75 Years of Giving · People · Hope

75 Years of Giving • People • Hope

75 logo

"Lubbock was built on a foundation of capable citizens who have been willing to give their time and energies with only one purpose in mind - to build a better Lubbock." ~ J.T. Talkington, Board of Directors Meeting, March 1957

In 1946, the founding members of Lubbock Area United Way, then known as the Lubbock Community Chest, took on the charge of creating a stronger community. For 75 years, dedicated volunteers and staff have worked together for a larger purpose. Collaborating extensively with local partner agencies, school districts, businesses, government entities and coalitions, they have created an institution dedicated to reconciling social and economic disparities. Since the beginning, United Way has strategically prioritized and funded programs to address the most significant challenges affecting our local population. With a relentless commitment to making things better for each generation, United Way programs support work that attends to the whole person – hunger, education, healthcare, safety and well-being.

Our core commitment has always been to ensure access to basic necessities regardless of a person’s ability to pay for services. Each year our volunteers and staff execute one of the most impactful charitable campaigns in the nonprofit sector. The funds raised here directly benefit families on the South Plains, making it possible for Community Partners to provide their services at low cost, or in some cases, no cost at all. It is often said and bears repeating here; when you give to Lubbock Area United Way you are giving a hand up, not a handout. It’s a small sentiment with a big message – by eliminating the barrier of cost, the potential for human success is multiplied exponentially. Providing affordable access to a service that might otherwise not be obtained is just the first step in Giving • People • Hope

As we look back on 75 years of history, we also look forward. We believe that hope remains the central component to thriving communities, families and individuals. Our commitment is unwavering to the people of the South Plains and to ensuring that every person has the opportunity to live their best life.

HOPE: Lubbock Area United Way's First 75 Years

a short film by Gary Bain/GMAN Creative Visual Productions and
underwritten by the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation

Join Us in Our Commitment to the South Plains

Today is your chance to join us in that commitment to South Plains citizens and communities. Your gift ensures that United Way and our Community Partners can keep working to address needs on the South Plains. Every gift from $5 to $5,000 gives people hope. Every dollar changes lives and works toward breaking down barriers in our communities. We said it many times throughout the trials of 2020 - hope starts in YOU. Make your gift today and bring hope to thousands across Lubbock and the South Plains.


Thank you to our 75th Anniversary Committee Members

Heather Smith, 75th Committee Chair

Gary Bain, Videographer
Amber Dean, Event Co-Chair
Crystal Edwards, 2019 Board Chair
Mark Griffin, 2021 Campaign Chair
Natalie Harvill, Historical Committee Chair
Allison Matherly, 2020 Marketing Chair
Michelle McCord, 2021 Board Chair
Jon Stephens, Event Co-Chair


HOPE: Lubbock Area United Way's First 75 Years

HOPE takes a look back at those 75 years and then looks to the future as United Way and our Community Partners continue to serve thousands of people across the Lubbock area.

Produced by Gary Bain/GMAN Creative Visual Productions Underwritten by the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation

Building a Better Lubbock

In September we released our commemorative publication Building a Better Lubbock.

Building a Better Lubbock is the result of a three-year-long project researching and archiving United Way’s history on the South Plains. Written by board member and 75th-Anniversary Chair Heather Smith and edited by longtime volunteer Norval Pollard, the publication documents Lubbock Area United Way’s 75-year history with special recognition of Community Partners, volunteers, and donors.

Building a Better Lubbock


If you would like a copy, please email us at marketing@liveunitedlubbock.org or call 806.747.2711.


Give to Build a Better Lubbock

Your support makes a better Lubbock and South Plains possible. The challenges we face are not solved in isolation. They take each of us doing our part to ensure not just a better today but a better tomorrow. Our vision for the next 75 years is building a Lubbock that no longer needs a United Way. But as long as we're needed and our Community Partners are needed, you better believe we'll be here. Keeping that commitment depends on you. So join us building a better Lubbock and a better South Plains. Make your gift today.


