Recent events across the world have underscored that wherever we live, whatever the color of our skin, regardless of our religious or political beliefs — we need one other.
The Bluegrass has been generous in responding to the needs of its communities by supporting United Way of the Bluegrass for over 95 years. UWBG fights for the education, financial stability and basic needs of every person, in every community in Central Kentucky. Thanks to your support, we will continue to fight for the people in our own schools, neighborhoods and towns.
UWBG launched a Big Bold Goal in 2014 to help 10,000 families be more self-sufficient by 2020 — a goal that will undoubtedly be met with the support of our community and the hard work of our partners. UWBG provided grant funding for more than 140 local programs through 80 nonprofit partners over the past three years. Funds raised through the current campaign, ending later this month, will help support a new round of programs selected by volunteer reviewers.
Despite the generosity of so many, the traditional workplace-giving campaign has been declining. This is a trend seen among many United Ways and organizations across the country. Declines can be attributed to a variety of factors including the economy, political climate and changes in the marketplace. In order to maintain the support pledged to our partners and community, our board upheld consistent funding levels over the last three-year period by allocating dollars from our reserves and investment accounts to supplement campaign dollars.
This year, budgeting decisions and funding allocations must be based around current revenue as our reserve and investment accounts recover. While this may require some changes in funding allocations from the previous grant period, we are confident that the programs selected will generate remarkable impact and change for our communities.
United Way continues to help a growing number of people each year through services that include free tax preparation, mentoring programs, emergency shelter services, feeding programs, programs for victims of domestic violence and countless other critical services, including 2-1-1, a free helpline and referral service for health and human services provides free support, 24/7 to those in need.
We are fully committed to evolving to ensure we can support our community however needed in the years ahead. While UWBG still relies mostly on funds raised through employee-giving campaigns, we are working to diversify revenue through local, state and federal grants, as well as funding from private foundations — and we are finding success. We hope to build upon this success by offering more funding as campaign levels and revenue streams increase.
We remain hopeful that our workplace campaign will make gains. We will continue building mission-driven revenue to help support the important work and programs that depend on United Way, because the heart of everything we do revolves around the people we serve, and the people who help make that possible by giving to UWBG.
We need one another, indeed. While we have made great strides, there is still work to be done, and there are many people that need your help.
If you would like to give to United Way, please visit www.uwbg.org or text UWBG to 41444. If you would like to get involved, please join us on June 21 for United Way Day of Action — we invite you to volunteer your time and talents as we come together to learn more about the work being done in our communities, and to lend a hand to some great partners carrying out meaningful and important work each and every day.
Together we can, and will, fight for a better Bluegrass. Together, we will continue fighting for the people who need us most.
Bill Farmer is president and CEO of United Way of the Bluegrasss. This commentary was also signed by William H. Wilson, chairman of the board of directors and Melissa Stephan, chair of the Community Investments Cabinet.