What is United Way of Rockbridge?

Our Mission:

United Way of Rockbridge takes a leadership role in improving the quality of life of the people in the Rockbridge area by assessing needs, raising and allocating funds, and ensuring the appropriate use of those resources by the community.

Our History:

The United Way movement traces its roots to a joint effort by community leaders in Denver to raise funds for 22 local charities. Many similar groups sprang up across the US and Canada, using names such as Community Chest. By 1963 they joined forces to set up a parent United Way organization to provide common branding and training for what are today 1,800 locally organized and locally operated non-profits in 40 countries.

This long North American tradition of community-based fundraising for community-based non-profits spread to the Rockbridge area in 1950. At the start our local United Way raised only $20,000 for a handful of local groups. Over the past 65 years UWR has grown serve Rockbridge County and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington. Over the past 62 years, UWR has raised $3,700,000 for local organizations that serve people in our area. Funds raised during out 2016 Annual Campaign will be used to provide grants totally approximately $150,000 to 19 local non-profits in CY2017.

As a community-based non-profit 99% of the money we raise stays in our community. We are one of 31 United Ways located in Virginia, with whom we cooperate for fundraising from companies that operate in multiple communities.

How do we do it?

  • Fundraise and provide support your local support agencies.
  • Allocate donated funds to local agencies.
  • Hold local support agencies accountable for tangible results.

How can I help?

  • Volunteer
  • Donate

About Mike Smitka

Professor of Economics, Washington and Lee University. I follow the Japanese economy and the automotive industry, particularly suppliers and innovation. As a liberal arts college prof I am conversant with a range of macro and micro topics, including 25 years of teaching about the Chinese economy. My Japanese is good; I read it almost as quickly as English. I get by in German, and can work through things in Chinese and Russian. Outside of my teaching in the economics department at Washington and Lee University, I'm currently the acting program for East Asian Studies, a member of the American Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation, a judge for the Automotive News PACE supplier competition, the secretary-treasurer of the EMBA Foundation, the treasurer of the Washington & Southeast Japan Seminar, and the President of the Board of the United Way of Rockbridge. I blog several places, sing in a couple local choral groups, and am active at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lexington VA.
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