Video Shorts

The individuals we interviewed for HOPE shared a great wealth of stories and experiences when we visited with them. It was simply too much to capture in one film. Throughout the year, we're sharing additional shorts from the stories they told. 

Vernita Woods-Holmes

Community Planning Council

The Singing Sheriff

J.C. Chambers

Remembering 9/11 with Soloman Fields


Justice Judy Parker on how United Way impacts the courtroom

Irasema Velasquez - A Vision for the Future of United Way

Former Mayor and Campaign Chair Alan Henry


Nelda Thompson, Committed to the Cause

Giving • People • Hope Every Day


Community Partner Logo

In 1946, the Lubbock Community Chest partnered with seven agencies to pool resources and better address needs in the community. From the original seven to twenty-three today, these partnerships ensure that services stretch out across the South Plains and address a wide variety of needs. Together, we're able to address the roots of problems while meeting immediate needs.

This collaboration has perhaps never been more crucial than it has been throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. United Way Community Partners pulled together to provide critical resources and services like food, financial assistance, and child care while continuing to address needs that existed before the pandemic. Due to the support of individuals like you and our local business community, United Way and our Community Partners were in a strong position to address the needs. Because of you, we will continue to be strong far into the future.

boy scouts 1950s

Lubbock Community Chest Founding Community Partners

original agencies


Of the original seven organizations selected to be Community Partners, all but two are still in existence or partnered with United Way. The Lubbock Boys' Club officially became the Lubbock Boys and Girls Club in 1993.

Fun fact: The Red Cross's current location at 2201 19th Street was United Way's first permanent location. The building was purchased in 1956 and the addition was built in 1976. We moved to our current location in 2002.

Original Building

Community Partners

Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas


Learn more about our partnership

Celebrating Communities in Schools on the South Plains

Learn more about our partnership

Celebrating Literacy Lubbock

Learn more about our partnership


Celebrating Children's Advocacy Center

Learn more about our partnership

Celebrating Voice of Hope

Learn more about our partnership

Celebrating Women's Protective Services

Learn more about our partnership

Celebrating the Parenting Cottage

Learn more about our partnership

Celebrating the Volunteer Center

Learn more about our partnership

Celebrating Legal Aid of Lubbock


Celebrating Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lubbock

Celebrating Upbring

Celebrating Catholic Charities

Celebrating Guadalupe-Parkway Neighborhood Centers

Celebrating the Lubbock Children's Health Clinic

Celebrating Family Counseling Services

Giving • People • Hope for Tomorrow

Each year, United Way and our Community Partners impact lives more than 110,000 times across our South Plains communities. Clients represent every demographic and every area of the South Plains. Our commitment is to address the root causes of problems in our communities. Over our 75 year history, these issues have changed as the Lubbock area has developed, and we have no doubt that they will change again in the future.


Our Priorities

Since 2017, our three priority areas have been:

  • Ensuring that all children are school-ready by kindergarten and grade-level readers by 3rd grade.
  • Eliminating child abuse and sex trafficking in our communities.
  • Providing access to all persons in need of mental health services.

Learn more about each of these priorities and what we're doing to address them.

In 2020, we formed a new committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to explore how United Way can enhance these areas throughout our organization and throughout South Plains communities.

Learn more about our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Moving Forward

As we move forward into the next decade, we are invested in addressing the evolving needs of South Plains communities. We believe it is not enough to hammer away at the effects of problems. We must get at the roots and focus on issues where they start. This is the only way to truly affect change.

We're also committed to remaining local:

  • Our board and our staff are all South Plains residents, vested in the community. 
  • We work closely with local government, school districts, the nonprofit community and other local stakeholders to make sure our priorities align with the most pressing issues South Plains communities are facing.
  • Gifts given to United Way are funding local work through our Community Partners.


Invest in the Future

You play a critical role in meeting the needs of thousands of individuals and the work being done to reshape the future of South Plains communities. Your gifts to United Way are invested in programs with a proven track record and measured outcomes. These programs result in changed lives and a changed community. Make your gift today.