Batavia United Way evolved from the community based organization Community Chest. In the late 1930’s concerned citizens of Batavia organized to raise dollars for charitable giving. Every year this group would organize volunteers to canvass every person in the community in order to support the agencies in existence at that time; Valley Sheltered Workshop, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the USO. A grade school student was choosen to be the “Red Feather Kid” as the poster child to represent the best of the community agencies funded.
In 1961 the first Board of Directors filed Articles of Incorporation and became the Batavia Community Chest. Those responsible included; J. Maynard Dixon, William Petit, Francis Youssi, Marjorie Brown and Carl Witschonke. Others who served on the board were; Maurice Anderson, Tom Armesy, Ray Collins, Eleanor Burkitt, Walter Johnson, Stanley Johnstone, Chester Lindgren, William Lisman, Gladys Larson, Mrs. Tom Malner, JB Nelson, Bruce Paddock and Melba Pierson. In 1968-69 the Campaign Goal was $22,800.
In 1996 the Batavia Community Chest joined up with the United Way of America. This was done to better serve the residents that worked outside of the community. Thus becoming The Batavia Community Chest/United Way and later changing its name to the Batavia United Way. The current goal of the Batavia United Way is $150,000.
In the last five years, nearly a half million dollars has been given to area non profit agencies. Every year, Batavia United Way conducts an extensive grant process with each agency looking for grant money. Agencies are interviewed, visited and have their financial records reviewed before any money is given. During 2010, Batavia United Way has committed grant money to 18 area agencies. Follow Batavia United Way on Facebook, or call the Batavia United Way office at 630-877-2780.