President Franklin D. Roosevelt launches the campaign "Be a Good Neighbor." Volunteers are featured the newspaper and time donated is recognized as just as important as the money some give. 400 solicitors cover the city. Each is responsible for a block or two. Hospitals put on separate solicitation for funds. State is fifth in WPA (Works Progress Administration) rolls. Goal is to shift 14,000 men from relief to work rolls. 


McInerny Spring and Wire plant burns. 1,100 lose jobs until the plant is rebuilt. 

Impressive parade kickoff. 12 bands, including the Ford Bagpipe Band from Detroit, and floats dramatize Community Chest work. Chest exceeds goal for the first time in 13 years. 


Canadian Pacific liner "Empress of Britain" is sunk. Greece declares war on Italy. Federal Food Stamp Program is started. 

M.R. Bissell, Jr. receives the Honorary Membership Award. Three hospitals return to the Chest to eliminate the need for extra drives for funds. Pledges can be paid by installment or by deduction from checking accounts.


Steel strike causes major economic challenges. Escalators installed in Herpolsheimer's Department Store. First jet airplane lands at the airport. First Meijer supermarket opens in Grand Rapids. 

Labor groups endorse the Chest Campaign and form a participation committee. 


Korean War begins. Chevrolet makes millionth auto in U.S. 

28 agencies are included in Red Feather Services. Kent United Health and Welfare Fund is organized and joins the statewide organization. Campaign includes Associated Services to the Armed Forces. 


United Campaign includes Community Chest, Red Cross, USO, United Defense Fund, and United Health and Welfare Fund. "One hour pay per month" is sought as a pledge from every wage earner. 800 women volunteers cover the entire 12 city districts of Grand Rapids. The campaign is officially started by a blast from the city's curfew whistle which legend says came from and old ocean steamer. "Big Horn for Big Campaign" is the slogan. 

$1,000,000 milestone. 


Area polio caseload is up 50 percent over 1953. Doctors believe that the Salk vaccine may be a success across the U.S. New Neighborhood Business division organized. 

American Seating executives pledge to lose their ties if the company doesn't make its goal. Brilliant fireworks show opens drive. 9,000 people watch helium balloons carry special display 150 feet into the air. Agencies aid 54,307 Kent County families. 


Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) has a heart attack. 

"Ike" supports United Drive campaign with recorded messages broadcast over all radio and TV stations. Girl Scouts volunteer to paint campaign drive signs on sidewalks in the city. Army of campaign volunteers number 8,000. 


Kickoff parade, fireworks, and an Infantry Assault Group demonstration made up of all units of the Grand Rapids 70th Reserve Infantry Division highlight the start of the campaign. Two additional agencies added for a total of 63. An alcohol clinic located in the cottage ground of the Sunshine Hospital funded by the city treats 510 people in a successful first year.


Pope Pius XII dies at age 82. The Salvation Army marks 75th year here with new hospital and men's unit. 

Door-to-door drive in East Grand Rapids is done with "lights on." Banks in the community offer to do a monthly deduction from willing customer accounts in order to spread gift over a year. A lengthy series of articles is published: How the Community Chest Serves.


Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev coming to world summit with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Steel strike causes the layoff of 200,000 people at General Motors. Auto production faces complete halt. 

High school students build floats for kickoff parade, traveling from Michigan to Jefferson on Monroe Avenue. Companies reporting increased giving over last year in spite of the layoff of 2,200 local General Motors workers.