By Portia Williams
According to reports, The United Way of Northeast Kentucky (UWNEK) raised $592,000 during their 2014-15 fundraising campaign. UWNEK serves agencies and organizations throughout Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Lawrence, and Greenup counties.
Jerri Compton, CEO/executive director of United Way in Ashland, Ky., said they are fortunate to have the support of large industries throughout the counties they serve.
“The United Way of Northeast Kentucky actually encompasses and covers five counties in northeastern Kentucky, that’s Boyd, Greenup, Carter, and Elliot and Lawrence counties in Kentucky,” Compton said. “Lawrence County, Ohio is covered by The United Way of the River Cities, and I know that Portsmouth and Scioto County have the United Way there in Scioto County. But, over here in northeastern Kentucky we are very fortunate to have some large industries.”
One of UWNEK’s largest partners is Marathon Petroleum, which hosts a very solvent golf benefit annually.
“Marathon Petroleum Corporation several years back formed a very successful golf benefit that they hold each spring which is a fundraiser that brings in over 100 thousand dollars alone,” she said. “And then, the Corporation is a sponsor and donor to United Way, and the run a successful employee campaign as well”
She said the employee campaigns are the heart of fundraising for The United Way agencies.
“The employee campaign is still the bread and butter of any United Way. We got started more than 125 years ago, and continue to this day to rely on our business partners throughout the communities to not only host United Way employee campaigns, and encourage giving, through payroll deduction and things like that,” she said. “Those companies and businesses often contribute that as well. But still the bread and butter comes from the employees who give on a regular basis.”
A variety of fundraisers, and individual giving contributes to the fundraising efforts as well.
“We do some fundraisers, we have some individual givers, we had a very nice New Year’s Eve event this year that was a very successful fundraiser for our community, at one of our organizations that provides services to the community,” she said. “On a steady basis, we have some individual givers who will contribute to the United Way each year, and that has always been a part of our success. When will just continue to try to build our campaign, and grow our campaign by adding new initiatives and new programs.”
According to Compton, the funds raised will be divided up among the five counties UWNEK serves.
“That is the way that it has always worked, the money that we raise, we raise so that we can give that money back out to the organizations in the community that focus on the United Way mission,” she said. “And, that is primarily organizations that look at serving some of the basic needs that individuals have. Primarily, we look at organizations who focus on education, particularly Early Childhood Education, health care, health benefits, and programs that help to build better health. Whether its through dietary and nutrition awareness and things like that, or better health for our communities.
United Way also seeks to promote programs which focus on financial stability.
“Also, we look at programs that promote financial stability. We have program called Bank On, which is a financial literacy program,” she said. “And so, we feel like at United Way, if you serves someone’s basic needs, you provide them with education, with good health, and financial stability, that is the foundation for a good life.”
For more information regarding UWNEK, or to make a donation to United Way, contact the Ashland, Ky., office at 606-325-1810.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.