The Aberdeen Community Chest originated on February 10, 1932, with 5 charter members signing the Articles of Incorporation. The purpose of the organization was to aid and assist local agencies by soliciting contributions for charitable purposes. It was decided the organization would exist for 25 years. The initial campaign raised $22,175 for familiar agencies such as the YMCA, YWCA, Boy & Girl Scouts, The Salvation Army, and the Red Cross.
In 1967, the Community Chest became affiliated with the United Way of America becoming Aberdeen Area United Way. The name was then changed to the Brown County United Way in 1970. The name was changed again on May 19, 1999 to the United Way of Northeastern South Dakota. This name change was considered necessary as the area which United Way of NESD and its member agencies service and solicit has broadened through the years.
From its inception until 1976, the organization was run primarily with volunteers. In 1976, the first part-time director was hired. The first full-time director was hired in 1985. The office now staffs two full-time individuals. The organization still depends on the assistance of volunteers. At this time, over 200 dedicated volunteers help conduct the annual fund drive. Without these dedicated individuals contributing their time and talents, the United Way of NESD would cease to exist.
The annual campaign is conducted every fall from September to December. Funds raised during the campaign are distributed to 16 health and human service organizations in northeastern South Dakota.
The programs required to serve the ever growing needs of northeastern South Dakota are expanding every year and require funding. The more funding United Way can provide to each agency, the more time these agencies are able to dedicate to the programs made available to those in need.