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Barry Hickey - Former Member of UWBG Board of Directors

Over the course of 2021, we will feature 100 Heroes who have been instrumental in our fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of our neighbors for the past century. To learn more about how we are continuing to serve the Bluegrass in 2021, click here.

Today we are interviewing Barry Hickey, who is a former member of our fabulous Board of Directors, a former Finance Committee Chair and a longtime volunteer and supporter of the United Way of the Bluegrass mission.

What is your role with UWBG?

I started as the Campaign Manager for the 1986-1987 campaign in Montgomery county. A couple years later, I moved to Lexington and joined what was then called the Allocations Committee. In this role, I visited all the agencies that United Way supported to make sure that the money they were requesting each year was appropriate. I did that for about ten years and then became a member of the finance committee of the board, where I served until last year.

What did this role include? What would a normal day look like for you?

As Campaign Manager for Montgomery county, I basically ran the campaign and collected money based on the goal United Way gave us. We successfully raised our goal amount that year. When I was on the Allocations Committee, part of my days were spent in a bus, visiting all UWBG’s partner agencies. Committee members would then go back and spend the afternoons determining if the amount each agency was requesting was appropriate. We would then meet as a group to allocate the funds that were disbursed to each agency. We would get the funds from the previous year’s campaign and allocate it for the following year for those agencies. As a member of the Finance Committee, I helped evaluate investment funds and manage United Way’s endowment. We also evaluated 401K providers for United Way employees. I also helped develop and monitor UWBG’s annual budget.

What do you think is the most special thing about UWBG?

I think there are two really special things about UWBG. First, it’s the most efficient way to collect funds and then get them to the agencies that need them. That’s the reason I started with UWBG, I’m a big believer in efficiency. The second thing is that there is such a need throughout central Kentucky for these agencies, and I think United Way is the agency that understands these needs the most.

In your opinion, what positive change has UWBG made in the Bluegrass over the past 100 years?

UWBG has found the agencies that need support and has supported them not only with funds, but with personnel, leadership, and the ability to help those different organizations find qualified people to work in those organizations.


Fun questions:

What’s your favorite place in the Bluegrass?


What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bluegrass?

My favorite thing to do is tour distilleries.

“As an organization, United Way of the Bluegrass is all-encompassing. That’s why I think it has had the largest impact of really any charitable organization in the community.” -Barry Hickey

Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Barry! We appreciate you and all that you do.

Do you know someone who has worked alongside United Way of the Bluegrass in the past century who should be considered for our 100 Heroes series? Please email us at to share your nomination!

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