International UW History

Copies of Global Vision and Local Action (the history of United Way International) may be purchased from the UWRA office for $10 plus shipping.  Or ordered from the United Way Worldwide Products Website under Publications.  All proceeds from the sales of these books are contributed to United Way endowment funds. An Executive Summary is provided below.
 

Global Vision and Local Action

The History of United Way International

By Richard N. Aft, Ph.D. and Mary Lu Aft

 
Born, with its incorporation on May 16, 1974, to serve local and national United Way affiliates beyond the scope of United Way of America, United Way International will take a giant step forward in 2009 when it joins with United Way of America to begin an integration and creation of a global entity designed to provide service and leadership to local and national organizations that serve over four billion of the world’s people.
 
From its incorporation in 1974 until 2009 when United Way International joined with United Way of America to form United Way Worldwide, UWI has involved the leadership of nearly one hundred board members and six chief executive officers.   It has responded to calls for help.  It has convened World Congresses and World Assemblies at which affiliates shared the things that they did most successfully, their “best practices.” It has dispatched volunteer mentors, trainers, and consultants who, on their own time and often at their own expense, have reached around the world to share the skills and values that, as United Way’s slogan from bygone years said, “brings out the best in all of us.” 
 
At its zenith, United Way International worked with affiliates in nearly fifty countries and territories.   UWI staff and volunteers supported the creation of many United Way organizations throughout the world and provided programs and services to those and many others.  “Best practices” and a wide variety of approaches to community impact have characterized global and regional conferences and training programs.
 
Diverse Roots Define a Worldwide Movement
· In 1974, United Way of America created UWI as, “the international service arm of the United Way movement.” 
· Ten national United Way organizations that were already in existence formed the organizational core of the new organization.
· UWI’s balance of business and humanitarian values led to unique expressions of value among affiliates diverse programs and structures.
 
Entrepreneurial Milestones Pave UWI History
·Mutual concerns about community-wide fund-raising for social work programs brought representatives of the Central Community Chest of Japan together with their counterparts from the United Way of America in 1972.
·Spontaneity and flexibility characterized programming.
·By focusing on the needs of its affiliates, UWI surmounted periods of turmoil.
 
Unique Strategies to Achieve a Shared Vision
·“Thinking globally and acting locally.” described United Way International’s standard operating procedures.
·Individual national approaches to programs and services shared a common concern for developing community and corporate social responsibility.
· Descriptions of each affiliate makes clear the rich diversity of “world-wideness.” 
 
“Impact” and “Value Add”
·Examples of affiliates “impact” are built on local/national decision-making.
·Examples of UWI programs and services document “value add” to a broad range of constituents.
·Board members and leaders of affiliates share their perspectives.
 
Transformation from Multinational to Global Leadership, Structure and Service
·A 20th Century organization reshapes its presence in the 21st Century.
·Global Standards prescribe a common approach.
·Affiliates, Board Members, Trustees, and Presidents are identified.
 

Global Vision and Local Action documents that the work of this organization and its affiliates have made the world  a better place for the countries, communities, families, and individuals who have been touched by United Way International.  Cheryle A. Wills, 1988 Board Chair put it in this way, “People caring for one another knows no boundaries.”