50 Clinton Ave. Cortland, NY 13045
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1938

On Monday, December 5, 1938 approximately 150 volunteers from this community gathered at 7:45 a.m. at the YMCA for an “Early Bird” Kickoff Breakfast.  Those volunteers took part in the county’s first Community Chest Drive.

The goal was $49,701.  Raymond H. Wiltsie, a Cortland merchant, chaired the first campaign that generated funds to be allocated to seven agencies.  Those participating agencies were: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Day Nursery, Cortland County Hospital, Salvation Army, YMCA and YWCA.

“In Cortland We’re Partners” was the slogan for the drive.

Each contributor received a 2 inch bright red feather they would wear conspicuously throughout the drive.

The campaign ran five days and at the victory celebration dinner on Friday $45,058 had been raised.

The Community Chest annual fundraising campaign becomes a permanent fixture in Cortland County. In 1957 the organization would change its name and become the United Way for Cortland County.