At United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG), we are currently celebrating our centennial year, highlighting 100 Heroes who have been important in our fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of our neighbors over the past century.
We recently spoke with Cathy Jennings, a current Board of Trustees member, to learn more about her role and relationship with United Way of the Bluegrass.
What is your current or former role within United Way of the Bluegrass and what does a typical day look like in this role?
I have been a volunteer on the Franklin County Board of Trustees (formerly the United Way of Franklin County) for about 3 years. I don’t actively engage with that role on a daily basis but I do oversee the daily workings of the Frankfort Plant Board’s United Way campaign. I have a small committee that works with employees to run the campaign and we make sure we do all that we can to reach our goal. I have a vested interest in the campaign because of my position on the Board of Trustees, and I enjoy working with the campaign and the Board to see how each campaign impacts the community as a whole.
What do you think is the most special thing about UWBG?
I like the diversity of all the programs they have. They have programs for all age ranges from helping underprivileged children to senior citizens. It spreads over such a broad area, covers so many different needs and touches many different areas of life.
Currently, I have a mom who is a senior citizen. I know there are lots of programs she benefits from that United Way of the Bluegrass supports such as meals delivered to seniors. It is important to that age group because they may or may not have someone checking on them. The school-aged children’s outreach is just as important. That’s my favorite part about United Way of the Bluegrass. They help all walks and stages of life. It helps many needs.
If you were encouraging someone to get involved with United Way of the Bluegrass, what would you encourage them to do throughout their time with UWBG or what advice would you give them?
I would encourage them to get in touch with the staff at the United Way of the Bluegrass in Lexington. They are amazing. They are very involved in the communities they actually serve. They would be able to help someone get involved in the community they reside in.
If you find yourself thinking that you’d like to do something to help your fellow man, the United Way of the Bluegrass is a great place to start. It helps a variety of needs and people.
How has UWBG changed your life or how have you seen UWBG change the lives of others?
United Way of the Bluegrass has given me an appreciation for things that we may take for granted. There are so many people that have needs that I wouldn't have been able to relate to had I not been involved with United Way. It’s changed my outlook on different types of needs and where they are. I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve seen people come up through a program and later go on to volunteer or be employed by an agency. It makes it seem like they are on the same playing field as the people they are serving. They have been there and know how the person they are helping feels when they walk through the door. I’ve seen this happen in several cases. It gives me the drive to want to be on the Board, be present and affect the decisions made in Franklin County so I can see that it will benefit the residents of the county I live in.
If you were trying to convince someone to move to the Bluegrass area, how would you convince them?
I would tell them about all the things the Bluegrass has to offer. There’s bourbon tourism, beautiful horse farms and lots of horse racing. Kentucky culture is very welcoming.
What is your favorite restaurant in the Bluegrass area?
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Cathy! We appreciate you and all that you've done and continue to do.
“The staff at UWBG has it together. They show up and put 100% towards all the tasks they take on.” ~Cathy Jennings
To learn more about how we are continuing to serve the Bluegrass in 2021, click here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to share your nomination!