Lubbock Area United Way celebrates 75 years
By Glenn Cochran
Published in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
July 21, 2021
In just over a month, Lubbock Area United Way will mark 75 years of helping people in our community and the surrounding area. One short year after the end of World War II, on Aug. 28, 1946, the Lubbock Community Chest was officially established. A group of civic leaders and visionaries recognized the need for a single combined effort to help support nonprofit organizations that were addressing the needs of local citizens.
Between 1940 and 1950, Lubbock’s population more than doubled. The 1950 census was recorded at 71,747. During the decade when the Community Chest was formed, Lubbock was the second-fastest growing city in the United States. Our community is more than four times as large as it was then, but the purpose remains the same — addressing the needs of local citizens.
Our community is more than four times as large as it was then, but the purpose remains the same — addressing the needs of local citizens.
In 2021, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of what has evolved into Lubbock Area United Way. We articulate the mission differently today, Giving ∙ People ∙ Hope, yet our United Way remains as relevant, if not more so, than it was during its humble beginnings in 1946. The conversations we have today around overcoming our collective challenges are similar to those had by our founders in 1946.
In the first fundraising campaign, conducted in just one week during November of 1946, individuals and businesses contributed $90,640 to help support seven local nonprofit organizations. Since that time more than $193 million has been contributed with some recent annual campaigns topping $6 million. Lubbock Area United Way now helps support 23 Community Partners and more than 100,000 people annually.
There are far too many individuals who have contributed to United Way’s great success over 75 years to recognize individually. Countless volunteers have given endless amounts of time, effort, and dedication to serving the people of the South Plains. There have been many champions of the cause and heroes who have never shied away from doing the heavy lifting.
It is especially important to thank all those volunteers and employees of our Community Partners. Day in and day out, for these past 75 years, they are the people who have delivered a wide variety of services and assistance to those who need our collective help.
While combing through the archives to piece together 75 years of history, the most poignant description of this great organization was noted in the minutes of a 1957 Board of Directors meeting. J.T. Talkington said, “Lubbock was built on a foundation of capable citizens who have been willing to give of their time and energies with only one purpose in mind — to build a better Lubbock.” That statement describes the value of our United Way perfectly.
J.T. Talkington said, “Lubbock was built on a foundation of capable citizens who have been willing to give of their time and energies with only one purpose in mind — to build a better Lubbock.” That statement describes the value of our United Way perfectly.
A short film, "HOPE: Lubbock Area United Way’s First 75 Years," has been produced and chronicles United Way’s history. It is well worth the time to view at liveunitedlubbock.org/anniversary.
As we go about gathering the resources that are needed to continue our mission for another year, we do it with a renewed sense of purpose and pride and a conviction to United Way’s ongoing relevancy on the South Plains. Thank you for joining Lubbock Area United Way in celebrating 75 years of Giving ∙ People ∙ Hope.
Glenn Cochran is president and CEO of Lubbock Area United Way.