The Community Chest was designed to eliminate duplication of effort for Springfield charitable organizations. J. M. Quinn was elected the first board chairman of the Community Chest. Seventeen local organizations found support through the Community Chest, including, the Salvation Army, YMCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the Red Cross.
The campaign was known as the Community Chest—Red Cross Campaign. Later Campaigns were known as the United Appeal and the United Fund.
A permanent organization, United Fund, was formed with a newly elected board of directors representing both donors and member agencies.
United Fund changed its name to United Way of the Ozarks to reflect the regional emphasis and responsibilities of the organization.
A unique partnership formed in 1994 between the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way of the Ozarks. The board of directors of both organizations agreed to support a combined capital campaign which would provide the first building owned by United Way and enable the Chamber of Commerce to build a new building.
The campaign was a success, and a new structure named the “John Q. Hammons Enterprise Center” was built for the Chamber of Commerce. The previous chamber building was titled to United Way debt free, including furniture and fixtures.
On June 12, 1996 the building at 320 N. Jefferson Avenue was dedicated as the “Clarence R. Wheeler Center” in appreciation to the principal donor and commitment to the mission and work of providing a better quality of life for this and future generations in the Ozarks.