1921 United Way of Pierce County established as  Federation of Social Agencies. Partners included Tacoma Community House, Family Counseling, Red Cross and local churches.

Historic Tacoma


1951 Under Board Chair Fred Osmers of NW Pharmaceutical; $318,000 raised. Boeing Company agrees to participate.$2,484 was awarded to the local Girl Scouts Council.

1956 Under Board Chair Reno Odlin, founder Puget Sound Bank; United Way cracks $1 million mark for first time.  

1950 Tacoma

1973 Loaned Executive (now Campaign Executives) program established with 1 ½ full time employees. Today, United Way of Pierce County has hosted more than 700Campaign Executives including business leaders Melanie Dressel (CEO of Columbia Bank; Bob Drugge (SVP Timberland Bank). Boeing Company has been the single greatest source of LE’s or sponsored LEs (more than 80).

1976 Under Campaign Chair Doug Erwin United Way raises $2 million for the first time.  Local funding priorities included $238,000 to the American Red Cross, a longstanding partner.


1984 Under Board Chair Rick Carr we raised $4 million for the first time. Local Boys & Girls Clubs received $168,000.

1990 John Woodworth (Woodworth & Sons) led campaign that saw record single-year increase. John later served as board chair and chair of our Tocqueville Society, founded in 1996.



1994 With Rick Allen as CEO, & Charley & Barbara Bingham as first United Way co-Chairs. campaign broke $7 million.  

1995 September 30 UWPC moves into its new building, the Betye Martin Baker  Human Service Center.  The building was built with 100% union labor.                                     

1999 Kent Roberts Board Chair and Mark Crisson Campaign Chair; $8.9 million raised.

2000 Early Learning focus introduced under Joanne Bamford (Board Chair).

2003 ABCD program established in Pierce County – A dental program serving low income families in Pierce County.

2006 United Way convenes local early learning experts to form a collaborative and later raises $5M for early learning.

2007 United Way and the early learning collaboration incubates First Five Fundamentals, which serves as a backbone organization along with United Way, to advance early learning in Pierce County.

2008 In a nationwide contest held by United Way Worldwide, United Way of Pierce County tied New York City in rolling out the Live United brand.

2012 United Way of Pierce County was publicly recognized by Dr. Bette Hyde, Director of the State Department of Early Learning, as one of the most influential advocate organizations for Early Learning in Washington State.

Betty Hyde

2013 A new long-term strategic plan is approved that focuses 70% of resources on prevention issues such as early learning and early grade success and still addresses urgent needs such as food, shelter and clothing.

2014 Dona Ponepinto, a United Way Executive with 28 years of experience begins her Presidency at United Way of Pierce County.

2016 Our Centers for Strong Families model is established with two locations in Pierce County.