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United Way of Central Virginia Enhances Regional Quality of Life Through Targeted Community Health Programs

James Black

In 1921, a group of community leaders founded the Lynchburg Community Chest and initially focused on fundraising. However, several years later in 1949 the Junior League of Lynchburg organized and financed a group study on the needs of the community on a year-round basis known as the Lynchburg Community Council, representing 76 health and social service organizations. The council received funding from the community chest, and the two organizations merged five years later in 1954 to become the Lynchburg Chest and Council. In 1957, the joint organization changed its name to the United Fund of Lynchburg before officially becoming the United Way of Central Virginia to reflect its mission of serving the entire Lynchburg region.


The United Way of Central Virginia empowers volunteers, community leaders, businesses, government, education, service agencies, and other members of the community to work together to enhance the quality of life across the Lynchburg region. In 2019, through the generous financial contributions of donors. UWCV impacted 58,161 lives across the region. UWCV’s campaigns are based on three core values: compassion, concern for the misfortune and challenges faced by others in the community, equity, the quality of being fair or impartial, and hope, the reasonable expectation of a better future.


UWCV focuses on four identifiable focus areas to improve quality of life and community vitality, including health, education, income, and basic human needs. First, United Way seeks to improve healthcare accessibility for individuals of all ages and advance health and wellness in the community, as well as addressing barriers that keep members of the Lynchburg region from receiving quality health, including generational poverty, lack of family support structures, and lack of familiarity with basic health services.


Secondly, UWCV has developed a variety of partnerships with organizations across the region with the intention of improving the quality of education for all members of the local community. These partnerships are connected to relevant focus areas, such as school readinessborn learning, the “Sustaining Our Students” backpack program, and Smart Beginnings of Central Virginia.


Additionally, United Way strives to improve financial stability for families across the region through programs that reduce hunger, improve housing, transportation, and job readiness. UWCV’s “Ways to Work” program helped “97 percent of surveyed clients receiving a Ways to Work loan reported improvement in their life and personal expectations,” according to HumanKind, a partner nonprofit in the Lynchburg region.


Lastly, UWCV also targets the basic human needs of community members across the region through their A.L.I.C.E. report, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The A.L.I.C.E report outlines the challenges of individuals and families who earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living, struggling to afford necessities such as food, healthcare, housing, and transportation. The United Way of Central Virginia uses the data supplied by the A.L.I.C.E report to empower its programs to better ameliorate the quality of life for individuals across the region who need assistance.


UWCV works together with a variety of partner organizations, including Corporate Keystone Partners, the Resource Library, and additional partner agencies to make a difference in the quality of life enjoyed by members of the community across the region. The United Way of Central Virginia’s programs, outreach, and events would not be made possible without financial support from members of the community. For more information on how to donate, click HERE.


To view upcoming volunteer opportunities and events, view United Way of Central Virginia’s page on SHARE Greater Lynchburg HERE


The United Way of Central Virginia is located at 1010 Miller Park Square, Lynchburg, VA 24501. You can reach them by telephone at (434) 846-8467, or you can send them an email at