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Neighbors of Kane County

Batavia United Way celebrates 90 years

Batavia United Way evolved from the community based organization Batavia Community Chest. In the late 1930’s concerned citizens of Batavia organized to raise dollars for charitable giving. Every year this group would organize volunteers to canvass every person in the community in order to support the  agencies in existence at that time; Valley Sheltered Workshop, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the USO.

In 1961 the first Board of Directors filed Articles of Incorporation and became the Batavia Community Chest. Those responsible included; J. Maynard Dixon, William Petit, Francis Youssi, Marjorie Brown and Carl Witschonke.  Others who served on the board were; Maurice Anderson, Tom Armesy, Ray Collins, Eleanor Burkitt, Walter Johnson, Stanley Johnstone, Chester Lindgren, William Lisman, Gladys Larson, Mrs. Tom Malner, JB Nelson, Bruce Paddock and Melba Pierson.  In 1968-69 the Campaign Goal was $22,800.

In 1996 the Batavia Community Chest became a United Way of America affiliate. This opened doors to Employee Giving Campaigns that Batavia residents who work outside the community could take advantage of. Caterpillar, Exelon, BP, and Macey’s are just a few examples of businesses not located in Batavia,that offer such programs and in some cases employers match what their employees donate.

From 1981- 2017 Batavia United Way/Batavia Community Chest raised and granted $3,510,740 to 50 area non profits needing support. This does not include 3 years of funding for the Success By 6 Kindergarten Enrichment and Pre-School Scholarships or funds raised for the annual Adopt A Family Holiday Giving Program.

If you are a former Batavia Community Chest or Batavia United Way Board Member, please check in with us at We are planning to honor those who built this organization at a celebration later this year.