Our Background

The United Way was born from the idea that we can do more together than we can apart. The United Way concept in Lethbridge & South Western Alberta has roots dating back to as early as 1941 when it began as the Community Chest.

The Community Chest was organized by a group of citizens in effort to curb the multiplicity of requests for funds which came after the outbreak of the Second World War. There seemed to be a different fund for every month of the year and it always seemed to be the same band of hardy volunteers carrying the workload.

Early in the war, Lethbridge Mayor D. H. Elton called a meeting of representatives of the Legion, the Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce), the service clubs, labour and other organizations, which had been active in raising funds, together with the Red Cross, War Services Organizations, and other groups who needed funds to carry out their work. The goal was to save time, energy and money by running one strong fundraising campaign together.  

Headed by lawyer R. R. Davidson, the first campaign in 1941raised $56,067. Despite being a time of war and worry, people were very generous and the Community Chest was off to a good start.

All those years ago, Southern Albertans opened their hearts and reached out with love and compassion. They recognized the fundamental human need to care about one another. The same need is at the core of the United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta’s mission statement:

“To build a better community, by organizing the capacity of people to care for one another”.

Our purpose is to help our community gather the resources it needs to thrive. We work with direct donors and we also run workplace campaigns and special events throughout the year. Non-profit organizations in South Western Alberta apply for funding grants annually and the support we collect is divided and distributed among them.

Your donation to the United Way can be designated for a particular charity. If you have no preference, it is applied to our Community Fund and supports a variety of human service agencies in the area. Click here to see which organizations will be receiving funding this year. As we process more and larger donations, we can be more efficient in creating cost savings in administration for the organizations that we fund. Learn more about how we operate here.

The organization you know as the United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta, is part of the United Way - Centraide Movement. It is one of 119 member organizations across Canada. It operates as a legally constituted and incorporated Registered Charitable Organization within all relevant local, provincial and federal laws. It complies with all operating and reporting requirements. United Ways operate autonomously of each other and are governed by a local volunteer board of directors. Get to know our board by clicking here.

The area served by United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta extends from the B.C. border east to highway 36 including Taber and Vauxhall and from the U.S. border north to Claresholm.