Combining forces to solve community issues has always been the driving force at United Way of San Diego County. Since forming in 1920, when it was known as the Community Welfare Council/Community Chest, United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) has been an agent of change, and that spirit of transformation continues to this day. For ten decades, UWSD has aligned partners toward common goals and leveraged shared resources to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of local children and families.

Back in 1920, E.B. Gould, the nonprofit’s first leader, combined a passion for helping others with a business leader’s instincts. He and other civic leaders were determined to find innovative ways to coordinate charitable activities and eliminate multiple fundraising appeals while evaluating and improving the quality of services. That multitasking, visionary approach remains to this day.

“Since our inception, UWSD has worked in alignment with partners to address inequities in our region and help underserved communities,” United Way’s current President & CEO, Nancy Sasaki shared with GB Magazine. “The challenge we face is identifying the sustainable, long-term goals we want to achieve and reaching them together, with our partners. Our work leverages the use of data and our partners’ expertise to better understand root causes and put impactful solutions into action. Along with our partners, we use shared goals, innovation and proven practices to transform the lives of children, young adults and families.”

Next year’s centennial celebration incorporates a theme of diamonds: due to their rarity and scarcity, the fabled gemstones not only hold their value, but increase over time. A diamond’s inherent qualities – unbreakable, sustainable, great value despite their size – reflect United Way’s small but mighty efforts to coordinate and support multiple facets of the San Diego Community.

To celebrate its 100-year “Diamond” Anniversary in 2020, UWSD will host a series of monthly events and activities showcasing ten decades of dedication and the successful partnerships forged over those years. “Some of San Diego’s leading community service organizations had their beginnings at United Way,” Sasaki continues. “This is as much a celebration for them as it is for us!” Those organizations include 2-1-1 (as InfoLine), LEAD San Diego, Regional Task Force on the Homeless, The Children’s Initiative, Nonprofit Management Solutions and the San Diego Foundation (UWSD was a key partner in the foundation’s beginnings).

Some highlights of the monthly activities include Read Across America/Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (March), Day of Service (June), and Back to School Readiness (August/September), culminating in an inaugural gala in October 2020.

To learn more about the centennial and the plans leading up to the gala, visit United Way of San Diego County’s website at