United Way of Northern Cameron County History

Over 70 Years of Caring

  • 1940 A community service organization known as The Community Chest is first established in Harlingen during the mid 40's.
  • 1952 The organization is renamed to United Fund of Harlingen. The agency's birth is supported by the local leaders and the first year is one of developing its concept and purpose to aid the less fortunate citizens in our community. 
  • 1953 Frances Hury is approached and asked to serve as the Secretary of United Fund of Harlingen with a Board and Budget Committee. They set a lofty campaign goal of $65,000.00. The official campaign headquarters are located in Harlingen State Bank. 
  • 1960 Due to the growing needs of our community, the campaign goal for United Fund of Harlingen raises above $100,000 for the first time.
  • 1970 To give the organization a national identity, United Community Funds and Council of America adopted a new name and logo. The organization announced on July 13, 1970, that it would change its name from "United Funds and Council of America" to United Way of America.
  • 1973 United Fund of Harlingen adopts the new national name change and becomes United Way of Harlingen.
  • 1980 March 6, fourteen Board of Trustees met at the Central Power and Light Building with Frank Hardin as president. It was on this date that United Way of Harlingen Board voted to include their neighboring towns of San Benito, La Feria, Combes, Rio Hondo, Primera and Santa Rosa. With the expansion of these services, more money is necessary, thus setting this year's goal to $150,697.00.
  • 1983 United Way of Harlingen raises over $200,000 for the first time.
  • 1986 The agency raises over $300,000 for the first time, and experiences another name change. The agency is now known as United Way of Harlingen-San Benito.
  • 1990 United Way of Harlingen-San Benito raises over $400,000 for the first time.
  • 1996 United Way of Harlingen-San Benito raises over $500,000 for the first time.
  • 1997 The agency has it's fifth name change, we are now United Way of Northern Cameron County and long time Executive Secretary, Frances Hury, is named our first Executive Director.
  • 1998 Pledge amounts skyrocket to the amount of $595,285.
  • 1999 After giving 46 years of unselfish service and dedication, Frances Hury retires. Her assistant, Corliss Schoenemann, also retires after 20 years of service. Gayle Welty is named as the Executive Director, and Yvonne Browning is hired as the new secretary. 
  • 2000 Yvonne Browning leaves her position with United Way of Northern Cameron County and Jessica Belschner is hired as the Administrative Assistant to Mrs. Welty.
  • 2007 Gayle Welty retires after 8 years of service and Jessica Belschner is named as the new Executive Director.
  • 2016 United Way of Northern Cameron County purchases and renovates a historic home and moves into their new permanent office at 320 E Harrison Ave.
  • 2020 The world is forced into quarantine due to COVID-19 and the annual campaign drops to record lows.
  • 2021 This year brings many changes to United Way of Northern Cameron County. April, Kathy Preddy, former Board President and current Director of Resource Development, retires after 13 years of employment. August, Jessica Belschner steps down after 22 years of service. Jennifer Allen is hired as the new Executive Director.