Our History

On December 5, 1930, fourteen community leaders filed the Articles of Incorporation for the "Greater Johnstown Community Chest".  As stated in the document, the corporation was formed "to afford the people of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and vicinity, an opportunity, through a common fund, to contribute to, and have expended for, the well-being of their fellows, to strengthen the spirit of human helpfulness, to endeavor to eliminate and prevent disease, pauperism, delinquency and other social disorders; and to finance the maintenance requirements of, and otherwise assist in, and harmonize the work of the civic, charitable, humane, benevolent and philanthropic organizations of the community, and to be the center of communication between such organizations; and for these purposes to have, possess and enjoy all the rights, benefits and privileges of the said Act of Assembly and its supplements".

Today, the UWLH has evolved and expanded into an independent community organization, governed by a board of volunteer directors.  The functional areas of UWLH are:  

  • Serves as the lead annual community-wide fundraising campaign in Cambria and Somerset Counties. Funds are distributed to programs and services targeted to make positive impact on health and human service needs. The UWLH currently utilizes 27 partner agencies to make targeted impact in the community.
  • Serves Cambria County as the lead agency for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program and Department of Agriculture grants that are used for food, housing, and utility needs of low-income families;
  • Serves as the State Employees Combined Appeal (SECA) manager for Cambria and Somerset Counties;
  • Serves the public in Cambria and Somerset Counties as an Information and Referral Services directing people to proper agencies/organizations for service and advocate as needed.
  • Mobilizer for volunteer efforts throughout the communities in Cambria and Somerset Counties, i.e. Day of Action and Day of Caring.
  • By advocating for people in need and the non-profit community the UWLH helps make positive change happen. UWLH can be the voice in helping to advance the common good.
  • Engages the community in a neutral collaborative manner to create positive community impact.

Our Mission

To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community.

The United Way of the Laurel Highlands (UWLH), is an independent, volunteer-driven, community leading organization responsible for creating, expanding, and accelerating positive social change in Cambria and Somerset Counties. Most recently, we have most recently been working to build a framework around shared community goals, collaborative actions, evidence-based outcomes, and investment and sustainability. We evaluate, measure and report to the community the positive change that occurs around targeted social change initiatives. To implement our work we follow our Enhanced Community Impact Model as shown below:


Social Change Initiatives

  1. Early Childhood Education
  2. Parental Engagement
  3. Youth Drug & Alcohol Prevention
  4. Basic Human Needs

Our Goals

The United Way of the Laurel Highlands funds 27 diverse Partner Agencies that come together to solve these complex social problems and provide needed services in Cambria and Somerset Counties. Specific evidence-based programming introduced and/or expanded in Cambria and Somerset Counties to address the Social Change Initiatives are; The Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, and Botvin LifeSkills Training. 

As an independent, volunteer driven, community leading organization, responsible for creating, expanding, and accelerating positive social change, the UWLH has established networks, partnerships, and long-term strategic initiatives to benefit the communities of Cambria and Somerset Counties. Working together, we can move toward achieving a shared community vision, with evidence-based measurable outcomes, that are sustainable. 

  1. Preparing all children socially, emotionally, and academically for kindergarten,
  2. Increasing parental knowledge of child development and care, and,
  3. Prevent substance abuse among our youth.