Monday, November 11, 2019 | |Login | Search
    You are here:  News

United Way In the News

HISTORY of United Way:

In 1887, a Denver woman, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi (sounds like a joke set up…..but keep reading) recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems. Frances Wisebart Jacobs, 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. More than 125 years later, United Way is still focused on mobilizing the caring power of communities and making a difference in people’s lives.

The United Way of Greater Yankton was founded September 25, 1957, for the purpose of meeting the health, welfare and recreational needs of the greater Yankton community by the development of a program that will be efficient, economical and free from duplication. The program would be financed through a single, annual appeal.

In June 1992, the Yankton Volunteer & Information Center merged with the United Way, and is now known as the United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton, whose mission is to promote voluntary giving and services to support human needs in the greater Yankton area. Besides providing financial support to partner agencies, volunteer recruitment and referral is provided to these agencies and other non-profit agencies community wide.



Annually, the United Way & Volunteer Services Board of Directors review funding requests from local nonprofits and determine a campaign goal to meet partner agency needs, community outreach, and administration costs. The Board of Directors and other community volunteers assist in reaching out to the community for participation and to meet these goals. 99 percent of all funds raised annually, stay local. This year, the Campaign Committee enlisted over 50 volunteers to contact local businesses to enable a wider base awareness and participation.

For increased communication between the United Way & Volunteer Services and partner agencies, quarterly reports are submitted or meetings are held with a representative from each agency and each agency is assigned a liaison. Currently, United Way & Volunteer Services helps financially support over 35 local programs amongst 22 partner agencies.


Volunteerism is a primary objective in the mission of the United Way & Volunteer Services. Individuals of all ages are recruited, referred and placed in non-profit agencies throughout the community. Volunteers are recognized throughout the year with the awards of Volunteer of the Month and the Volunteer of the Year, which is announced at the Community Volunteer Celebration held during national Volunteer Week. Make a Difference Day projects are planned and promoted in October and community volunteer needs are requested through all forms of local media on a regular basis. Volunteers are placed throughout the community based on their skills, talents, and organizational opportunities. We also interview and place court appointed Community Service volunteers.


Community collaboration amongst businesses, agencies, and organizations is an important component to fulfilling the United Way mission. The United Way staff serves on numerous community boards and coalitions to address the ever-changing needs within our community.


  • A public transit program, Yankton Transit, was established in 1996 to assist the disabled, low economic and youth population with transportation needs.
  • Just for Kids, now The Academy, – a before and after school program – was established in September 1998, through the cooperation of business, church, social services and agencies.
  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a free monthly book program for preschool children, whose parents/guardians live or work in the Yankton area, was initiated January 2003. About 650 children are currently registered for this program.
    *  Interagency, a monthly gathering of over 30 local agencies and service organizations is coordinated through the United Way office. This group meets for networking and education through a variety of programming.
    *  Introduced in 2006, the Dakota Smiles Dental Mobile provides free dental care to children ages 0- 21 whose families do not have dental insurance. Annually over 50 local children are screened and treated
  • Partnering with the Yankton Area Literacy Council, The Big Red Bookshelf was introduced to the Yankton community in 2012, providing free gently used books for children ages 0-5th grade.
United Way & Volunteer Services is very proud to be part of the greater Yankton community for the past 57 years, and look forward to continuing the tradition of connecting community needs with caring people. For more information on United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton, contact us at 605-665-6766 or visit
Bookmark and Share

Post Rating