United Foundation Operations Department Records

Accession Number: 
UR002535
Extent: 
36.5 linear feet (36 SB, 1 MB)
Date: 
1962-1993, bulk 1979-1992

Walter Laidlaw established the United Foundation in 1948 through the merger of the Detroit Community Chest and other Detroit charitable organizations. The goal of the United Foundation was to centralize fund raising efforts and generate mass fund raising campaigns, such as the Torch Drive, which was first held in 1949. The United Foundation was closely affiliated with the United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit, and became affiliated with the national United Way organization beginning with the United Way’s conception in 1970. The organization retained the name United Foundation until 1989, at which time it changed its name to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan to better reflect its associated with the national United Way. It was known as such until its merger with the United Community Services in 1995, at which point it became known as the United Way Community Services. The United Foundation’s Operations Department administered the internal operations of the United Foundation, including daily operations, communications between departments, and initiatives to improve the internal operation of the Foundation, rather than its relationship with community agencies and other external agents.

The United Foundation Operations Department Records consists of correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, forms, evaluations, and other paper materials documenting the operational functions of the United Foundation and many of its component departments. The materials span the tenures of two Operations Department directors, John E. Hall and James A. Ridge, with the bulk of the materials relating to the department under the direction of Ridge. The collection contains reference files on United Foundation agencies and initiatives, as well as materials relating primarily to the organization’s Administration and Communications Departments.

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