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United Way hits halfway point in campaign

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Agency confident it can reach $1,025,000

United Way of Central Kentucky has just cracked the halfway mark of its admittedly lofty goal to reach $1,025,000 in donations during its 2011 campaign.

Christopher Wilborn, executive director of United Way of Central Kentucky, said Wednesday the agency has collected $513,158 with many of its “perennial powerhouses” still working on their company campaigns. The organization serves Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue and Meade counties.

Wilborn said the campaign will wrap up in February and was confident United Way could reach the goal. If successful, it would be a historic high for the agency and trump the 2007 total of $1,013,779. The organization set a goal of $1.1 million last year but fell short, collecting around $940,000.

“We’ll be standing shoulder to shoulder with the community well into the beginning of 2012,” he said.

Wilborn said he already has seen some bright spots in the campaign. Dow Corning reached its internal goal of about $93,000 and numerous organizations and businesses increased their giving from the previous year, including Mouser Custom Cabinetry, Fischbach USA, Elizabethtown Independent Schools and Communicare, according to Wilborn. And United Way has some new partners in the campaign this year, such as iPay Technologies and Bluegrass Cellular, he said.

First Citizens Bank also stands out, gaining 100 percent participation from its employees during its company campaign.

“Which is unparalleled anywhere else,” Wilborn said.

Marilyn Ford, president of First Citizens Bank and chairwoman for the United Way 2011 campaign, said she was thrilled with the support of her employees and all of those who have made contributions to support United Way and its cause.

“It’s a very challenging goal, but I’m very excited that we have reached the halfway mark,” she said.

Ford said she finds people respond when they know there is a real need in the community. The money raised will benefit multiple agencies that channel their energies to help those who cannot help themselves, including Helping Hand of HOPE and SpringHaven, she said.

Wilborn said the community investment team spends hundreds of hours every year scrutinizing each application carefully to ensure United Way is a proper steward of the money donated.

Each donation can make a difference toward the goal, no matter how large or small, Wilborn said.

“If everyone just did a little, we would easily sprint past that $1,025,000,” he said.

This year’s campaign is focused on strengthening education, health and income in the community while simultaneously working to curb domestic and child abuse.

Wilborn said the facets cannot be fully understood until a face is attached. The face, he said, is the student who has fallen behind in class but has the potential to succeed with a positive mentor. It is the family trying to keep the lights on and the heat running in the winter or the person who has lost a job and no longer can afford health care to treat a chronic medical condition. It is the woman who will come head-to-head with domestic violence, he said.

“It’s not so much about a thermostat reaching its (end point),” he said. “It’s about impact in the community. It’s about finding and being invested back into our greatest and most urgent needs.”

TO LEARN MORE

  • For more information about United Way of Central Kentucky or to make a donation, call (270) 737-6608 or go to www. united wayck.org.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.