Our Mission Statement

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.

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.

Although our name has evolved over the years, our core mission has never changed.

Click here to view 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 improve lives and empower every family to succeed by uniting around education, economic prosperity and health — the cornerstones of a strong, equitable community.


Guided by truth, fairness and equality


Disciplined, unwavering and strong


Answerable, responsible, obliged


Convening, cooperative, active


Committed, focused, involved