United Way of the Bluegrass Needs Support Amid Shortfall

You are here


Lexington, KY (March 4, 2019) - Local United Way officials project that its annual fundraising campaign will face a $500,000 shortfall and the organization is asking for community support before the campaign closes

Bill Farmer, President and CEO said, "It's not too late to unite for our community. We will continue to work tirelessly to raise support for local partners serving the most vulnerable families and children in our region – but today we are asking for your help," said Farmer.  "United, we can fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of every person in Central Kentucky," he stated.

Donations to United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) provide grant funding to more than 80 local nonprofit partners, and over 120 programs serving Central Kentucky each year. Dollars raised in this year's campaign will help support funded programs for the upcoming grant year which begins July 1, 2019. Community support to the organization helps over 120,000 people each year through programs that include free tax preparation, mentoring programs, feeding programs, emergency shelter, disaster services, and countless other services

The organization is launching a "United We Fight" crowdfunding effort today and encourages individuals and local businesses to get involved and contribute. Farmer said, "We are fighting the good fight until the campaign concludes, and we are confident that our community will join us, because United We Fight." The peer-to-peer campaign kicks off today and runs through March 18.  Individuals can pledge their support by visiting www.UnitedWeFightBG.com.

Farmer says a shortfall may mean reductions in grant funding, as well as internal operations. "We strive to maximize investments in our community and be good stewards of every dollar, but a shortfall means there are less dollars available to invest in community programs," Farmer said. "And we cannot give away dollars that we don't have."  The organization estimates that partner funding could be reduced by 15% to 20%. Officials say changes to operations have been taking place throughout the year and that additional impacts are anticipated.

UWBG officials say the traditional workplace campaign has declined in recent years as many corporate partners are changing how employees engage and contribute through payroll deduction. These trends, as well as competition in the local fundraising space are affecting UWBG and other United Way organizations across the nation.  Bill Farmer said, "We may be facing a shortfall, but we aren't dwelling solely on the dollars. We are focusing intently on the thousands of people in our community that still need our help - that's why we fight." 

Despite campaign declines in recent years, the organization says it maintained consistent funding levels to local partners in each three-year grant period through board approved withdrawals from its reserve and investment accounts.  Farmer said, "Amid an evolving market, UWBG has adapted and diversified revenue while maintaining support for community partners, but our reserves have been depleted and we must face the difficult reality that grant funding must align directly with our campaign."

How to Help:

  • To donate, text UWBG2019 to 71777, or visit www.UnitedWeFightBG.com
  • Contact UWBG if your business is interested in running a United Way campaign, or join the United We Fight effort by creating a fundraising page
  • Follow UWBG on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more about the campaign, and how United Way is supporting your community

About United Way of the Bluegrass:

United Way of the Bluegrass fights for the education, basic needs and financial stability of every person in Central Kentucky. Funding supports programs in Anderson, Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Jessamine, Madison, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford counties. United Way has committed to four key drivers of success for community and economic success:  basic needs, school readiness, student success and financial stability.  Systems have been developed to evaluate the quality and success of programs supported by UWBG, so investors can be assured that dollars will have maximum impact on the community. For more information, visit www.uwbg.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


Media Contact:

Katie Williams

Vice President, Marketing / United Way of the Bluegrass

859.351.8567 / Katie.Williams@uwbg.org