Our Mission

To mobilize the caring power of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan to improve communities and individual lives in measurable and lasting ways.

Our Legacy

In 1887, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, the Rev. Myron W. Reed, Msgr. William J.O’Ryan, Dean H. Martyn Hart and Rabbi William S. Friedman created the nation’s first united campaign, benefitting 10 area health and welfare agencies. The organization collected funds for local charities and coordinated relief services. That year, Denver raised $21,700, and created a movement that would become United Way.

In 1917, the nonprofit, known then as Detroit Community Union, served as our region’s first unifier — convening the power of public, private and nonprofit partners to better serve our community.

For more than 100 years, we’ve responded to the community’s most pressing challenges around children and family, health and the community. Honored with a symbolic or actual “torch drive” each year, our annual campaign has brought thousands of companies and individuals together for a common cause: supporting our Southeastern Michigan communities.

In 2005, United Way Community Services and United Way of Oakland County evolved and voted to create a new organization: United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

And in 2017, we celebrated A Century of Living United — our organization’s 100th anniversary.

Although our name has evolved over the years, our core mission to positively impact the community through collaborative effort has never changed.

Our History

Our Guiding Principles

We Live United for universal success and prosperity in Southeastern Michigan. To that end, we work with public, private and nonprofit partners to help families become stable and ensure children have the support they need to thrive.


Community-oriented, impact focused, accountable to households, children, stakeholders, and staff, with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Equity and Inclusion

Committed to practices that disrupt unfair systems and provide access to opportunity for all.


Focused on continuous and active partnerships.


Taking the lead, challenging the status quo, focused on continuous improvement.

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