On an autumn night
more than 90 years ago, the wheels of a
Scranton-bound train carried its passengers home from a Kiwanis Convention
But the wheels were turning inside the old locomotive as well as the
preliminary plans for what would ultimately become the Community Chest,
precursor to the United Way, began to take hold. In fact, Congressman
Charles R. Connell, one of the Convention’s Scranton delegates, went so far
as to say that if the Kiwanis Club successfully inaugurated the Chest
movement, he would personally donate $7,500---an impressive and generous
sum, even by today’s standards, but truly unprecedented eight and one-half
The initial committee included Ralph A. Amerman, Congressman Connell, EJ
Lynett, WJ Pattison and EH Beavers. It was November of 1921 when the first
Community Chest Campaign canvassed this community to raise more than
$500,000 for numerous organizations and programs to help those most in need.
Whether as the Community Chest, Lackawanna United Fund
United Way, this community has a long tradition of rising to the challenge
and supporting our efforts in truly tremendous ways.
Much has changed over the past
90 years, but much remains the same. The
United Way remains committed to its dual role as a grassroots community
problem-solver and fundraiser.