In 1887, a Denver priest, two ministers and a rabbi recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. The Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman put their heads together to plan the first united campaign for ten health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to serve as an agent to collect funds for local charities, as well as to coordinate relief services, counsel and refer clients to cooperating agencies, and make emergency assistance grants in cases which could not be referred. That year, Denver raised $21,700 and created a movement that would spread throughout the country to become the United Way. Over 118 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.

History of United Way Tar River Region

The Rocky Mount Area United Way has made a lasting impact in the community for over 50 years. The Rocky Mount Area United Way begin in 1952 with Board president Archie McLean. Mr. McLean was a leader in the community serving on the Nash County Board of Commissioners, Eastern Carolina Council for the Boy Scouts and other community services. In 1952 the United Way was called Community Chest. At that time average payroll deduction was $0.25 per week or $13.00 per year.  In1954 Mr. McLean was reelected president of the Board when the name changed to United Community Services of Rocky Mount part of United Fund. In 1970 with the leadership of W. H. Batchelor, another strong leader in the community, United Community Services was reorganized and adopted the name United Way. In August 2008, the Edgecombe United Fund and the Rocky Mount Area United Way merged. The two entities created the United Way Tar River Region.