The United Way Movement

United Way is a worldwide not-for-profit movement. In Canada, there are over 100 local United Way offices, each registered as its own non-profit organization and governed by an independent volunteer-led Board of Directors. Each United Way works locally to raise funds and invest in improving lives in its community.

United Way has a long history in Canada, dating back almost a century. Over the years, we have been known by many names – among them Community Chest, United Appeal and Red Feather. Throughout, we are proud to have improved lives in over 100 local communities across the country.

Our local United Way history…

1950      Began as Community Chest

                Central Okanagan – First campaign goal of $22,500

1961       Vernon and Area United Way was established

1974       Central Okanagan United Way established

1990+    Vernon expands to include North Okanagan, Columbia, Shuswap (NOCS)

1997       First campaign in South Okanagan/ Similkameen

1998       Central Okanagan expands to include South Okanagan and Similkameen (UWCSO)

2003      United Way CSO – First campaign achievement over $1 million

2019      United Way CSO and NOCS merge to become United Way Southern Interior

2021      Six United Ways merged as a single organization, creating the new United Way British Columbia – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island.


United Way British Columbia serves the communities of the Okanagan, Columbia, Shuswap, Similkameen, Trail and District and East Kootenay. Each year, thousands of residents in this region benefit directly from United Way investments with +90 local charities, which focus on supporting kids, moving people from poverty to possibility and building strong, healthy communities.

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