Editorial: Giving to United Way the best way to make sure local needs are met

October 18, 2004

One great advantage of donating to Heart of Kentucky United Way is the sure knowledge of where the money is going: Local people are being served and the local agencies that receive money are being held to a standard of accountability.

The United Way's $990,000 goal in the current campaign is not an arbitrary number. It is the result of hundreds of hours of study and education. Every spring 80 to 100 volunteers visit local agencies and groups seeking to evaluate their programs and needs. For the past five years, organizations have had to prove that their programs make a difference with measurable incomes.

United Way is also making an impact on the community through its annual Day of Caring. Local volunteers not only pitch in to help organizations for that one day, they often end up becoming long-term volunteers because of their exposure to organizations' services and needs.

The 27 agencies that receive United Way funds touch nearly everyone in the community.


The campaign supports the elderly through the Senior Companion Program, Boyle and Lincoln County Senior Citizens and the Nursing Home Ombudsman program.

Families are supported by Habitat for Humanity, Heritage Hospice, the Kidney Foundation and the Recovery Center, which provides individual and family outpatient treatment for drug abuse/dependence and domestic violence.

Self-sufficiency of local residents is increased through the support of the Danville/Boyle County Literacy Council, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and the Special Persons Advocacy Network, which offers support for developmentally disabled people and their families.

The community's ability to meet its emergency needs are enhanced by United Way's support of local American Red Cross chapters, the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, Family Services, the Salvation Army and the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association.

United Way helps children succeed through its support of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Danville Learning Disabilities Association, the Child Development Center, the YMCA, Boyle and Garrard County 4-H and the Woodlawn Sanders Crisis Stabilization Center.

With the local economy still a bit sluggish and many teachers and state and private industry employees facing increasing costs for health care, United Way's goal of $990,000 is an ambitious one. But it's important to remember that state, federal and local government funding for many of these agencies has either been cut or flat-lined, making it even more important that the community as a whole step up to the plate to make sure that the needs of local people are met.

One bright spot in the picture is a challenge grant given by an individual to United Way's Leadership Circle, which is made up of people who give $1,000 or more to the campaign. The donor will match every dollar raised above the Leadership Circle's $270,000 in contributions last year. United Way is working hard to recruit new $1,000-plus donors and also has urged current donors to increase their leadership gifts.

But whether they contribute a dollar a week or a $1,000 a year, we hope everyone in the community will do their part to make this year's campaign a success. It's the single best way to make sure that the most vulnerable among us don't fall by the wayside.

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