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.