Walter Laidlaw established the United Foundation in 1948 through the merger of the Detroit Community Chest and other Detroit charitable organizations that had traditionally combined fund raising efforts. The goal of the United Foundation was to further centralize those efforts, and to 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 it’s 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 until a final merger with the United Way of Oakland County returned it once more to the title of United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
This collection consists of nineteen scrapbooks from the early years of the United Foundation and it’s predecessor, the Detroit Community Chest. The bulk of the included material consists of forms and correspondence utilized during fund raising campaigns. Other publicity materials are also included, however, including materials from the Community Chest’s Women’s Committee, newspaper advertising, street and car signs, and posters. Of particular note is a large array of fashion advertising from the 1940s, featuring the “red feather campaign” stamp, as well as a variety of wartime posters featuring appeals for donations to both soldiers and the civilians of various war-torn regions.