The History of the Red Feather

"It’s a Feather in Your Cap!”Red Feather Community Chest

Our local United Way chapter was officially born on December 17, 1941 in a meeting room at the old Hotel Kankakee - ten days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Originally named the Community Chest of Kankakee, our early United Way founders envisioned a better future for our community through support for beneficiaries called “Red Feather Agencies.”

The feather signified good deeds and voluntary giving to meet human needs. Feathers remained a symbol throughout the earliest years of our local history, and we’ve named our Leadership Giving Society levels in honor of these early efforts.

Want to learn more about our local history?

CLICK HERE to listen to our Walk Through the Decades podcast, available through Youtube. This audio and video playlist was created in celebration of our 80th Anniversary Celebration, hosted in the fall of 2021.