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United States of America/Catalogs/U.S. voluntary organizations

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The following is a list of national and regional civil society organizations that were founded in the U.S. in the last third of the 19th century or the first half of the 20th century and known initially as voluntary organizations. Many were supported, in whole or in part by the original local federated funding designs first known as Community Chests.

  • American Red Cross [r]: A U.S. group, formed in 1881 by Clara Barton, and based on the Swiss-inspired International Committee of the Red Cross. Among its first initiatives were adoption of the first of the Geneva Conventions protecting war-injured combatants and non-combatants was ratified by the United States Congress, which also chartered the Red Cross, in 1882. [e]
  • Boys Club [r]: Boys Clubs in the U.S. began in 1860 when a group of women in Hartford, Conn organized a club to offer a positive alternative for boys who roamed the streets. A national federation of clubs was organized in Boston in 1906. Boys Clubs of America was chartered by Congress in 1956 and rechartered as Boys and Girls Clubs of America in 1990. [e]
  • Charity organization [r]: A movement to "scientifically organize" and make more rational the distribution of charity originated in Elberfeld, Germany and spread to Great Britain and the U.S. in the late 1870s. Charity organization societies, sometimes also known as Associated charities later became one of the principal bases of the social work profession. [e]
  • Community Chest [r]: A workplace federated funding institution in which worker and company contributions are combined and distributed to nonprofit charities. The first local Community Chest was founded in 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio. There were 39 local Community Chests by 1919, 353 by 1929 and more than 1000 in 1948. In 1963, the name United Way was adopted nationally, although a few local Community Chests remain. [e]
  • Family services [r]: A broad range of counseling, education and support services aimed at children and families: Abuse, adoption, family-planning, family-life education, family therapy, foster care, and counseling directed at such problems as substance abuse, marital problems and work-family problems and many other services are offered. [e]
  • Girls, Incorporated [r]: The Girls Inc movement started in New England during the U.S. industrial revolution as a response to the needs of young women who migrated from rural communities for job opportunities in mills and factories. [e]
  • Jewish Community Center [r]: A general recreational, social and fraternal organization serving the Jewish community in a particular locale (neighborhood, city or region). [e]
  • Neighborhood center [r]: Locality-based service centers, often located in urban, inner-city neighborhoods. Some centers offer specialized programs in arts, education, senior citizens or youths, while other comprehensive service centers offer a broad range of family services, recreation and other services. Some neighborhood centers evolved out of settlement houses. [e]
  • Salvation Army [r]: An evangelical Christian charity and church founded by William and Catherine Booth in 1865 in London and currently operating in 110 countries as a quaisi-military organization with uniformed and ranked "officers", "bases" and "corps", "halls" or "citadels". [e]
  • Settlement movement [r]: An approach to social reform that began in the 1880s in which educated middle- and upper-class reformers lived in inner-city neighborhoods seeking to know, befriend and aid their uneducated, lower-class, immigrant or poor neighbors. Toynbee House (London, 1883), University Settlement (Chicago, 1883), Hull House (Chicago, 1889), Henry Street (New York, 1895) are among the best known of the hundreds of settlement houses formed. [e]
  • Travelers Aid [r]: Supportive service for travelers, immigrants, pilgrims, itinerants and others away from home. Established by the U.S. YWCA in 1894. [e]
  • United Way [r]: A national network of more than 1,300 local federated funding organizations specializing in workplace giving. [e]
  • Urban mission [r]: Religiously based neighborhood and community center devoted to seeking local and community-wide solutions to social, economic and spiritual poverty. Usually found in urban areas, especially inner city areas and offering food, clothing, shelter and assorted other supportive services. [e]
  • YMBAA [r]: Young Men's Buddhist Association of America. Founded by Master Lok To in 1974 for practice and study of the Dharma. The official website of the organization states that the title implies no gender association. [e]
  • YMCA [r]: Young Men's Christian Association. More than 2,600 YMCAs in the U.S. are part of an international movement that began in London in 1844. [e]
  • YMHA [r]: Young Men's Hebrew Association. Based on the model of the YMCA, the first YMHA was established in Baltimore in 1854 to provide aid for Jewish immigrants. [e]
  • YWCA [r]: Young Women's Christian Association. Local unit of an international movement that began in London in 1855 and was first established in the U.S. in 1858. [e]