Rappahannock United Way has been an integral part of our local community for over 75 years. RUW was formed in 1939 as the Community Care Fund: a voluntary community organization intent upon raising and distributing charitable contributions to benefit the community. Since then the organization has grown and evolved to meet the needs of our community. Thousands of volunteers have given their time through Rappahannock United Way to improve the social and economic well-being of residents in Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties and the city of Fredericksburg.
Incorporated in the state of Virginia, Rappahannock United Way is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), charitable organization, recognized by the IRS as a tax deductible charity.
The Community Fund - 1939
C. O'Connor Goolrick served as the first president of the Community Care Fund. Other officers were John L. Pratt, Vice President and Cecil L. Reid, Treasurer. Member agencies were Salvation Army, Mary Washington Hospital Charity Fund, Nursery School, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Children's Home Society. The budget that first year was $15,000.
Becoming Rappahannock United Way
In 1962, under the leadership of Lemual Houston, the organization changed its name to United Givers Fund of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania. The budget that year was $52,909. With the United Way name becoming prominent nationally, its name was changed to Rappahannock United Way in 1977 under RUW President William H. Ledbetter, Jr. That year, $180,433 was raised to support local agencies.
Making an Impact
In 2009, RUW began the process of becoming a Community Impact United Way. To make this transition, RUW turned to our community to learn about the needs and goals of the Greater Fredericksburg region in the areas of Education, Income and Health. Our Community Impact Task Force determined specific strategies to address local needs, and from that RUW created 10 outcomes that we need to achieve in our area in order to address the root causes of poverty. These outcomes currently serve as our funding and programming priorities.
Since establishing those priorities, RUW has developed a funding approach that relies on measurable outcomes. Each funded agency must demonstrate that their program is having an impact in our community. This approach ensures that we are investing our donor dollars in the programs that will have the greatest impact in the community.
ALICE® in Virginia
The United Way ALICE Project is a collaborative effort between United Ways throughout Virginia to improve the lives of vulnerable, financially challenged ALICE households. The first ALICE Report was completed in Morris County, New Jersey in 2007and expanded to the whole state of New Jersey in 2012. There are now 15 state ALICE Reports representing one-quarter of the U.S. population.
By Virginia United Ways joining other participating United Ways across the country, we are working together to develop wider strategies to remove obstacles and change the course of this economic crisis in our communities. This effort is stimulating a fresh understanding of United Way, galvanizing new partnerships with funders, politicians, and the wider community.
The ALICE Report for Virginia presents the latest ALICE data available – a point-in-time snapshot of economic conditions across the state. Rappahannock United Way participated in its first ALICE Report in 2017, with the 2020 Virginia Report being the most recent and during an unprecedented crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, Rappahannock United Way provided financial assistance to more than 600 local households - paying mortgage, rent and transportation bills to keep ALICE individuals and families safely housed and at work. Together, we continue to Respond, Recover, Reimagine and Rebuild to create a community that is hopeful, resilient and self-sufficient.