The Brief History of

United Way and Your Local Chapter

The United Way was founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1887. Church leaders began the Charity Organization Society which coordinated services and fund raising for 22 agencies. The first fund raising efforts raised $21,700. Multiple Community Chest organizations joined the American Association for Community Organizations in 1918. The number of Community Chest organizations increased from 39 to 353 between 1919 and 1929, and surpassed 1,000 by 1948. By 1963, and after several name changes, the term United Way was adopted.

The Auburn and Cayuga Community Chest originated in 1922 to solicit and disburse monies for charitable and community purposes. It was succeeded by the United Fund of Cayuga County (1956), whose purpose was to continue the improvement and development of health, character, and well-being of the residents of this county. In 1979, the name was officially changed to United Way to promote identification with the National United Way movement. Today, there are over 1,800 United Way organizations reporting over $4.2 billion in contributions worldwide.

Countywide Personal Care Drive, 2019

To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community

The United Way of Cayuga County is committed to improving lives in our community by advancing the common good and addressing the underlying causes of problems. United Way is dedicated to community involvement and focused on creating long-lasting changes that will positively affect today, tomorrow and generations to come.

United Way conducts an annual campaign to raise dollars for agency partner programs through all sectors of the community.




Thomas E. Ganey
Renee Jensen
Mary Beth Leeson
Meg Vanek
Bill Berry
Joanna Bilinski
John Birmingham
Michelle Bowers
Jason Curtis
Bridgette Dautrich
Jacquilyn Dmytrenko
Kim Emperato
Mark Fritz
Jack Hardy
Brian Morgan
Stephanie Leone
Brian Muldrow
Michael Quill, Jr.
Beth Rabuano
Tracy Verrier

Kathryn Dennis

Executive Director

Julisa Stone

Marketing and Campaign Coordinator

Sandy Sheridan

Office Administrator


Through trained volunteers from the community, the United Way provides oversight and executes fiduciary responsibility on behalf of donors. These volunteers comprise the Fund Distribution/Agency Relations Committee which examines community needs and conducts reviews of partner agencies relative to their funding requests. This committee is also involved in helping partner agencies in bettering their management and programming through training, grantsmanship and technical assistance.