November 2, 2019

Our Story

Inland SoCal 211+ (formerly Community Connect) is a subsidiary of Inland SoCal United Way

Inland SoCal United Way & 211+ Mission

Unite people, ideas, and resources to empower our community and improve lives.

Inland SoCal United Way & 211+ Vision

We envision a caring community, an extraordinary place to live, learn, work, and grow. We work towards this vision by focusing on the education, financial stability, heath and housing of all people in the Inland Southern California region. 

History of Community Connect


1930s: the Riverside Community Council was formed in the time of duplication of services, i.e. NYA, WPA, and County Welfare. In the 1940s it helped the community in wartime through USO, YMCA and YWCA. Records of the Council show the beginning of Community Connect History.


1965/66: Council placed on semi-professional basis by United Fund; first Mental Health Advisory Committee (Short-Doyle Act) appointed by Board of Supervisors; contracted for operation of Project Medicare Alert with Economic Opportunity Board; co-sponsored study of population control with Family Service; co-sponsored study of population control with Family Services; co-sponsored study of Volunteer and Referral agency with Junior League.

1966: Founding of Volunteer Bureau by Junior League of Riverside, Community Planning Council, and United Fund.

1966: Mary Ann Lawson named Executive Director (1966-1973) of the Volunteer Bureau.

1966-67: Volunteer, Referral and Information Bureau opened October 1966. It was housed in the Loring Building at 3691 Main Street, Room 223 in Riverside. Crisis Intervention Service also has given top priority for study and implementation.

1968: HELPline was added as a Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention telephone service available 24 x 7 for the greater Riverside area.


1970:The Volunteer Recognition ceremony was initiated, acknowledging the spirit and service of Riverside’s valued volunteers.

1971: The Community Planning Council and the Volunteer Bureau merged into an agency using both names in the title.

1973: Harriett Olitt named Executive Director (1973-1975).

1973: The Court Referral/Community Service Program was developed involving minor offenders of the law, working by performing community service. Not only serving the community but developing the client as well.

1976: Pat Hardy was named Executive Director (1976-1980).

1976: People Bank, a short term specialized volunteer referral service was initiated. The Language Bank, a referral service for informal translation needs was also initiated.

1977: The Informational and Referral Program was initiated, providing free confidential, bilingual referrals and information on an unlimited number of subjects via an 800 number.


1980: Grace Slocum was named Executive Director (1980-1995) of the Volunteer Center of Riverside.

1983: Volunteer Center of Riverside relocates from Main Street to 2060 University Avenue in Riverside.

1985: The Ombudsman Program is initiated providing services to long-term care facilities throughout Riverside County.

1987: Another edition of the Community Services Directory-The Red Book- is published containing over 590 non-profit social services agencies in Riverside County.


1995: Ned Cooney was named Executive Director (1995-2002).

1995: The Shared Housing Program became a program of the Volunteer Center.


2002: Mary Salvador was named Chief Executive Officer (2002-2008).

2005: With broad community support, he Information and Referral Program receives 211 designation from the California Public Utilities Commission, renaming the program to “211 Riverside County.”

2007: The Resource Center for Nonprofit Management became a program of the Volunteer Center. The Resource Center for Nonprofit Management’s name was later changed to the Nonprofit Resource Center.

2008: Roberta “Bobbie” Neff was named Chief Executive Officer.


2011: On January 18th the name of The Volunteer Center of Riverside County was changed to Community Connect.

2014: Community Connect rebranding to bring 2-1-1 into part of the brand recognition.

2015: Rod Balance named Chief Executive Officer.

2016: Marie Davis named Chief Executive Officer.

2016: Launch of the 211 Community Connect Annual Conference

2019: Community Connect joins with United Way of the Inland Valleys and rebrands 211 Riverside County to the nationally recognized 211 branding. Rebecca Acevedo named Community Connect Director, while Lisa Wright, President and CEO of United Way of the Inland Valleys, is named Managing Executive Director of Community Connect.


2020: On July 1st, Inland Empire United Way merges with United Way of the Inland Valleys, creating Inland SoCal United Way. Community Connect changes it’s name to Inland SoCal 211+.