The Legacy of Jim Casey, Founder of UPS
James (Jim) E. Casey was a visionary who revolutionized package delivery through the founding of United Parcel Service (UPS) and improved the lives of millions of America's children by founding two of the nation's leading child welfare-oriented foundations.
His father's failing health forced Jim to leave school at age 11 to help support the family as a $2.50-a-week bicycle messenger for a department store in Seattle. Jim's father died four years later, in 1902, leaving behind a widow and four children. In 1907, he and a brother, George, and some friends started a new delivery service, American Messenger Company, which became Merchants Parcel Delivery in 1913. They expanded to Oakland, California in 1919 and renamed the company United Parcel Service. With its move to New York City in 1930, UPS began its development into one of the world's largest package-delivery companies.
To honor their mother, the Casey siblings—Jim, George, Harry and Marguerite—created the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 1948 to make grants to programs that help disadvantaged children. In 1966, the siblings created an operating foundation, Casey Family Programs, to provide long-term foster care to children in Washington and, eventually, other Western states. At Jim's suggestion, the Annie E. Casey Foundation established Casey Family Services in 1978 to provide long-term foster care to children in Eastern states. Jim had become convinced of the importance of strong families through his interactions with his young messengers. When Jim died in 1983, he left his fortune to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which has since become one of the largest foundations in America.
In 2001, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs collaborated in the founding of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to help young people in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood. The missions of the foundations that bear the Casey family name have been refined and expanded over the years. But all remain committed to improving outcomes for children and young people.