United Foundation Office of the President Records

Accession Number: 
UR002536
Extent: 
31 linear feet (31 SB)
Date: 
1953-1989, bulk 1960-1980

Walter C. 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 association 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 Office of the President was responsible for overseeing and directing the various departments within the United Foundation. As the founder of the United Foundation, Walter C. Laidlaw served in this office from its inception in 1948 until his retirement in 1968. Upon his exit, H. Clay Howell succeeded Laidlaw as President of the United Foundation.

The United Foundation Office of the President Records consists of materials from the tenures of both President Walter C. Laidlaw and President H. Clay Howell. Records within the collection are mainly derived from the various committees and subcommittees within the United Foundation that were overseen by the Office of the President. The collection includes materials from the United Foundation Special Study Committee, the Priorities Subcommittee, the Capital Fund Division Campaign, the Long Range Planning Committee, New Detroit Inc. committees, and others. Additional materials consist of annual meeting information, Board of Directors materials, United Way branch information, and other various general files pertaining to the Office of the President.

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