United Fund grew by 100%.
Further success and growth were marked in 1981 when under the leadership of Margaret Spence, the local campaign raised $500,000. Support was given to 16 local charitable organizations.
The Cowlitz County United Fund became United Way of Cowlitz County in 1989 with Kay Green at its helm. The organization supported 22 local organizations, and in the coming ten years, would raise over $900,000 a year.
In 1996 Bob Johnson followed Kay Green as the agency’s Director. With that change, the United Way moved to a new “Outcome” based funding system. In 1998 and 1999 the organization raised over $1,000,000 each year.
Today, Kalei C. LaFave is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the local United Way. In 2012 the United Way exceeded it’s $750,000 goal by raising $786,000 allocating it to 23 local partner agencies! Hitting it’s goal for the first time in over a decade. The 2013 Campaign goal is $800,000 in which funding will be allocated in March of 2013 into our communities.
“A million dollars or until we get -” Release Your Inner Hero” campaign 2013 lead by our campaign chairperson Cathy Fox.
The United Way is considered a “full-service” United Way – it is a community problem-solving institution and manages resources to increase the capacity of people to care for one another. United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties impacts our communities by raising and distributing money to local organizations. It also operates, supports or oversees direct services that include the Day of Caring, 211, Early Learning, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and in-kind donations of services and materials.