The UNA-USA was formed in 1964 when the  American Association for the United Nations, a group of prominent citizens who promoted the Dumbarton Oaks proposals in the 1940s, merged with the US Committee for the United Nations, a group of 138 national organizations that supported the work of the UN.

In 2010, UNA-USA formed a strategic alliance with the UN Foundation (UNF). The UNF and its sister organization, the Better World Fund, were created in 1999 with Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift. Today, UNA-USA, a national network of more than 120 chapters, is a program of the United Nations Foundation. Together, UNA-USA and the Better World Campaign represent the single largest network of advocates and supporters of the United Nations in the world.


Several Boulder residents remember an early UNA-USA chapter in Boulder that began around 1964 and existed for a few years. John Porritt, who spoke at the chapter’s January 2006 Annual Meeting, as well as Bruce MacKenzie, remembered this short-lived chapter. Even without a local chapter in Boulder County, UN Day celebrations continued in the city of Boulder in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, organized by members of the national UNA-USA, the League of Women Voters, and other concerned citizens; Maxine Hitchcock, Cathy Wrenn, and Bruce MacKenzie were among the several leaders of these efforts. At the 40th birthday celebration in 1985 Susan Markham, a New Zealander working in the UN Public Information Agency, spoke on the Decade for Women, the International Youth Year, and other issues. In 1986 the Daily Camera in Boulder reported that the UN Day celebration featured Dr. Francis Bretherton, from NCAR, speaking on “Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.”

The Boulder County Chapter was formed in the mid-1990s at the suggestion of Prof. Ved Nanda of the University of Denver, then president of the Colorado Division of UNA-USA. Preparatory meetings in 1995 led to the identification of officers and directors, and adoption of bylaws. The first board meeting was in 1996. In 2003 the chapter acquired financial stability when the group Gatekeepers to the Future, a nonprofit associated with First Congregational Church of Boulder, ceased operations and gave the chapter their remaining funds.

The Boulder County Chapter, as other levels of UNA-USA, combines broad grass-roots outreach with high-level policy studies involving scholars and government officials from many parts of the world, Chapter members provide information and educational materials for their representatives in the US government, the general public, and the media.