United Way of Long Island's mission has remained focused on education, financial stability and health for every person in every community since its founding in 1964.
History of United Way of Long Island
United Way of Long Island’s story begins prior to 1964. In 1950, a small group of individuals, led by Leon A. Swirbil, co-founder of Grumman Aircraft Corp., organized the Long Island Industry Labor Fund for hospitals, marking the beginning of the first major private non-profit fundraising effort on Long Island. In 1958, The Long Island Industry Labor Fund changed its name to the Long Island Fund for Commerce and Industry, still serving 40 agencies and hospitals. During 1958-1963, The Long Island Fund for Commerce and Industry grew to serve 43 organizations & hospitals. In 1961, the first discussion related to the United Fund of Long Island to take place. That same year, the seed money for the operation of the United Fund of Long Island was provided by corporate gifts from 7 companies: Franklin National Bank, New York Telephone Company, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., Long Island Lighting Company, Meadowbrook National Bank, Security National Bank and Sperry Gyroscope. The United Fund of Long Island eventually changed its name to United Way of Long Island. Today, United Way of Long Island works with over 100 community partners serving 1 in 3 Long Islanders.
So much has happened in our organization's history that we couldn't resist sharing our most memorable milestones and achievements, and recognizing the people who helped us reach them. Sponsor a year on our Timeline and be part of the change. Honor a loved one, special year or simply support the cause.
View the Timeline
Dig into our archives to discover our history. Check back regularly to see how we've helped Long Islanders over the course of over five and a half decades.
- United Way of Long Island was founded under the name The United Fund for Long Island
- Newsday publishes an article noting our incorporation and status as a 501c3 charitable organization
- Our first luncheon fundraiser took place
- Marketing materials are printed in color
- Our fundraising goal was $1,275,000 to support Long Islanders in need
- Workplace Campaign Brochures in the 1960s had humorous covers
- Workplace Campaign chairpersons were given specific instructions on engaging employees and achieving success
- Leonard Hall is the first Board President of United Way of Long Island (then called United Fund of Long Island) of the law firm Hall, Casey, Dickler & Howley
- A photo shoot from the 1990s featuring children we serve
- Utility company KeySpan (now National Grid) captain training that included some special visitors…youngsters!
- Community Partner Girl Scouts send us a thank you photo from Brownie Troop 1435
- Reviewing plans for United Way of Long Island’s new offices and current headquarters
- A 1999 Planning & Grants Department staff meeting
- Football coach John Madden with children during a 1984 NFL New York Jets TV Spot with United Way
- GEICO kicks off their 1998 workplace campaign with a tropical "vacation"
- United Way of Long Island staff workplace campaign kickoff in the mid-90s
- Film shoot and autograph signing with the NFL's New York Jets and long-time corporate supporter UPS
- The Traveling Hispanic Theatre performed during United Way of Long Island’s Day of Caring at the Smith Haven Mall in 1996
- In 1997 The MarGert Community Corporation worked with United Way to grant more than $26,000 in Project Warmth funds to 133 families in need
- 1986 Balloon Launch to kick off the fund raising season
- Keeping Long Islanders healthy for 55 years
- Longtime employee Betty Eberhardt and Board Member Paul Fleishman join the New York Jets for a 1984 film shoot
- In 1983 volunteers provided support to over 116 hospitals and affiliated Long Island agencies
- 1970: Utility Companies Long Island Lighting Company and New York Telephone raised $394,919 dollars towards United Way’s Workplace Campaign
- United Fund of Long Island, our former organization name from 1965-1973, raises $2,931,674 in 1973. Wow!
- In 1974 United Way of Long Island was named "United Way Nassau-Suffolk
- Project Warmth is created in 1994 to fill the need for emergency heating assistance
- 2010: The 211 Call Center opens to serve Nassau and Suffolk Counties
- 1978: United Way of Long Island is adopted as the organization’s official name
- 1975: Our organization’s growth continues as the executive committee approves the addition of 17 new agencies
- 1985: 20th Anniversary of the first fund raising campaign