On Oct. 29, 1942, United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra (UWNNS) was officially created to serve the northern Nevada community, marking Oct. 29, 2012 as the 70th anniversary of the nonprofit.
Created in 1942 as the Reno Community and War Chest before becoming the Washoe United Fund in 1969 and ultimately UWNNS in 1987, the nonprofit has raised close to $100 million dollars to benefit the communities it serves. UWNNS has set a goal in its 70th year to reach the goal of $100 million raised since its inception. To help celebrate this goal, UWNNS established the $100 Million Club and everyone who gives to the nonprofit during the next year will become a “$100 Million Dollar Club” member.
Through its 70 years of service to the northern Nevada community, UWNNS has built itself on creating a foundation of a happy, productive life being made up of three ‘building blocks’ – education, financial stability and health. United Way creates positive, lasting change through the organization’s expertise, capacity and relationships.
Reeling from the impact of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Nevada State Journal published an editorial on Sept. 6, 1942. The editorial demonstrated that time was ripe and of the essence to establish a nonprofit organization providing an avenue to ensure Reno residents’ welfare and well-being.
A committee of existing nonprofit organizations and service groups were enthralled with the concept and development of this new and vital association. The new association would assist in further enhancing and sustaining their commitments designed for the community.
An unprecedented number of people, 46 to be exact, met at the Reno Chamber of Commerce rooms. Their task was to establish the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and appoint the Board of Directors to subsequently launch the Reno Community and War Chest (RCWC), as it was named at that time.
Organizations involved in the conception of RCWC included: the Soroptimists, the National Business and Professional Women, the Reno Business and Professional Women, the Twentieth Century Club, the Juniors of the Twentieth Century Club, United Parent Teachers Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, the Optimists, the Retail Merchants Association, the Kiwanis, the Lions, the Twenty-Thirty, the Exchange, and the Reno Central Trades and Labor Council.
RCWC flowered overnight into an organization shouldering financial problems of Reno’s youth, welfare agencies, and a myriad of integral wartime organizations. To this day, UWNNS continues to make significant headway in education, financial stability, and health of the residents of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe Basin.