History & Community

Giving Inspired: A Compelling History of United Way of Hamblen County

In 1955, the first United Way Community Campaign kicked off what would become a tradition of generosity and local support. The Board President that year was John Wallace, the Campaign Chairman was Carroll Oakes, and the campaign was successful: exceeding its goal of $69,905 by raising $71,097.


United Way of Hamblen County is an independent, 501(c)3 non-profit organization governed by a local body of elected members that serves as the Board of Directors and appointed Officers. Although they are elected, all are volunteers who receive zero compensation. Board members may be actively working for Hamblen County businesses or retirees serving as Community Volunteers. The purpose of the Board of Directors is to determine how to best allocate funds raised and distribute them where they are needed the most among all agencies that we support.

Contributions to United Way of Hamblen County support 21 health and human service agencies that exist to improve the lives of those who work and reside in the county. Between our United Way and partner Agencies, we utilize and value the dedication of more than 200 volunteers each campaign year! While United Way of Hamblen County will gratefully accept donations throughout the year, the majority of our effort is focused on a single combined fundraising campaign each fall that successfully unites the funding needs of multiple agencies into one appeal.


Your gift to United Way of Hamblen County really is ‘The Best Way to Help the Most People’!


Back in 1955, as the story goes, two Hamblen County community leaders, one a banker and one a businessman, met for lunch. The banker told the businessman it was time for the annual Heart Fund drive and would he like to make a contribution. The businessman told the banker yes. He wrote the banker a check.

Then the businessman remembered the Boy Scouts were having their annual fund drive and would the banker like to make a donation. The banker agreed to contribute and he pulled out his checkbook and wrote the businessman a check.

After all this fundraising talk and the check writing took place, their lunch was cold. The two men decided there must be a better way to meet the needs of all the non-profit agencies than just exchanging checks. These men looked for a way to combine these fundraising appeals and condense them.  The United Way of Hamblen County was founded.

Today’s United Way of Hamblen County combines all those aspects while still remaining completely autonomous and “home grown”.

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