Judge Executive Wil Cannon, Superintendent of Schools Patrick Waddell, and Sheriff Shane Doyle welcomed officials from United Way of South Central KY at the Public Library last night to address potential county needs where the organization might be able to help.
The localized United Way Chapter has recently held what they call "Community Conversations," a program where they travel to surrounding counties and speak directly with educators, community leaders, and business owners to discuss specific needs of the people within those counties.
Some Edmonson County businesses and organizations have expressed hesitation in participating with United Way because some see it as simply a big company with not enough local impact. Others had rather simply donate directly to a specific cause instead of using a "middle man."
Craig Browning, Edmonson County resident and Regional President of US Bank, is a former UWSK Chairman of the Board and currently serves as a regional board member. "United Way has staff cost, overhead, fundraising and marketing material expense, but as a non-profit, there is no plan or intent to make a profit from United Way fundraising," he said. "Net dollars are returned to the community's needs. United Way brings together the resources to build a better community by proactively raising dollars from a community 'that can' to help a community 'in need'."
The presentation focused on 4 major areas that surrounding counties, including Edmonson, have expressed a concern with: Education, Income, Health, and Safety. Various citizens in attendance discussed those and other areas as United Way representatives shared how they could possibly help.
"I thought we had an excellent turnout tonight," said Supt. Waddell. "I think the community does see a need in these areas. We fall somewhere in the middle of the pack in the 10-county area, (in many educational areas) that's not bad, but we don't want to be in middle, we want to be at the top." Waddell said that he felt the meeting was a very good start. "I think there are areas here that United Way can help, but we need to get the word out to our communities. Hopefully we can continue these discussions and get more involvement."
Steve Wallace, president and CEO of UWSK says the response from other county meetings has been excellent. "In every meeting, people have had a lot of interest in what we're doing, folks are excited about the message they're hearing, and it's their own message...things from their own family lives," he said. "They see other people begin to talk about it and now they see a chance to do something about it."
Browning also said that working with United Way is more user-friendly than what most think. "They provide an easy avenue to contribute and volunteers from each community determine where the donor dollar can best be put to use."
Sheriff Doyle was also encouraged by the meeting. "I'd like to personally thank United Way of Southern KY for their efforts in gathering information," he said. "We, as county leaders, need to know what our communities need, and we need to partner with groups like the UWSK to work together towards a common goal."
Darren Doyle, story and photos