Since 1940, Laredoans have recognized the principle of combining many fundraising campaigns as one of the most efficient and effective ways to meet the human care needs of this growing community. The Laredo Community Chest was organized in the mid 1940s and sponsored by community leaders in response to public demand for two things: a unified charity appeal; and an improvement in the quality of services provided. The first campaign raised $59,000, achieved 101 percent of its goal and distributed funds to 6 agencies. It set a pattern for volunteerism as business and professional leaders joined thousands of Laredoans from all walks of life in support of the campaign.
In 1963, a new charter was obtained in order to broaden the membership to include national as well as local charitable causes. As a result of this effort, the United Fund of Laredo came into being. At the same time methods were developed to better analyze and evaluate services provided by charitable organizations. In 1984, the name was changed –from the United Fund to the United Way of Laredo. This was done to change our image from a fundraising organization to an organization that meets the full range of community needs. As the city has grown, so have human care needs, and the demands on the United Way agencies. To meet these needs, the United Way is continually assuming increased responsibilities.
The United Way logo plays a very important part in explaining our organization. At the bottom is a helping hand. The hand symbolizes the services and programs supported by the United Way. The image in the center, the symbol of mankind, is cradled by the helping hand. It shows that all people are uplifted by the United Way. And the rainbow springs from the helping hand, representing the hope of a better life possible through the United Way.